July 19, 1991
Jim and Cork ready to 'cash' in
By Tom Morrison
Jim Cashman, from the scenic fishing village of Blackrock, has packed more sporting achievements into his career to date than most others might reasonably expect to do in a lifetime. Yet, bigger challenges lie ahead beginning this week-end with a crucial Munster championship final replay fixture with old rivals Tipperary at Semple Stadium, Thurles. A player who has time and again inspired his county, Jim, who won RTE's 'Man of the Match' after the epic drawn tie at Pairc Ui Chaoimh, is now well recognised as one of the outstanding defenders of the modern game. All through the seventy bruising minutes of that game he was the dominant player in the Cork half-back-line, got through a tremendous amount of valuable work and held Declan Ryan for the second consecutive season. But, somehow the job of turning the cherished hopes of further Munster championship honours into tangible reality proved beyond Cork as the wily Pat Fox brought Tipperary back from the dead with a stunning late equaliser.
Believe me, the Premier County are a hard nut to crack but, with a bit more urgency and a tightening up in the full-back line, Cork can strike for victory on Sunday and Jim Cashman and his colleagues are willing to work tirelessly in an effort to put two Munster titles back to back. This is being billed as "the match of the year - and a crowd of up to 50,000 is likely but it is not going to be easy for the champions who will have to mark the Tipp attack closely if they are to survive. Still Cork managed a draw the last day with the entire half-forward line failing to score from play and it was a refreshing wholesome and dogged team effort with Ger Cunningham, Cathal Casey, Jim Cashman, Pat Hartnett, Kevin Hennessy and two goal hero Ger Fitzgerald the leading lights.
Success is something of a constant companion of Cashman ever since he won his first county senior medal with the Rockies in 1985. That day 'Cash', in the good company of his brother Tom, Michael Browne, Kilkennyman Frank Cummlns, Eamonn O'Donoghue and Finbarr Delaney, all gave scintillating displays to skilfully wrest the coveted crown from a Midleton team that included a huge number of stars like Denis Mulcahy, Pat and John Hartnett, (Ger Fitzgerald, John Fenton and Kevin Hennessy, among others. From there on the outlook for young Jim Cashman was good and he made his senior inter-county debut a winning one when Cork beat Galway in the Oireachtas final at Pairc Ui Chaoimh a few weeks later.
But long before that the name 'Cashman' had long been synonymous with Cork hurling because Jim's father Mick and brother Tom had long innings with the county and a rather interesting coincidence is that Mick's brother-in-law, Jimmy Brohan, made the corner-back position nearly his own on numerous Leeside teams between 1954 and 1964.
Moreover, Mick Cashman's lengthy career at all levels reached a spectacular and historic climax at Croke Park on St. Patrick's Day, 1963 when he became the first and only goalkeeper to win six Railway Cup medals thus edging out his two great predeceased rivals, Paddy Scanlon of Limerick and Tipperary's Tony Reddan, who each held five. Coincidentally, that year marked the end of his inter-county years as a goalkeeper that became permanent in 1956 after playing in many outfield positions for the Reds as well as winning an All-Ireland junior medal in 1950. Then along came older son, Tom, who must rank as the most complete hurler in the county, if not in the whole of the country, from 1977 to 1988 when four All-lreland and eight Munster championships were won.
Then in 1986 father and son carved out a unique niche in Cork hurling history when Tom was elected captain of the Cork team that subsequently shocked Galway in the All-lreland final. In the history of the game no father and son had ever captained the Leesiders in the senior hurling championship and as father Mick had that honour in both in 1957 - the year Tom was born - and again in 1962, young Tom added another record to the very distinguished and well known family. And to crown a wonderful season for the household, Jim partnered John Fenton at centre-field in that memorable 4-13 to 2-15 triumph of '86. That evening the Cashman bandwagon was really on the 'rockie' road to success. Sadly, Michael died at a comparatively early age in September of 1988 but the remains of his legacy will be forever treasured by both Cork and Blackrock.
Growing up in such a family environment, the game of hurling was always likely to occupy a major part of Jim Cashman's life and he left an indelible mark even as a minor despite the fact that Cork failed to win the Munster championship from 1980 to 1982. In 1981 he followed in his father's footsteps by playing in goal for Cork against Clare in the Munster semi-final at Bruff but the Reds tumbled to a surprising six points defeat. Brendan O'Sullivan and Thomas Mulcahy were colleagues of his on that under-age side that were never to win any major honours. However, let's not overlook the fact that Clare had an exceptionally good team that year and consequently took the Munster title at Tipperary's expense.
When Cashman came on the Cork senior team in the Autumn of 1985 he was blessed to be among a vast number of players with tremendous experience and there can be little doubt that the Leesiders deserved to win the '86 crown when you consider players in the calibre of Ger Cunningham, Denis Mulcahy, Johnny Crowley, Pat Hartnett, John Fenton, Tom Cashman, Tony O' Sullivan, Kevin Hennessy and Jimmy Barry Murphy, who had made his senior debut as far back as 1975 after winning an All-lreland medal with the footballers in 1973.
Twenty-six last month. and the winner of an All-Star award in 1990, Jim Cashman's feats came to full bloom when pitted against Declan Ryan in last year's Munster final. The previous year, the highly rated Clonoulty-Rossmore player had scored almost at will as the Premier County regained the Liam McCarthy trophy after a 16-year lapse. But, on the day 'Cash' served up the performance of a lifetime and with Mark Foley also in scintillating form at the other end, the door opened to a tremendous triumph. Every important game presents its quota of stars but Cork reaped a more generous dividend in this regard through the contributions of Cashman and Foley, who should occupy the same positions on Sunday.
An indication of his service to the game is the fact that he played three games the one day a couple of weeks before Cork played Waterford in the Munster semi-final. In the morning he lined out with Blackrock in the senior hurling game against Milford and then travelled to Kilshanning with St. Michael's footballers to play in the Kelleher Shield. And, following this match he travelled to Tulla, in County Clare, where Cork took on the home county in a challenge, Incidentally, St. Michael's scored a good win over Avondhu in the first round of the championship but they later went under to the reigning county champions, Duhallow.
Cork had many outstanding centre-backs down the years like Vincy Twomey, Willie John Daly, Jerry O'Sullivan. Pat Hegarty and Johnny Crowley, among others but Jim Cashman is well qualified to rank among the best of them. Of course, brother Tom was truly inspirational in the position after originally playing as a midfielder in 1977 when Cork won their second successive title at Wexford's expense. That was the day current selector Martin Coleman foiled the Slaneysiders of at least a replay when he saved a blistering drive from Christy Kehoe with the Reds holding on to a slender three points lead near the end. In the end they held out to win by 1-17 to 3-8.
The Cashmans' last game together for Cork was in the 1988 Munster final at the Gaelic Grounds, Limerick when the 'brothers' operated in the half-back line alongside Pat Hartnett. However, Tipperary fully availed of Cork's shortcomings that afternoon and regained the crown on a 2-19 to 1-13 scoreline. The irony of it is that Jim Cashman and Hartnett are back in the limelight again (the Midleton player emigrated for a couple of seasons) and will be depended on to orchestrate most of the scoring opportunities through to the inside forwards. A fully fit Hartnett may be a better wing-back than midfielder but he attacks the ball well and will prove a big thorn to the home side.
Taken from Hogan Stand
19th July 1991
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