Jimmy Smyth was born in Ruan, County Clare in 1931. He was born into a family that had a strong association with the game of hurling. His uncle played with Clare while his mother was also a hurling enthusiast. He was educated locally and later attended St. Flannan's College, a virtual nursery for young hurlers. Here he won three Harty Cup titles and three All-Ireland Colleges' medals in the 1940s.
In his teens Jimmy started playing for his local club in Ruan and enjoyed much success. He won his first senior county title with the club in 1948. Not only was it Smyth's first county victory but it was also the first time that Ruan had triumphed in the county championship. He captured four more county medals in 1951, 1959, 1960 and 1962.
A skilful hurler from the age of 13 Jimmy quickly attracted the attention of the Clare minor hurling selectors. In all he played at minor level for a record five years, where the junior and senior management teams noticed him. He played his first inter-county match in the National Hurling League at the age of 17. In the mid-1950s he earned his reputation with the Clare senior hurlers. In 1953 he scored a record 6-4 in the Munster Championship. The following year, 1954, Clare defeated Wexford to capture their first ever Oireachtas title. In 1955 Clare showed their confidence by defeating the All-Ireland champions Cork in the first round of the Munster Championship, however, Clare themselves were later defeated by Limerick.
Jimmy also lined out with Munster in the inter-provincial hurling competition and enjoyed much success playing alongside hurling legends like John Doyle, Christy Ring, Tom Cheasty and Jimmy Doyle.. He won his first Railway Cup medal in 1952 in his first year on the team as Munster defeated Connacht. Three years later in 1955 Smyth captured a second Railway Cup title. The late 1950s and early 1960s saw Smyth enjoy even more success as Munster came to dominate the inter-provincial series of games. He won five Railway Cup medals in-a-row in 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960 and 1961. Smyth captured his eighth and final Railway Cup title in 1963.
This is the first team that he played on.
1952: Semi-Final: Munster 4-8 Leinster 3-5. Final: Munster 5-11 Connacht 4-2
Team: Tony Reddan (Tipperary), Jackie Goode, Davy Walsh (Waterford), John Doyle (Tipperary), Sean Herbert (Limerick), Pat Stakelum (Captain, Tipperary), Matt Fuohy (Cork), Phil Shanahan (Tipperary), John Kiely (Waterford), Matt Nugent (Clare), Mick Ryan, Seamus Bannon, Paddy Kenny (Tipperary), Derry McCarthy (Limerick), Christy Ring (Cork), Eddie Stokes (Limerick), Jimmy Smyth (Clare), Jimmy Finn (Tipperary), Donal Broderick (Limerick), Ned Ryan (Tipperary).
In 1967 Jimmy Smyth retired from hurling having given two decades to the game at the highest level.
Following his retirement from play he continued his involvement with the Gaelic Athletic Association, working as Executive Officer at Croke Park until 1988. Following this he studied philosophy at Trinity College, Dublin, where he completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1993. His Master of Arts thesis was based on the songs, poems and recitations of Gaelic games in Munster. In spite of not having any provincial or All-Ireland success Jimmy was still named on the
“Munster Hurling Team of the Millennium” in 2000.
Tony Reddin (Goalkeeper)
John Doyle • Brian Lohan • Denis Murphy (Full-backs)
Jimmy Finn • John Keane • Jackie Power (Half-backs)
Jack Lynch • Phil Grimes (Midfielders)
Jimmy Doyle • Mick Mackey • Christy Ring (Half-forwards)
Jimmy Smyth • Ray Cummins • Paddy Barry (Full-forwards)
He was also selected on the “Greatest players not to win an All Ireland “team
Seánie Duggan (Goalkeeper)
Jim Fives • Noel Drumgoole • John Joe 'Goggles' Doyle (Full-backs)
Seán Herbert • Seán Stack • Colm Doran (Half-backs)
Joe Salmon • John 'Jobber' McGrath (Midfielders)
Josie Gallagher • Martin Quigley • Kevin Armstrong (Half-forwards)
Jimmy Smyth • Christy O'Brien • Mick Bermingham (Full-forwards)
Jimmy wrote a book entitled ‘In Praise of Heroes: Ballads and Poems of the GAA’ - a publication recounting great GAA battles and personalities of the past. Collected from every county in Ireland over a period of 20 years, the contents are divided into four categories: hurling songs and poems from 1300 to 2003; football songs from 1700 to 2004; tributes in song to the great players both hurlers and footballers and a number of ballads commemorating handball games - biographical details of authors are given and explanatory notes provide a context to each entry. In the book Jimmy recalls times past ‘Hurling is a special mix of parish, motherhood and friend and they have walked side by side together down the years,’ he writes. ‘This can be highlighted by a little incident on June 14, 1953 at Cusack Park, Ennis, when Clare played Limerick in the Munster hurling championship. I scored 6-4 on this occasion. I don’t remember one of those scores.’ He adds: ‘I only remember what happened immediately after the game. We togged out in the Queen’s Hotel, approximately 600 yards from Cusack Park. We walked to the Park. At the sideline gate leaving the pitch I was approached by an elderly lady from Ruan, my home parish. She smiled into my face, and caught me by the back of the jersey. She never spoke a word. And still without a word, she walked on by my side to the Queen’s Hotel doorway, with her hand still on my jersey, when she again smiled into my face and then walked silently and smilingly away’.
