John Grogan was captain of the King Cormac's under-13 hurling and football teams that hit the headlines in 1969, winning west finals in both and going on to win the county football final but losing the hurling final to Ballina. The fact that John was captain of both teams is an indication of how highly he was regarded as a hurler and a footballer at the time. The previous year he was captain of the league winning teams in the C.B.S. As well as his playing skills his height gave him a major advantage over other players.
But victories are normally not gained by one person on the team. The other fourteen have an important part to play also and Cashel King Cormac's were fortunate at this time to have a great concentration of young talent, probably the greatest to date in the history of the club. The strength of this talent was seen two years later when this bunch of players won the 1971 under-15, west and county championships, both urban and rural, in hurling and football. Such success was unprecendented in the club. John was captain of both teams.
In the same year Cashel C.B.S. won the Rice Cup when they beat Roscrea C.B.S., by 8-5 to 4-1 in the final. John was also captain of this victorious side.
In 1972 the competition were changed from under-13, under-15 and under-17 to under-12, under-14 and under-16. Cashel had their success at under-16 level that year. They won the west and county in hurling, defeating Rahealty by 7-6 to 2-3 in the county final. They won the west but were beaten by Commercials in the county football final. John was also on the minor team that won the west final, the first of five finals in a row. He was on the county minor team that lost to Cork in the Munster semi-final. He was also on the C.B.S.team that won the Fitzgerald Cup.
The following year was a very busy one for John. He was on the minor team that won the west but lost the county final to Thurles Sarsfields. He won the west minor football final. He won a Munster minor hurling medal with Tipperary but were beaten by Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final. He was on the county minor hurling team that won the special four-county league, and on the county minor football team that won the special minor league. He was on the county minor football team beaten by Kerry in the Munster semi-final replay at Listowal, marking Ogie Moran on the day. He made his first appearance on the club senior hurling panel. He had great success at schools' level, wining Croke Cup, Fitzgerald Cup. Kinane Cup, Corn Phadraig and beaten by Farrenferris in the Harty Cup final.
There was another successful year in 1974. The first county minor double was won. Having won the west finals, Cashel won the county hurling final by beating Loughmore-Castleiney, 5-7 to 3-4, in the final, and the county football final by beating Roscrea 0-6 to 0-2 in the final. John was on the county minor hurling and football teams. The hurling team, of which he was captain, was beaten by Cork 2-11 to 2-7 in a Munster final replay at Dungarvan. The footballers were beaten by Cork in the Munster semi-final at Mitchelstown. Earlier he was captain of the county minor team that won the special football league, and of the hurling team that won the special hurling league. He also made his debut with the Cashel senior team
In 1975 he won a west senior hurling medal when Cashel defeated Sean Treacy's by 0-18 to 0-13 in the final. He also won a Crosco Cup medal. At county level he was full-forward on the under-21 team beaten by Kerry in the Munster semi-final.
In 1976 he won his second west senior hurling medal, when Cashel defeated Cappawhite 2-9 to 2-5 in the final. He also won his second Crosco Cup. He was on the Cashel team that won the west under-21 hurling title and lost the final by 3-4 to 1-5 in a replay to Kilruane-MacDonaghs at Holycross on January 9, 1977. John had his leg broken on the day. Other victories included west intermediate and county junior football medals. At county level he was full-forward on the county under-21 team, beaten by Clare in the Munster semi-final. He was also full-forward on the senior team beaten 4-10 to 2-15 in the Munster semi-final at Limerick. John scored 1-8 in the match and was nominated at full-forward for an All-Star. Cork went on the win three All-Irelands and it is arguable that had Tipperary won on the day, they would have gone on to a similar achievement. John represented Ireland in a shinty game with Scotland that year.
He had a quieter year in 1977. There was a west under-21 football title and defeat by Commercials in a county final replay. He played centrefield on the county under-21 side beaten by Cork in the Munster semi-final. He didn't make the senior side as he was out of the game in the first half of the year as a result of his leg injury.
There are no achievements for 1978 at the end of which he transferred to Dunhill, Co. Waterford.
