Jack Cahalane

In the sporting life of Courtmac and Barryroe, Jack Cahalane stands out like a beacon. His deeds on the football and hurling fields have rarely been equalled. Jack began his sporting career in the early thirties with his native Barryroe with whom he used proudly boasts he won his first medal. In 1934 the Barryroe club ceased to exist and Jack, along with John Joe Finn, a fine footballer whose career was cut short by a serious knee injury, Tim McCarthy and the legendary Mick Finn joined Clonakilty. Clon had just lost three finals in a row to Beara and with the four Barryroe men on board they lost the 1935 final to Macroom. It was to be the first of eleven senior football finals for Jack, losing again in 1936, 1938 and 1945 but winning six medals, the glorious first in 1939 and the last in 1947 with his fellow Barryroe man, Mick Finn, as captain. Jack himself captained the team in 1949, his last year on the team.

In 1993 Jack Cahalane was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Courtmacsherry Festival and the following eulogy best illustrates Jack's career with Clonakilty. "The year was '39. The sky was black with lead. Hitler invaded Poland, Chamberlain declared war and many an Irish exile sweated blood and washed down mud as they worked for Wimpy and McAlpine. Cork lost the Thunder and Lightning final to Kilkenny but on a brighter note with sheer determination, leaving the adversity of six defeats behind them, Clonakilty won the county final in dear old Skibbereen. While they were to slip back for the next two years, who can ever forget the five and half hour epic encounter with Dromtarriffe in 1941, a record which even Dublin and Meath failed to beat in 1991. Clon bounced back in 1942, the first of a three in a row. They added two more in 1946 and 1947 and the seeds of a revival in Cork football was clearly evident with a replay victory over Kerry in 1943 and All-Ireland honours in 1945 conquering Galway and Cavan with a selection which had nine Clon men. Indeed, many Barryroe people can still recall the Sam Maguire Cup being paraded down Courtmacsherry village on the night of September 26, 1945. Playing a pivotal role in Clon's rise to fame were a few Barryroe men, including the man we are honouring here tonight, Jack Cahalane. For over ten years Jack was fullback on the team and his performances were impeccable, rarley conceding a free. He was confronted by some of the greatest forwards in the county from clubs like Beara, St. Nick's, Macroom, Dohenys, Bantry Blues, Millstreet, Dromtarriffe, Duhallow West, the Army and their great arch rivals of the forties, Fermoy, whose full forward Paddy "The Hawker" O'Grady could split many a defence. We salute you Jack Cahalane as a model sportsman, who brought honour and glory to club and county and deem you a worthy recipient of the Courtmacsherry Harbour Festival Hall of Fame award for 1993".

Jack pictured here with other members of the Barryroe 1931 team.

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