JOHN McCARTHY, Dinnybobs to all that know him, is one of the best know characters in the northside of Cork.
As a character you won’t find better or funnier, however, Dinnybobs also has had an incredible sporting career.
Dinny, who hails from Churchfield in the heart of Gurranabraher, is the son of Denis and Grace, and his siblings are Kathleen and Rose.
Dinny is one of those people who could put his hand to anything, and it turn to gold. He was one of the greatest point guards that ever played basketball in this country, as he could do it all, shoot, dribble, pass and was full of tricks.
Dinny was also an accomplished soccer player and one of the top dart players in Cork.
Dinny started playing basketball as a seven-year-old with his great friends Kieran Fitzgerald and the late Martin Ahern with GH74. They were coached by the great John O’Leary at the time.
Martin and himself joined Neptune when they were 13 years of age, and went on to win multiple trophies including two Billy Kelly Tournaments, two Minor National Cups and Senior National League and Cups.
“I started off with playing basketball with GH74, and played there for six years before moving to Neptune,” Dinny said.
“One of my greatest memories is when I was 12-years-old I broke my right hand in three places. My hand was in plaster at the time, and we had a U13 tournament coming up, so I cut off the plaster so I could play.
“We were beaten in the final by Neptune, however, I scored 26 points with my left hand, and won the MVP award.
“I moved to Neptune the following year with my great friend, the late Martin Ahern, and we won nearly every trophy that could be won in a very successful couple of years under Noel Allen and Tony Connell.
“I also played for the U15 and U17 Irish Teams at that time with my club mates Don O’Sullivan, Bob Butler and Bernard O’Donovan.
“I only played National League for a couple of years as I couldn’t commit because I still wanted to play soccer and darts.
“I finished my basketball career playing for Glanmire in 1998 who was coached by another great friend Kieran Doherty, and we went on to win a Cork Division 1 Championship.”
Dinny’s soccer career started with Shandon View from a young age where he played there for three years before he moved to Castleview. It was with Castleview that he showed his true potential, and made numerous Cork teams.
He went on to play with Central Rovers and Blarney Street Athletic in his latter years. When Dinny retired from playing he joined the committee for the Street with the late Vincey Thompson and his father Paul.
“I always had the love for soccer and played for Shandon View and Castleview in my younger days.
“I was lucky to be picked on a couple of Cork teams which was a great experience.
“One of the funniest stories playing soccer was when I was playing for Central Rovers. Philly Singleton was the manager and he asked me where was my best position on the pitch.
“My reply was, put me in the middle and scatter the rest around me, he threw me number 13 jersey, lesson learned,” Dinny said with a mighty laugh.
“I finished playing soccer with Blarney Street and then joined the committee with Vincey Thompson, my father Paul, and Anthony Ricken.
“I didn’t realize how much work goes in off the pitch as we had to line the pitch every second Saturday, get sponsorship, and sell tickets very week to keep the club going.
“My best memory with Blarney Street is when the club won the AOH Cup, and the celebrations went on for days in the Joshua Tree on Blarney Street.”
McCarthy started playing darts for Conny Donovan’s Bar with his cousin Carl Lawlor and played for their B team.
He then went on to play with O’Mahony’s Bar on Blarney Street, the Joshua Tree, Island Tavern and the Tower Bar.
Some of Dinny’s successes were when he won the Cork Premier Individuals in 2006 beating John O’Shea in the final.
He also won the Murphy’s Individuals six years later beating Peter Quinn in the final, and also won two Cork doubles tournaments with Christy Hennessy and Ken Morrison.
“I first started playing darts for fun when I was asked to join Conny Donovan’s B team by my cousin Carl Lawlor. I soon got hooked as there’s nothing like pressure when your on the line, and the buzz you get when you finish the game on a big score.
”I played for a number of bars around the Northside, and made some great friends like Martin Dineen, Sean Leahy, the Barrett brothers, Paul Philpott, Martin Cotter, John O’Shea, and many more.
“I won a lot of trophies with all the bars, however, winning two Cork Individuals tournaments, and two Cork doubles tournaments would be my biggest achievements.
“I didn’t play much last year, but I hoped to play this year, however with the Covid everything was cancelled so I’m looking forward to get back playing when everything is safe to do so.
“It is not so much the competitive side I miss, but it’s the crack and the banter with the lads you miss the most in these difficult times."