In 1979 he won a county senior hurling medal with his new club. Between 1979 and 1982 he contested five county finals with Dunhill, four hurling and one football. He won just one hurling final and was unable to contest two hurling finals because of injury. Had he been playing the results might have been different.
In 1980 he was on the county senior hurling team defeated by Limerick in the National League semi-final. In 1981 he was back on the county senior championship side at corner-forward when beaten by Limerick in the semi-final replay by 3-17 to 2-12 at Limerick. He wasn't on the team in 1982 but was back at full-forward in 1983 when Tipperary were beaten by Waterford by 4-13 to 2-15 at Cork. He also featured on the team that won division 2 of the 1983/84 league, being the leading scorer. In the same same year he was back with Cashel and won a Crosco Cup medal.
In 1984 he played with Eire Óg, Nenagh which won the special North Tipperary Bliain an Chéid Corn an Cheid Sinsear.
In 1985 he won a junior football title with Eíre Óg and a senior hurling league medal..
In 1986 he transferred to Ballyhea in Co. Cork and played senior hurling. The club was beaten by Blackrock in the county senior hurling semi-final, after winning the O'Leary Cup. In 1987 he won a second O'Leary Cup medal.
In 1988 and 1989 he played for Clonmore in senior hurling and Templemore in senior football.
In 1990 he was back with Cashel King Cormacs and won a west senior hurling medal, before going down to Holycross-Ballycahill in the county final.. There was also a Crosco Cup win and a west senior football medal, the first time the club won the title.
The year 1991 was a spectacular year for John, when he was a member of the Cashel senior hurling team to win the west and first county senior hurling final. There was also victory in the Munster club championship before eventual defeat by Kiltormer in the second replay of the All-Ireland semi-final.
John's final year to play with Cashel was 1992 when they were beaten 2-15 to 1-11 by a rampant Clonoulty-Rossmore in the west final at Bansha. He was thus deprived of a fifth divisional senior title. His last game was against Loughmore-Castleiney when Cashel were defeated in the county quarter-final at Boherlahan. John played at full-forward and scored two points.
John had numerous successes at Inter-Firms level also. In 1976 and 1978 he won a Munster senior title with Commercials, an amalgamation of shops and offices in Waterford City, when they defeated Avonmore in the final. In 1986 he won Cork and Munster senior interfirms titles with Charleville, and a Cork senior title in 1987.
He played in the Inter-Banks competition with Bank of Ireland, winning hurling titles in hurling in 1976, 1978 and 1985, and in football in 1981, 1983 and 1989. He also played for the Bank of Ireland in Bank Representative matches against the defence Forces in 1989, 1990, 1991 and 1992.
John played senior hurling for nineteen years, commencing with Cashel in 1974 and finishing with the same club in 1992. In between he played for Dunhill, Eire Óg, Nenagh, Ballyhea, and Clonmore, as well as the county senior team, indicating his love of hurling and his willingness to play it wherever his job took him.
Perhaps this very mobility, this moving around a lot, prevented him establishing a permanent place on the county team. He was at his prime when he moved to Waterford in 1979 and he was away for four years. But his hurling ability should not be judged by the length of time he spent on the Tipperary panel. The breaking of his leg in January 1977, following his nominating for an All-Star the previous year, was also a serious blow to his county prospects.
John was a most skillful player with wonderful striking ability and a powerful shot. He had a good eye, moved with grace on the field and had a good stature. He was a versatile player, capable of playing any of the six positions in the forward line and he played centrefield on the county under-21 team. He was dependable and cool, a very honest hurler, perhaps lacked a bit of devilment. He stood out on the field because of his height.
For one who had such a full life as a player, which stretched from 1968 to 1992, a total of twenty-five seasons playing at all levels of hurling and football, it was a surprise that he never involved himself as a selector or at the administrative level in the club. Perhaps he had enough of it after so many years. He did become involved in camogie for a number of years and was supportive of his daughters, who starred at Cashel and county level.
So, when one looks back over a great period in the history of Cashel King Cormacs, John stands tall, not only literally but also metaphorically, as one of the most skillful players to ever don the club jersey, and he also made a name for himself in many grades in hurling and football at the county level.
Posted on Cashel King Cormac's Website, June 3, 2009