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Michael 'Blondie' Aherne of Dunlocha Cottages

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 Blackrock Online...People of Distinction... SPORT... Soccer Category

Michael ‘Blondie’ Aherne, known as ‘Blondie’ by his legions of Cork soccer fans in the halycon days of the former Cork Hibernians era of the late 1950’s and 60’s, joined an illustrious group of Cork soccer legends who earned renowned status in the hearts of Cork soccer fans.

Born at Dunlocha Cottages in the old village of Blackrock, near Cork city, the area was renowned as the home of many All Ireland champion hurlers who wore the famous Blackrock jersey. In the mid 1950’s a new soccer club was founded on the road where Blondie lived, by local men, John Hayes and Christy Hayes.

The club was named Ringmahon Rangers and is still thriving in the 21st century. It was with Ringmahon that Blondie found his niche in sport and he progressed from juvenile ranks right through to the very top of the Irish soccer grades. A move to Glasheen minor team on the western city side blossomed Blondies career on a major upward spiral and the club won national F.A.I. minor honours and this focused attention on the players who achieved this unique honour. At just 19 years old in 1959, Cork Hibernians came with their calling card for Blondie and he made his move to League Of Ireland football at a time when Hibs were still finding their way at the top level.

Cork Hibernians Founded in 1957

Cork Hibs had attracted a great fan base and one of their star players was Michael ‘Blondie’ Aherne. Blondie played on Hibs teams that showcased many of Cork’s greatest native talents and the club also imported several former internationals to bolster title aspirations and Blondie was always one of the first names on the team sheet for ten years. Outstanding displays in the green and white of Hibs brought Blondie to the attention of the international selectors for Ireland’s amateur international teams in the early 1960’s, and he won a glorious four international caps.

Several Cork soccer players in the domestic home game carved out a special place in the hearts of Cork soccer fans without leaving Ireland and Michael ‘Blondie’ Aherne is held in high esteem by his soccer peers and around Cork soccer circles.Mention of the name ‘Blondie’ invariably means the Blackrock man.

Top honours in the domestic game were evasive for Hibs and Blondie in the early years and a Dublin City Cup medal was garnered by Dunlocha sportsman in 1960. The club contested two F.A.I. Cup finals in 1960 and ‘63 and the famous Shelbourne stood in their way on both occasions. That coveted trophy evaded Blondie. In 1968, lying in a hospital bed, he announced his retirement to concentrate on rearing his young family with Maura, but his sporting deeds will now be preserved in People of Distinction at Blackrock Online.

Tribute by Derry JF Doody @ Blackrock Online

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