Ireland and Dolphin flanker Jim McCarthy passes away aged 91

Cork native won 28 caps and was a member of the 1948 Grand Slam-winning side

Jim McCarthy, Munster’s first Ireland captain, has passed away aged 91.

The great Dolphin flanker won 28 international caps starting in 1948 when he crossed for a try in the 13-6 defeat of France in Colombes.

Ireland went on to capture the Grand Slam that season with McCarthy an ever present, otherwise known as one of Jack Kyle’s “outriders” such was the protection the backrow, which included Des O’Brien and Billy McKay, afforded the legendary flyhalf.

"They couldn't touch him," McCarthy told James Corrigan of the London Independent in 2009 just before Brian O'Driscoll's team ended a 61-year wait for the second Slam.


“He’d play games and he wouldn’t need to have his shorts laundered afterwards. Jack was just the best,” he added of the only member of Karl Mullen’s team still wearing a green jersey when McCarthy won his last cap against England, a 6-6 all draw in 1955.

Kyle died in November 2014, Mullen in April 2009.

Along with helping CBC Cork to a Munster schools cup in 1944 and touring New Zealand and Australia with the Lions in 1950, McCarthy won three Five Nations championship titles and two Triple Crowns.

Also, his eight tries was an Irish record for a forward.

“A native of Balintemple in Cork, he later moved to Dublin to pursue a successful business career,” read a Dolphin RFC statement. “In 2012 we were delighted to honour two former international greats Jim McCarthy and Sir Anthony O’Reilly who both played with Dolphin and Old Belvedere with a trophy for both sides to play for annually.”

McCarthy actually went into business with O’Reilly and finished his playing career with Old Belvedere.

The Dolphin statement added: “We salute one of our finest sons and express our sympathies to the McCarthy family on their loss.”

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey is The Irish Times' Soccer Correspondent