Terry Dunne: Corkbeg AFC club legend still going strong after 55 years

The founding member of Corkbeg in East Cork recently celebrated his 80th birthday but has no intention of slowing down
Terry Dunne: Corkbeg AFC club legend still going strong after 55 years

Terry Dunne who was honoured by his club colleagues recently at Corkbeg FC.

A SCROLL through the pages of the Corkbeg AFC history books will see one name jump out time and time again: Terry Dunne.

He is a founder member of the club in 1968 and, remarkably, still the club's heartbeat all of 55 years on.

Overdue recognition for one of the best-known names in East Cork soccer circles came with a surprise birthday party to celebrate him reaching 80 years. Friends, colleagues and former players paid tribute to a man that has filled every possible role in over five decades of unbroken service.

As a top player, he was a midfield maestro and after the conclusion of a lengthy playing career, there was always the possibility that his relationship with Corkbeg FC would blossom even further. As manager, mentor, coach, selector, chairman, administrator and now groundsman that lifelong love affair has grown even stronger.

My mother often said to me that all that was missing in Corkbeg was a bed to stay the night. 

"The club and the grounds have been my life and been my love and their value to me was seen at best during the covid pandemic," commented Terry.

"When we were all supposed to stay at home, I was leaving the house before 9am each day, bringing my few sandwiches and locking myself into the ground for the day. It was a great outlet for me."

Terry Dunne was honoured by his club colleagues at Corkbeg FC.
Terry Dunne was honoured by his club colleagues at Corkbeg FC.

He takes remarkable pride in his work. A stroll around the grounds in Whitegate is proof that the man is a perfectionist. There is rarely a blade of grass out of place. He is also a keen pitch and putt player and the fact that Irish Refining Social Club Grounds is the local hub for both sports means it's a match made in heaven.

But in the early decades, soccer was very much his dominant game.

''Everyone seemed to be kicking a soccer ball after the 1966 England World Cup win. GAA was my first sporting involvement here in the parish, having played with Aghada. I suppose I became the black sheep here then, starting up the soccer club! 

"Tom Scanlon was our first chairman and we had great guys like Billy Flynn, Pa O Connor, Gay Cotter and Micheál Kennefick that got things going in the early days," admits Terry, whose community involvement still includes Lower Aghada Tennis Club and an active role in his local church.


Looking back through the time tunnel, Corkbeg FC has enjoyed several great successes.

"Winning the Third Division was the initial triumph and by the early 1980s we were making real progress. In 1982-'83 we won the Saxone Cup and President's Cup and got to the final of the County Cup. 

"Overall that was a remarkable season as we almost pulled off a treble. We had a really strong panel as a number of guys from Cloyne including the Shea brothers and Mick Lewis, who were central to our success. 

"It was a source of great satisfaction to see the club being successful. The Saxone Cup which we won at home in Whitegate against Midleton was a particularly memorable occasion.

Now 40 years on, Terry Dunne is still at the hub of activities, going about his work in his own modest unassuming way.

Corkbeg are lucky to have a true legend in their midst.

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