A Cashel London Connection - Jack Gleeson
London won their first junior All-Ireland in 1938 when they beat Cork in the junior hurling final. The game was played at Harrow Meadow, Eltham, London on October 30. Cork came to London with tradition and an impressive championship campaign behind them, which included victories over Tipperary, Limerick, Clare, Offaly and Antrim. However, there was a shock in store for them as they were defeated by 4-4 to 4-1 in a game that finished in semi-darkness.
The main reason for London's success was the quality of the players on the team. They benefitted from having four or five players who were obviously above junior standard. They included 'lovely Johnny Dunne' who had scored the winning goal for Kilkenny versus Limerick in the 1932 All-Ireland senior final, and Jack Gleeson, who played centrefield for Tipperary in the All-Ireland final at Killarney the previous year. The 1938 victory gave him the chance of putting two AlI-lrelands, a senior and a junior, back to back.
Mention of Jack Gleeson brings up the Cashel connection. He was born at Shanballa, three miles from Cashel in 1910. His sister Helena still lives in the home place. Jack started hurling with Rockwell Rovers but later transferred to Cashel where he won a junior divisional medal in 1933 and a senior in 1934. He transferred to Roscrea in 1936 when he went to work at Roscrea Meat Products and won a north divisional medal with the club
in 1937. As luck would have it Cashel were west champions the same year and played Roscrea in the county semi-final at Borrisoleigh. Cashel were behind by nine points at half-time but came storming back to win by a goal. Gleeson got plenty of slagging from the Cashel supporters that day. In the same year Jack was picked for the county and won his All-Ireland senior medal when Tipperary beat Kilkenny by 3-11 to 0-3. According to one newspaper account Gleeson vindicated his selection at centrefield beside the more famous Jimmy Cooney. 'Perhaps too much was expected of Cooney but, whatever it was, Gleeson stole most of his thunder and justified the confidence of the selectors. A ragged rather than a spectacular worker, he revelled in the hard exchanges and staked a very strong claim to a permanent berth on the team.
Jack Gleeson didn't get a permanent place on the team because he emigrated to London at the end of 1937 and was, apparently, drafted into the London side for the All-Ireland junior championship. According to the report of the final London were well served by their county players, including Jim Shaughnessy of Cork and Jack Gleeson of Tipperary. The latter may not have started the game because the teams I have to hand does not include his name. It reads: J. Shaughnessy, J. Dunne, T. Walker, E. Eade, J. Hickey, E. Foulds, L. Moran, J. Dwyer (Capt.), J. Farrell, M. Regan, J. Hardiman, T. Reaney, B. Hickey, N. Noonan, D. Hoyne. That may have been the original selection and Gleeson may have started the game or come in early on. It is certain, however, that he played.
There were two other Cashel men on that team, Batt and Johnny Hickey. Batt was one of the finest hurlers in Cashel in the thirties, playing junior and senior hurling with the club before emigrating in 1937. His usual position was in the backs. Johnny was a younger brother. They had a more famous older brother, Jimmy, who was at the height of career in the twenties. He won a junior All-Ireland with Tipperary in 1924 and was on the Boherlahan selection which won the senior All-Ireland in 1925 thus making him the first Cashel man to win an All-Ireland senior medal. Jimmy was a very tall man, about 6 I 4" and was reputed to jump his own height for the ball. His All-Ireland and Munster medals were in existence until a few years ago when his sister donated them to the Parish Priest of her parish in England to be used in the making of a chalice.
But, to get back to the final! The match was of a very high standard although the pitch was slippery. After the victory the Michael Cusack Cup was presented to the London teams by Jack Shalloe, chairman of the Provincial Council of Britain. The Cork trainer, Jim Barry, admitted it was the best junior final he had ever seen. Finally, Eddie Foulds of Dagenham, the only Englishman on the London side, made a fine contribution to his side's victory.
All-Ireland Club S.H. Championship Quarter-Final Program, Ruislip, London, Feb. 9, 1992