Jimmy Smyth with Micky Leahy, Gerry Ryan, Naoise Jordan and P J O'Driscoll in Ruan
HUGH BRADY (1884-1918)
Hugh Brady, principal teacher at the Ruan National School was born ca. 1844 and died on October 29th 1918 at the age of 75 years at Paradise Hill, Ballynacally, Co.Clare, whither he had gone to reside shortly after his superannuation in 1909. He was buried on October 31st 1918 at the family burying ground in Kilchreest. Requiem Mass was chanted for him at the parish church of Ballycorick. The funeral was an immense one. All the local clergy were present.
Archbishop PATRICK JOSEPH CLUNE (1864-1935)
CLUNE, PATRICK JOSEPH (1864-1935), archbishop, was born on 6 January 1864 near Ruan, County Clare, Ireland, son of James Clune and his wife Margaret, née Lynch. Educated locally and at St Flannan's College, Ennis, in 1879 he entered the Catholic Missionary College of All Hallows, Dublin, to study for the priesthood and was ordained in 1886 at the early age of 22. His first appointment was to St Patrick's College, Goulburn, New South Wales, where he taught English literature and developed a love for it which always influenced his style of public speaking. He was later the administrator of the Goulburn cathedral until his return to England to train as a Redemptorist missioner in 1893.
In 1895-98 Clune gave very successful parochial missions throughout England and Ireland and in 1898 went to Perth with the first band of Redemptorists obtained by Bishop Matthew Gibney Here his eloquence and manliness had a remarkable influence on the men in the rough settlements. In 1905 Clune became superior of the Redemptorist monastery, Wellington, New Zealand, where he remained until 1909, when he went back to the Perth house as superior. Gibney used Clune freely for his appeals at the openings of churches, schools and convents. Next year he reached the heights of sacred oratory in two famous sermons: the panegyric on the death of King Edward VII and the dedication of the cathedral organ.
Because of serious financial troubles, on 21 March 1910 Gibney was requested by Rome to resign; he had mentioned Clune as a successor, and he was the first choice of the diocesan clergy, and of three bishops of the other provinces. Clune was consecrated by Cardinal Patrick Moran on 17 March 1911. The church had a huge debt of £204,039, and to reduce it he appointed a committee of experienced lay financial administrators. With their help within four years he had paid off over £97,000—of which £82,000 came from the judicious sale of real estate that Gibney had acquired. In 1913 Perth was elevated to an archbishopric with Clune as its first incumbent. He continued to express himself on Home Rule for Ireland.
In World War I Clune was senior chaplain to the Catholic members of the Australian Imperial Force. In 1916 he visited troops in England and also those in the Ypres salient where he made a profound impression. At the end of his appointment in the A.I.F. in March 1917, he returned to Western Australia where he appealed for the Belgian patriotic funds, assisted the families of Yugoslav internees and expressed himself publicly but tolerantly in favour of conscription.
On a visit to Ireland in 1920 he was deeply shocked by the outrages perpetrated by the 'Black and Tans' in the name of the British government. In London he was invited by influential people to negotiate between the British government and the Irish Sinn Fein leaders; he conferred with Lloyd George and members of his cabinet and travelled between London and Dublin for several weeks, conveying the cabinet's terms to the Irish leaders and their replies to Lloyd George. The prime minister was reported as approving cordially of Clune's support for a temporary truce; but the 'Tory Wing of the Cabinet and especially Mr. Bonar Law and Mr. Winston Churchill' were opposed 'unless the Sinn Feiners delivered up all their arms': the negotiations failed on this question. In Paris in January 1921, on his way to Rome, Clune stated publicly that he believed Lloyd George 'sincerely yearned for peace', but unhappily several members of his government and other politicians did not share this view; he described the Sinn Feiners as 'the cream of their race'.
Clune's work for peace aroused public awareness in Europe and the United States of America as to the true state of Irish affairs, and in a speech at his official welcome back to Perth, he spoke fully and frankly of what he had seen in Ireland. Many in Australia had known only the partial reports of the newspapers, and also seemed to believe that 'loyalty' consisted in exhibiting conditioned reactions based on the English class system. The governor of Western Australia, under the restrictions of his office, made no public statement. However, he had failed to have the Colonial Office intervene to delay Clune's return, and he promptly denounced Clune's speech to Downing Street as likely to revive bitterness all over Australia. The governor, blind to the significance of Clune's role, even as an Australian, but aware of his reputation for moderation, feared his 'full influence with the Roman Catholic Community'.
Clune now developed his expanding archdiocese: between 1921 and 1931 fifty-six new buildings were erected, including the foundling home at Subiaco, a home for the aged at Glendalough and a school for mentally handicapped boys at Castledare. Helped by Dr J. T. McMahon he supported the establishment of the 'Bushies' Scheme' in 1923, for the religious education of children in isolated areas, and the Newman Society of Western Australia, founded in 1925, for Catholic university students and undergraduates. Clune will be well remembered for the building of the beautiful present sanctuary and transept of St Mary's Cathedral for which he made the appeal for funds. The completed portion, opened on 4 May 1930, owed much to his taste and care.
In 1933 he chose as his coadjutor Redmond Prenderville who took over much of the administration as Archbishop Clune suffered from increasing infirmities. His last public speech indicated his dual interests: the Church he said, 'was striving to teach two things—truth and beauty'. He died on 24 May 1935 and was buried simply in the Redemptorist plot at Karrakatta cemetery. Glowing tributes were paid to his memory by prominent citizens of all religious beliefs who felt that his tolerance had contributed materially to Perth's lack of 'rancorous religious controversy'. A public-spirited citizen, Clune had been a peerless orator and a man of peace with a genius for making friends. Sir Walter Murdock found him 'never an austere recluse', full of 'unaffected geniality' and with a conversation which was 'particularly witty and stimulating'; and Rabbi Feldman said that 'he held the respect of … the Jewish community [and] maintained peace in his time'.