Its year of origin is somewhat unclear, but what is absolutely certain is that the hurley belonging to Jack Lynch, which was presented to the Glen Rovers club over the weekend, has truly stood the test of time.
On Sunday evening at the Glen’s Blackpool clubhouse, Jerry Galvin of Churchtown, North Cork, handed over the piece of ash, now six decades old, which was once the possession of the former Taoiseach and six-time All-Ireland medal winner.
Galvin sourced the hurley in Ipoh, Malaysia.
He explained: “I worked in Malaysia for a number of years and a good few years back, the Irish Ambassador to Malaysia put me in contact with a Brother Vincent Corkery who also worked out there. Brother Corkery hailed from Millstreet, not too far from where I am, so the Ambassador thought us two Cork men should meet.
“One day in 2014, I dropped Brother Corkery home after he had eaten in the pub and restaurant I was running, Healy Mac’s. Before he left me, he said that I had something for me.
He came back out with a hurley, given to him by Jack Lynch many years earlier. He said that whenever he passed away (Brother Corkery died in 2016), there was a danger that the hurley could be burned as the locals wouldn’t know the significance of it so he passed it onto me. I came home from Malaysia in 2017, brought the hurley with me and have had it in safekeeping since.
Galvin continued: “Jack Lynch visited Malaysia after he retired from politics and was aware, I believe, of all the charity work Brother Vincent did in that part of the world. Brother Vincent was given a Dato (a title of respect in Malaysia) in later years for all the work he did out there so perhaps the hurley was a gift in recognition of his work.
"I brought the hurl to the Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur one year and although I had been told it was a hurley from 1955, Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh took one look at it and said, that hurley is from 1953. How he knew, I’ve no idea.”
Galvin added: “The hurley is in immaculate condition. It has survived the test of time. Since I brought it home, I haven’t taken it anywhere for fear anything would happen to it. Jack Lynch played for the Glen so I feel it is right and proper it goes back to them.”
Glen Rovers were delighted Galvin made contact with the club and saw fit the hurley be returned home. The club plan to construct a cabinet which will display the hurley in their clubhouse.