Jack Lynch - Supreme In Sport & Politics
Born on 15th October 1917 under the famous and historic Bells of Shandon, on the northern outskirts of Cork city, Jack Lynch became a sporting and political Irish icon long before he bowed out of politics in May 1981.
He was revered by Cork G.A.A. fans all through his life and he stood shoulder to shoulder with the famed Christy Ring in the eyes of rebel G.A.A. followers. As a sportsman and politican Jack achieved supreme national statesmanship and was affectionately known as ‘The Real Taoiseach of Ireland’ by Cork people long after his retirement from public life.
His father, Dan Lynch, a tailor, moved from Bantry to Cork and met and married Nora O’Donoughue in 1908. Nora was also in the clothing trade as a seamstress and hailed from Glounthaune, Co. Cork. Jack was their fifth son and he had two sisters.
His schooling began at the local St. Vincent’s Convent and later North Monastery C.B.S. Seconday School. He also went to U.C.C. for two years studying law.Nora, his mother, died unexpectedly when her children were very young and the family then moved across the river Lee and located to the southside. They later decided to return to the northside again to facilitate schooling for the family.
As a young boy Jack grew up on tales of hurling magic around Cork and soon joined Glen Rovers, a club where his brothers also played. He also played football with sister club, St. Nicholas in all grades of hurling and football.
After two years at U.C.C. Jack moved to Dublin to a temporary position with the Dublin Milk Board and in 1936 he joined the Civil Service. He transferred back to Cork to work with the Cork Circuit Court staff as Acting Registrar and this propelled his legal profession. Jack later decided to go back to Dublin to work in the District Court Office and also study law at the King’s Inn.
He later moved to the Department Of Justice as a Private Secretary, whilst continuing his legal studies by night. In 1945 he was called to the Bar and worked full time as a solicitor.
In the 1948 General Election, the six times All Ireland Champion hurler and footballer, stood for Fianna Fail and achieved a resounding victory. In 1943 Jack met his future bride in Glengarriffe, Co. Cork and he married Maureen O’Connor, the daughter of a Dublin based judge in 1948.
In 1951 he became Parliamentary Secretary and in 1957 he was appointed as Minister for the Gaeltacht for just four months.
From 1957 to 1959 Jack was Minister for Education and Minister for Industry and Commerce from 1959 to 1965. He took up the portfolio of Finance from 1965 to 1966 and when Sean Lemass resigned that year as Taoiseach, it was the sporting Corkman who would replace him.
His term lasted from 1966 to 1979, when he resigned aged sixty two years. Jack Lynch finally left politics after the 1981 General Election when he stood down after thirty three years.
As a sporting icon Jack Lynch won All Ireland senior hurling medals with Cork in 1941/42/43/44/46 and a football medal in 1945 to achieve a historic six in - a row distinction.
He died on 20th October 1999, aged eighty two years and is buried at St. Finbarr’s Cemetery, Cork.