Obituary: Jerry Walsh

Jeremiah Charles Walsh, rugby footballer, born Cork 3 November 1938, Ireland international (26 caps) 1960-67, British Isles tour 1966, died Innishannon Cork 28 September 1992.

IRISH rugby heroes tend to be writ large and Jerry Walsh was one such, generally regarded as Ireland's greatest centre-threequarter even though he cut short his international career when, at 28, he was still in his prime.

Centres may, as a general rule, be divided into two categories: the jinking will o' the wisp that most obviously reflects the sprightliness of the Irish temperament, and the big, bustling stopper. Walsh was among the latter, possibly the finest defensive centre in the world in the mid-Sixties and for a couple of magical years forming a perfectly complementary partnership with Kevin Flynn.

Flynn the Dubliner was a rapier, Walsh the Corkman a bludgeon, and they played together for Ireland on 10 occasions. Flynn's international career spanned 15 years and Walsh's might have done, too, had he wished it.

Walsh was Cork-born and there he stayed for much of his life, attending Presentation Brothers' College, an eminent rugby academy which has produced many a fine player. He studied medicine at the city's university college and went on to play for the notable Cork club Sunday's Well.

He won his first cap against Scotland in 1960 and, although he took a while to become an automatic selection, his biting tackling and powerful running became characteristics of Ireland's rugby in an era when success was familiarly hard to achieve. Their best record in the Five Nations' Championship during the Walsh years was only 50-50.

Walsh's grandest achievements came towards the end of his international days. He was selected for the 1966 British Isles tour to Australia and New Zealand but had to return home early after a family bereavement. He was in the Munster provincial side who beat Australia later in the year and in 1967 played a notable part in Ireland's historic defeat of Australia in Sydney. This was the first time any of the home countries had won an international match in the southern hemisphere, an accomplishment put into still more flattering perspective by the subsequent travails down under of England, Scotland, Wales and inevitably Ireland.

That Walsh's prowess was mainly defensive was shown by his scoring record: it was not until his 26th appearance that he managed a try for Ireland. But the occasion, that famous victory at Sydney Cricket Ground, could scarcely have been bettered. With that he retired, in order better to pursue his career as a doctor.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Recruitment Genius: Project Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This privately-owned company designs and manuf...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions