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JOHN BROHAN of Soccer Fame

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John Brohan of Cork Hibernians Fame: 

Cork soccer followers of a certain vintage love nothing better than reminiscing on the Bacuzzi era, the huge attendances, and the players who were responsible for luring them in their thousands to Flower Lodge. Cork Hibernians had their share of pin-up boys, marquee players and internationals. And more importantly, they had those at the coal face - play anywhere John Brohan, a tenacious ball winner blessed with a ferocious winning mentality.

It is tempting but erroneous to describe his value merely to passion and fearlessness. Coming from Ringmahon and his own family sporting dynasty, he was blessed with those attributes anyway, but he possessed the skills to match them. As a boy he shed a tear or two, when Ringmahon were defeated in the prestigious SFAI Evans Cup final. He had been marked as a player for the future and chose Cork Hibs over Cork Celtic, when both clubs sought his signature.

John was 18 when he made his debut against Drogheda in 1966; playing left full with his older brother, Bobby, between the sticks. Towards the end of that season, in which he played seventeen times, Amby Fogarty took over the managerial reins and acknowledging John’s versatility, used him in six different positions.

Fogarty had a modern approach to the game, and for him, a left full, to be successful, needed a wide range of attributes, which make them suited for adaptation to other roles on the pitch. Many of the game's utility players, who can play in multiple positions on the pitch, are natural full-backs. John was blessed with stamina, a healthy work-rate, good tackling ability and possessed the necessary player intelligence. And for good measure, he chipped in with some special goals.

In his Hibs career, spanning ten seasons, John made 243 appearances (12th in the clubs Roll of Honour). Playing in Europe was among the highpoints of his playing days, particularly being involved against the Netzer inspired bewildering Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League.

However the joy of winning an FAI Cup medal, when Hibs defeated Shels in 1973, was the highlight. It needed two games to decide the destination of the trophy and Hibs rearguard, with John outstanding, held Shel’s classy frontline scoreless for 180 minutes.

John didn’t know it at the time, but when he lined out against Bohemians at the Lodge in April 1976, it would be the last game that Hibs would play in the League of Ireland. In fact John and the Hibs touring party who participated in the American League at the end of the season, weren’t aware of the sad news of Hibs demise until after they returned from the States in June. In Hibs last season John played in all 36 matches and then went on to tour USA.

The younger member of the Brohan sporting family, John also played with the famed Rockies in his youth but chose the beautiful game over gaelic games as his No.1 sporting priority. It was a very wise decision from an astute Blackrock sportsman.

John Brohan is now one of many People of Distinction in our sports category at Blackrock Online.

 (Picture upcoming shortly)

Editorial compliments of Plunkett Carter

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