Posted on Cashel King Cormac's Website, August 2009
Jackie Corcoran was a member of the Cashel King Cormac's team that won the West senior hurling final in 1948. They beat Eire Óg and Golden-Kilfeacle in the earlier rounds and came up against Kickhams in the final at Golden on September 5. Kickhams got off to a flying start and netted two goals. They were ahead by four points at half-time and looked good, but Cashel fought back to win by 3-6 to 3-4. It was the greater fitness and stamina of the King Cormacs, coupled with their greater speed that weighed the scales in their favour.
It's not the West final that stands out strongest in Jackie's memories of that year but rather the loss to Lorrha in the county semi-final played at Thurles two weeks later. Cashel seemed to be coasting to victory into the second half when they were caught by a Lorrha rally that yielded two goals and a point within a three-minute period. They lost by the minimum of margins on a 2-4 to 2-3 scoreline 'on a day that anything that might go wrong did go wrong'. Jackie played full-back in the game, as he had done during the championship, and was grievously disappointed with the result.
Jackie Corcoran was born on February 15, 1923, the middle of three siblings. Maureen, who married O'Driscoll, was older and Anne, who became the wife of John Osborne, was younger. His father, Sylvie, and mother Kitty, ran Corcoran's Hotel, where Morrissey's Super Valu is today and the hotel had been in the family for generations. It was an important commercial hotel with nine bedrooms and did a busy trade with travellers on the road between Cork and Dublin. It had a large yard at the back which had eight stables, an indication of its significance in an earlier age. Jackie's father was good friends with Michael Ryan Wall and Mikey Ryan, who ran the licensed premises, Mikey's, on the other side of Main Street. He was partial to a drink and died in 1932 when Jackie was only nine years old. His mother died on January 25, 1988.
Jackie went to the national school on the Green, where John F. Rodgers, Frank Egan, Davy Dee and Mr. O'Sullivan were teachers. Afterwards he went to secondary school in the Christian Brothers School, then located on the Dublin Road. He hadn't much interest in school, mitched as often as he could and took no examinations. At some stage his mother decided something had to be done and sent him to St. Kieran's in Kilkenny, where he spent an hour!
According to Jackie he had no desire to be there and no sooner had his mother left than he 'escaped' from the school. He found a bus heading for Urlingford, hid under the seat, and got a connection to Cashel. He was home in Cashel almost as soon as his mother!
There appears to have been little in the way of organised games at the time, either in the town or the school. According to Jackie the only boys at secondary school who played hurling were country fellows from Clonoulty and such places. Jackie didn't play but must have been pucking around because we read that he played minor with the Cashel team that won the divisional title in 1940. He must have impressed because he was picked on the county team the same year at right corner-back. The team were beaten by Cork in the first round at Thurles on a day that Jackie marked Sean Condon, who later had an impressive record with his native county, captaining the senior team in 1944 to the famous four-in-a-row. For some reason Jackie wasn't on the team the following year, in spite of being young enough.
At this stage of his life Jackie was helping around the hotel. His mother employed a girl, who worked in the bar but Mrs Coccoran ran the rest of the place and did the cooking as well. Usually Monday night was a busy one with commercial travellers on the first stage of their journey from Cork.
When he was seventeen or eighteen Jackie bought his first horse for £7 at Thurles. His grandfather used to have horses. The horse was called Idle Hour and its colours were white with lemon band and a brown cap. He won two races at Limerick Junction, ridden by Paddy Breen from the town and Johnny Rafferty from Tipperary. In all it ran four races but then got leg trouble and had to be put down. Later he had two more horses but they were no good.
Jackie was one of the founder members of the Abbey Rangers in 1941, the club that was formed by dissatisfied memmbers of the Cashel King Cormacs, who disagreed with the way the club was run and the teams picked. Jackie joined the new club because there were a lot of cousins involved, the Coady's, the Morrisseys and the O'Neills. It might be added that many of the players who joined were technically illegal, as they were in the parish of Boherlahan.
At any rate they had their first outing in the West junior hurling championship against Clonoulty on April 6, 1941. The players had a photograph taken on the occasion and Jackie can be seen in the back row. He was cornerback and captain and, having beaten Clonoulty, they created headlines when they overcame Solohead in the semi-final before going down to Donaskeigh in the final. Jackie stayed with the Abbey Rangers until the end of 1944, when he transferred back to Cashel. In doing so he missed out on Abbey Rangers only success, in the number 1 junior hurling championship of 1945, when they defeated Glengar in the final.
However, he won higher honours by declaring for Cashel when he was picked at right cornerback on the team that won the West senior hurling championship the same year. Having beaten Clonoulty-Rossmore and Donaskeigh in the earlier rounds, Cashel met Eire Óg in the final, which was played at Cashel on October 7. The lateness of the game was due to a dispute about the venue. Originally fixed for Dundrum, Cashel objected because the field was situated too close to the parish of Eire Óg. After numerous discussions the sides agreed to toss for venue and Cashel won. The King Cormac's proved themselves the superior outfit, with great performances from Michael Burke, Jim and Pat Devitt, who captained the team. They led by 4-5 to 1-3 at the interval and were in front by 4-5 to 1-3 at the final whistle. Cashel were beaten 5-7 to 3-3 by Roscrea in the county semi-final two weeks later when Roscrea's control of centrefield proved decisive.
There wasn't to be any further success until 1948. In 1946 Cashel defeated Golden-Kilfeacle in the first round, and this game saw Jackie in a new position, full-forward, but they were beaten by Kickhams in the semi-final. They also lost to Kickhams in the semi-final in 1947, before going on to win the 1948 final. Jackie continued to play for a few years after the 1948 final but without success.
At some stage Jackie changed from training horses to training greyhounds. One of his first and most successful was Miss Mushwash, who won a couple of races at Thurles and was eventaully killed by another dog on the track.
He trained for others as well and one of the most famous was Lafonda, which he trained for Matt Slator of Clonmel. It won a trial stake in Ballyraggett.
The dogs became an important part of his life. He went to the track four nights a week and he became a very fit man from walking them.
Jackie eventually gave up the dogs and retired. Coccoran's Hotel was sold soon after the death of Mrs. Corcoran and purchased by Garvey's Supervalu for the supermarket that stands there today. The building was demolished in July 1989 on a beautiful sunny day and spectators remember the cloud of dust that rose into the blue sky during the demolition. Garvey's opened their supermarket the following November.
Jackie, who continued to reside in the hotel until it was sold moved into a flat on the Green, where he remained until he took up residence in Acorn Lodge Nursing home at Ballysheehan in 2003. The move gave him a new lease of life.