Rebel County mourns Nemo hero Coughlan

The death has taken place of Seamus Coughlan, a member of Cork’s All-Ireland winning senior football team of 1973.

Coughlan, manager of the Cork County Board GAA Clubs’ draw for 16 years, was an outstanding centre-forward, who played a significant role in establishing Nemo Rangers as one of the leading club teams in the country.

He scored one of the goals in Nemo’s first county championship title success in 1972 against UCC and won four other medals, in 1974, ’75, ’77 and 1983. He was a member of the winning All-Ireland club sides of 1973, 1982 and ’84 — missing out on the 1978/79 campaign through illness.

The former Army officer played in both All-Ireland minor finals in 1971, when the footballers lost to Mayo and the hurlers defeated Kilkenny. He had captained the hurling team up to the All-Ireland final, but was controversially dropped and was limited to an appearance as a substitute. Two years later he came in as a sub both in the All-Ireland senior football semi-final against Tyrone and the final with Galway.

His removal takes place this evening at 8.30pm from Sullivan’s Funeral Home in Turners Cross to the Church of the Incarnation, Frankfield and the funeral will be after Requiem Mass at noon tomorrow to St John’s Cemetery, Ballinrea.

Clare legend Jimmy Smyth (82), one of the greatest hurlers never to win an All-Ireland medal, also passed away over the weekend.

Smyth witnessed the spectacle of All-Ireland finals from a perspective he never experienced as a player — spending 23 years on the staff in Croke Park as an executive officer. That was near the end of a glittering inter-county career which saw him acquit himself in the company of some of the greatest names in the game but which was largely unproductive in terms of title wins other than in the inter-provincial series.

His career lasted 19 years, from 1948, when he made his senior debut in the National League as a 17 year-old. A county minor for five years, he won Harty Cup and All-Ireland colleges medals (three in each case) with St Flannan’s, Ennis. He played in two Munster senior finals. One was in his last year — 1967 — and the first in 1955, when Limerick beat the Banner by 10 points.

Two years earlier Clare defeated them 10-8 to 1-1 in a first-round game in which he contributed a whopping 6-4.

In 1952, he won the first of eight Railway Cup medals and his involvement in the competition helped to consolidate his reputation as a player of outstanding ability.

He was a native of Ruan and won five Clare championship medals.

After finishing in Croke Park (he was the long-time Secretary of ‘Activities Committee’), he studied philosophy in Trinity College. Later at the University of Limerick, he did a Masters on GAA ballads and it led to him producing three books on ‘The Ballads’ of Clare, Cork and Tipperary and another, ‘In Praise of Heroes, Ballads and Poems of the GAA.’

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