The Leeside legends series: Tom Cashman was a real stylist for Cork and Blackrock

The Leeside legends series: Tom Cashman was a real stylist for Cork and Blackrock

Eye on the ball: Tom Cashman, a stylist and ace hurler with the Rebels.

HE is rated as one of the classiest and stylish and hurlers for many years and for Tom Cashman the thrill of hurling is still in every bone of his body.

Cashman began his hurling in the manner of most up and coming hurlers in this city by playing in his local parish of Blackrock.

Tom Cashman clearing from Ger Tyrell, Kilkenny, in the 1977 U21 clash.
Tom Cashman clearing from Ger Tyrell, Kilkenny, in the 1977 U21 clash.

Tom is the son of Mick Cashman who was one of the great Blackrock and Cork players of the 50s and 60s. Mick Cashman had the distinction of captaining the Blackrock Senior team when they won the Cork Senior county championship in 1956 and that was the club’s first victory in the championship in 25 years.

At primary school level, Tom did not win any major honours but was far more successful with his club during the same period.

In 1971 Blackrock clinched their first National Féile na nGael club hurling title and although Tom was only 14-years-old (the Féile was U15 in its inaugural year) he was the leading player in this famous win.

Also part of this winning Blackrock team were Danny Buckley, Tom Lyons and Finbarr Delaney.

It was a team that oozed class from U14 level to minor as they won every honour they could possibly win.

In 1974 the team won the Cork minor county hurling and football championships and the same year Tom Cashman, Dermot McCurtain, Danny Buckley, and Finbarr Delaney won inter-county minor hurling and football championship medals with Cork.

Tom Cashman lifting the minor title after beating Tipp in 1975.
Tom Cashman lifting the minor title after beating Tipp in 1975.

Honour:

In 1975 Cashman was given the honour of captaining Cork in the All-Ireland minor hurling final against Kilkenny but sadly they were defeated by Kilkenny.

Later that month he made up for his disappointment when he was part of the Blackrock team that defeated Glen Rovers in the Cork Senior county final. This was the first of Cashman’s four senior county hurling medals with titles coming his way in 1978, 1979 and 1985.

The 1985 victory is one particular win that stands out as a terrific moment for Tom.

“That final was against Midleton and with the Rockies not winning a championship in the early 80s it was brilliant to see the club back on the winning trail again.”

On top of his four county medals, he won an All-Ireland club championship in 1979 when the Rockies defeat Ballyhale Shamrocks of Kilkenny.

Tom made his senior hurling debut for Cork in October 1976 when he came on for Cork in a National League game but the following September he played midfield on the Rebels side that won the All-Ireland final against Wexford.

Liam Maher attacks for Tipp, chased by Cork's Tom Cashman in the 1984 Munster final. Picture: INPHO/Billy Stickland
Liam Maher attacks for Tipp, chased by Cork's Tom Cashman in the 1984 Munster final. Picture: INPHO/Billy Stickland

Cashman added a second All-Ireland the following year when Cork defeated Kilkenny, but amazingly he had to wait six years before winning his third medal.

Tom played an integral part of the 1984 Cork team that won the Centenary All-Ireland final against Offaly in Thurles.

It is every player’s dream to captain his county to win an All-Ireland and Tom’s dream was realised in 1986 when Cork defeated Galway.

Those games were extra special has his younger brother Jim had made the step up to senior for those years and would continue on to anchor the Cork defence in 1990 when the double was secured.

“I will always cherish that particular day as I felt so proud when the final whistle went and although it’s hard for me to explain the buzz I got but it’s a day I will never forget,” Tom said about 1986.

Tom Cashman lifts the Liam McCarthy Cup after Cork’s All-Ireland final win over Galway in 1986.
Tom Cashman lifts the Liam McCarthy Cup after Cork’s All-Ireland final win over Galway in 1986.

Cashman was also a fine football player with St Michael’s and despite playing in three Cork senior finals between 1976 to 1978 he lost all of them which this was a huge disappointment for the dual star.

Tom enjoyed playing with Kilkenny star Frank Cummins at club level but found him a very difficult opponent when playing against him at inter-county level.

After being a selector for a number of years with the Cork senior hurling team Cashman took over as coach in 2001.

“To be honest I never intended it to be a long career as a Cork coach as I had been involved for nearly seven years as a selector between minor and senior teams.

Manager Tom Cashman talks to Joe Deane in the 2001 Munster championship. Picture: INPHO/Patrick Bolger
Manager Tom Cashman talks to Joe Deane in the 2001 Munster championship. Picture: INPHO/Patrick Bolger

“I decided I wanted to give something back to my club because at the end of the day nothing would have happened for me during my career if it wasn’t for the Rockies.”

There is little doubt Tom Cashman was a hurling artist whose stickwork and sportsmanship are now a byword in hurling circles.

Cork hurling All-Star Tom Cashman in action in 1987. Picture: INPHO/Billy Stickland
Cork hurling All-Star Tom Cashman in action in 1987. Picture: INPHO/Billy Stickland

FACTFILE:

  • Tom was a member of the Blackrock Féile team that won the inaugural championship in 1971.
  • Cashman has a total of eight All-Ireland medals with Cork (three minor, one U21, four senior).
  • Tom was awarded hurling All-Stars in 1977, 1978 and 1983.
  • Like the Aherns, Coughlans and Cummins, Tom was accompanied by brother Jim on the All-Ireland winning teams of 1984 and 1986.
  • Cashman was a selector on the Cork team that won the senior All-Ireland in 1999 and he moved into the coaching role with the team in 2001.
  • Tom announced his retirement from inter-county hurling in January 1989.
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