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John Coughlan Soccer Tribute

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John Coughlan… The King Of The Cross

The mere mention of John Coughlan was enough to strike fear into the hearts of centre forwards during the 1940’s;50’s and 60’s eras of Irish soccer. John was a man of steel who played the game with pure passion.

The Cork soccer icon attended Glasheen National School before moving to Ballincollig where he helped win the Cork Under 16 football championship. In his early years John was also a skillful hurler and played on the Cork minor team defeated by arch rivals Tipperary in the 1949 Munster final.

During his pioneering days with Glasheen FC the club succeeded in winning every trophy at Youth level. In 1951 Cork Athletic came calling for John’s signature, but soon after the Mardyke based Athletic went into liquidation thus enabling south city based Evergreen United to sign a player who became one of their greatest iconic stars.

In an interview John Coughlan stated “we were very close team as far as friendship was concerned and despite winning the Top Four completion a couple of times and also the Dublin City Cup, we never reached our goal of winning the League or the F.A.I. Cup. In our own Celtic team, Austin Noonan and Dónie Leahy were outstanding forwards with great brains and flair”.

In 1964 John was presented with the Beamish & Crawford Player Of The Year. The following season (1965) he lined out in the colours of northside St. Marys and they swept the board in Cork junior soccer. The following year (1966) John as Cork A.U.L. manager and player, he led his team to victory in the prestigious Oscar Traynor Cup.

Reflecting on his League Of Ireland career, the Ballincollig man stated “we played the game hard, but after the game (if we won) we would spend our £1 bonus on buying the opposition a few drinks.

In a lengthy soccer career, John Coughlan won an F.A.I. Cup medal in 1953 when he played in the replayed final versus fellow Cork side, Evergreen United. He also played on the losing Cork Athletic side in the 1956 Cup final and in 1964 he was again out of luck as Shamrock Rovers defeated Cork Celtic in another Cup final.

The name John Coughlan is etched in Cork’s soccer Golden Memories and it is with respect and great admiration of his no nonsense battling style, that SportsLife Corkonians of vintage years applaud the Cork Soccer Star.

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