DAN GREEN is not only one of the greatest characters from the northside of Cork city, he was also one of the best strikers in local soccer.
He was part of several great teams that terrorised defenses over a 35-year period. Dan grew up on Mount Nebo Avenue, with his siblings, Rose, Noel, Eileen, Francis, Georgia, Claire, Sean, Micheal, Silvia, Fergal, Tracey, and Laura, and was the son of the late Donnie and Eileen.
He started playing football on the road of Mount Nebo, with his friends, Terdie Wiseman, the late Peter Morrissey, and his brother Noel.
The highlight of their week was when the top of the road played the bottom half, every Saturday, and the game was watched from the gardens by all the younger neighbors.
Dan fondly recalls those great days.
“I started playing soccer on the road with my friends. However, Saturday was a special day, as the road would be split and we would play against one another,” Dan said. “The top of the road would consist of Niall Corcoran, Tongie Kelly, William O’Keeffe, Pat Morley, Charlie Crowley, and Gerald Doocey.
“While we on the bottom end would have Philip Long, Harry Cooney, Timmy Hussey, Terdie Wiseman, Peter Morrissey, and my brother Noel.
“We had some great days playing ball, until we moved to the Chapel Field, behind the Church of the Ascension, where we joined forces to play in the street leagues organised by Timmy and the late John O’Flynn, with Denis O’Shea acting as our manager.”
Dan joined Rockmount at the age of 17, and played junior for a year, before being called up to the Munster Senior League by the late, great manager, Liam McMahon.
“I joined Rockmount in 1976, where I played both junior and Munster league under Liam McMahon,” Dan said.
“I also played with some superb players, with the likes of Denis Lehive, Eddie Henschen, Tony Cronin, and Mick Lynch, just to name a few.
“Liam moved to Cork Celtic a few years later and asked me to join. However, I declined, as I couldn’t with work commitments.
”I then was asked to play with junior side Bweeng Rangers, by Mickey Flynn, where I scored 64 goals.
“I played then with Mallow United under former Cork Hibs star, Gerry Finnegan, and travelled the road with Martin O’Brien.”
Dan also had spells with Leeside, and they beat Douglas Hall to win the President’s Cup, with Dan hitting a brace.
He also played with Coachford, in the 1985/86 season, helping them beat Castleview in a playoff to win the Junior Division 1 League, when he bagged 39 goals.
Dan had two spells with Temple United and won multiple trophies and made friends for life.
“I joined Temple United in the early 1980s and played with Christy Colman, Frankie Thornton, Dommie Hussey, Tony Kenny, and also got to play with my younger brother Noel again.
“I moved for a two-year spell. However, I returned to play again in 1987. We had a great team, with Seanie Walsh, Gerry Butler, Austin Ricken, Denis Keane, and Ger Manning, who could have walked into any team at the time.
We won every trophy that could be won in a five-year period.
"However, my greatest memory was in the 1988/89 season, when we won the blue ribbon trophy in the AUL, the AOH Cup, making up for losing two finals. We beat Bandon 1-0, with Mickie Long getting the all-important goal for us.
“I made some great friends when I played for Temple and can remember fondly, one Saturday night I went to town with the Keane brothers, Denis and Johnson, before a game on Sunday morning.
“We went to Delacy House, where well-known soccer player and referee, Tony Hennessy, was on the door.
“When we left the club, needless to say, I was a little worst for wear. We were playing at Temple Park the next morning and as I went up to the toss of the coin before the game, ‘Mr Football’ himself, Tony, was the referee.
“He turned to me and said, ‘Mr Green, I’m not a bit impressed with your pre-game routine!’
“We won 2-0. I scored both goals, and as I was walking off the pitch, I shouted at Tony with my thumb in the air, ‘Tony, I religiously do the same pre-game routine every weekend’, with a broad smile on my face.’”
Former Irish junior international Austin Ricken said of Dan.
“I can remember playing with Dan with mixed emotions,” Austin said. “Dan would walk around the pitch for 80 minutes. However, he would still come off scoring a hat-trick: That was the type of player he was.
“He was a fox in the box and lethal in the 18-yard box. He was a great character and a pleasure to play with, always giving great advice,” Austin added.
Dan finished his career as manager of Strand United and won the President’s Cup in 2008. He played his final game the following year, at the age of 52, and scored the winning goal to beat Hillington 2-1.
Dan still lives in Mount Nebo, with his wife, Anne, and son, Daniel, and plays golf with his friends from the Joshua Tree Golf Society.