Sarsfields mourns All-Ireland-winning full-back Tom O’Donoghue

Sarsfields mourns All-Ireland-winning full-back Tom O’Donoghue
Tom O'Donoghue (left) and Cork captain in 1966 Gerald McCarthy.

It has been a sad week in the Sarsfields club. Last weekend they buried the great full-back Tom O’Donoghue. One of Jim ‘Tough’ Barry’s famous mushrooms from ’66. And rooted on the edge of the Cork square, they’ll all tell you that O’Donoghue took some picking.

Club chairman Tadhg Murphy, the former Cork dual star, was inspired by him.

“My first year was Tom’s last year,” he said. “It was an era when Blackrock and the Glen were dominating but we’d be always giving our best. And Tom was an inspirational guy for us because he was our only man on the Cork team and that win in ’66 was very special in Cork. When the cup came back to Riverstown it was a huge night, after such a long wait.

Sarsfields mourns All-Ireland-winning full-back Tom O’Donoghue
Tom O’Donoghue, third from left, striding out of Croke Park after Cork’s unexpected win over Kilkenny in 1966 All-Ireland final. With Tom were: Peter Doolan, Colm Sheehan, Ger O’Leary, and Michael O’Halloran. Picture: Kevin Cummins
“We always looked up to him. He was a traditional defender, he was teak tough. No messing. And the square was no place for the fainthearted those days.

“He played some great games for Cork and was outstanding for Sars in a lean period.

“He was an unassuming guy, low-key, he did all his talking on the pitch.

“We had a big night in 2016 for the anniversary in the club. All that Cork team were there, and his own Sars teammates as well. He really enjoyed that evening.”

Goodbyes are doubly difficult, of course, at the moment.

“All we could do really was stand across from the graveyard. Pay a quiet tribute. And the Cork 1966 team were very strongly represented as well.”

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