The twin sporting communities of Corofin and Corinthians are among the many mourning the loss of a special gentleman, Jimmy Glynn, who passed away last week.
Jimmy Glynn, a native of Cummer, had the distinction of playing Gaelic football with Galway during its now famous three-in-a-row success, before taking up rugby and playing for Connacht against the All Blacks in 1974.
But above all else Jimmy was a real and rare gentlemen, and it is this trait that distinquished Jimmy from so many others.
President of Galway Corinthians, Tom McDonagh, in paying tribute at Jimmy's private funeral, said: "It is an understatement to say he was a gentleman. When the news of his passing reached us it was the one word that everyone used in paying tribute. That was because he was an incredible man who, not only had a fine reputation as a player and president of our club, but also as one of the finest men you would ever meet."
A student of Cummer National School, and later Tuam Vocational School, it was natural Jimmy would take up Gaelic football at which he excelled. His first county title came in 1962 when his home club Corofin beat Mountbellew, and although a senior title eluded him, Jimmy went on to play with the Galway seniors during its now famous three-in-a-row period. He was a member of the squad in Galway's 1965 victory over Kerry, and won two National League titles in 1965, and again in 1967 when he partnered Frank Canavan at midfield, defeating Dublin in the final. He also played for Galway in the Polo Grounds, New York, later that year.
Spark of life
But rugby became his passion. Encouraged by fellow ESB electricians, such as Mick Grealish, he took up rugby and became a regular for Corinthians RFC during its domination of the Connacht Senior League of the seventies. It culminated in his selection for Connacht - the highlight of which was playing against the All Blacks, led by Andy Leslie, in the Sportsground in November 1974. The popular second row also captained Corinthians, and was its club president in 1998/99.
"On the playing field, he has a unique record," says Tom McDonagh. " He played his Gaelic football with Corofin and Galway and his rugby with OLBC, ourselves in Corinthians and Connacht. But even fewer can say they were part of the Galway Senior Football panel which won the All-Ireland in 1965 and then nine years later would be on the Connacht team who faced the mighty All Blacks in 1974 at the Sportsground."
Winner of six Connacht Senior Leagues and three Connacht Senior Cups, Tom McDonagh said there were few who matched his "dedication, his spirit and his ability".
Long time friend and fellow Corinthian, Declan McDermott, says Jimmy was an inspiration to many at the club.
"He was a great trainer, and there wasn't a bad bone in his body. I would always say to him that his only failing was that he wasn't aggressive enough."
"He loved rugby and the camaraderie. He was an electrician by profession, but he really was a great spark. He brought light wherever he was. With a great love for the Irish language, he was also a great storyteller."
Jimmy, with his trademark pipe, travelled far and wide with rugby, including the World Cup, often with friends Tom McDonagh, Iggy Madden and John Cullinane.
"He never forgot his roots. You could be at a match in Dublin, and Jimmy would shout out, "Up Galway". That was just his way. His good humour was infectious."
Tom McDonagh, says Jimmy left a legacy in Corinthians - "a legacy of what a true Corinthian was. A true Corinthian gives himself or herself for the betterment of others".
Jimmy, who was predeceased by his wife Pauline, is survived by his daughters Elaine, Kelly, Jennifer and Nicola, his son Antony, sons-in-law Javi, Derek, George and Shane, brothers Tommie, Jackie, Kevin and Padraic, sisters Mary, Breda and Bernadette, and 13 grandchildren.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.