Jackie Greene

By Val Arthur


The mention of the name Greene revives many great memories for the Gaels of Tradaree, Clare, Munster and indeed Ireland. Jackie and Patrick Greene were household names in all hurling homes in Ireland during the fifties. Michael O’Hehir, in a radio commentary on the epic Munster Championship game in 1952, between Clare and the  mighty Christy Ring led Cork team, described the Greenes thus; “they might be green by name, but not by nature” as they scored 2 goals and 6 points of Clare’s total in a pulsating game at Thurles, when they both lined out in the full-forward line, and proceeded to delight the great crowd with a bewildering display of forward genius that has not been equalled by any Clare forwards since.


Jackie was the younger of these two outstandingly skilful hurling brothers. He first came to prominence with a great Newmarket Minor team in 1948, when he won a first Minor Championship for the Club. He also, at the tender age of 18 played on the successful Cup winning senior teams of ’48 and ’49. Getting on a senior team in the fifties at this age was a major and rare achievement, and it was an early indication of the great skill of this man which was fulfilled with a splendour and greatness that put him on par with the all-time greats of the game. The exceptional hurling talents of Jackie can best be judged from the fact that he played in goal, fullback, centre back, centre forward and full forward for his club at one time or another, a singular feat indeed, and he was equally successful and at home in any one of these positions, although he did most of his hurling at centre back, from where his great power and understanding of the game inspired the Blues to many outstanding victories.


Kevin Marren and Joe Casey described Jackie thus: “He had tremendous hurling ability, was very fast, had a great whip (similar to the pull of Mick Considine in later years), and could not be knocked off his feet. He was, in our opinion, the most outstanding player in the great championship victory over Eire Og in 1955. He had a dominant influence on a much needed victory that restored pride in the Gaels of Cora Chaitlin. On the club scene the winning of this championship was the highlight of Jackie Greene’s club hurling”.


Jackie was a great all-round athlete, excelling in Gaelic football and handball. Of course, he is remembered nationally for his great displays with Clare as a full and corner forward. He was a member of the great Clare teams of the fifties, and he never failed to produce a sparkling display of power, determination and skill. John Fitzgerald said to me that Jackie Greene knew no fear, and his immense strength allied to his skill, great personality and sportsmanship made him a treat to watch, especially when he was pitted against an opponent of greatness and fame.


Few will forget the displays of Clare in the now famous Oireachtas tournament of 1954, in which Clare defeated Tipperary by 2 points in the semi-final and Wexford in a replay after   two   games which    have   not been equalled for thrills, spills, skills and   enthralling displays of courage that are still spoken about sixty two years later, with a pride that reflects the uniqueness and greatness of these players. We are proud to inform the younger generation that Jackie Greene more than played his part in these tremendous games that are now folklore in the history of the GAA. As well as being an automatic member of the Clare team in the fifties, Jackie was also honoured by: the Munster selectors. To be picked for Munster is a great honour, but to be chosen in the fifties was unquestionably the next best thing to winning an All-Ireland medal.


The Railway Cup Competitions in those days attracted crowds of 40,000 spectators who went to see stars giving exhibitions at the highest possible level. The degree of Jackie’s success at this level was honoured with selection on the Rest-of-Ireland teams that played the combined Universities- a privilege few Claremen have been honoured with. One could say of Jackie, that he is one of the great hurlers that should have, but never did win an All-Ireland.


The interest and exceptional hurling skills of the Greenes was in many ways a natural development. Their father, the late Micko Greene, was a founder member of the ‘hurling’ club in 1904, and he was the longest serving Chairman in the Club’s history. The interest first nurtured by his father when Jackie was a boy has never waned as he has followed and supported the progress and achievements of this Club with pride. He has rallied to the cause of the Club in every way, and he has contributed both financially and personally.


I  will conclude ‘this short tribute to Jackie by reminding the younger players that like many great men, Jackie Greene gave outstanding service to our Club. He had great success on the field, but not the success he and many others deserved.  However, he never lost sight of the main objectives, to hurl with pride and passion for his Club, County and Country.


Jackie is resident in Dublin for many years, but his great ‘gra’ for Tradaree is symbolised and expressed very clearly as the name on his home is “Tradaree House”.

Yes, Jackie may have ‘gone’ to Dublin, but he has never ‘left’ Tradaree. He has always been a loyal member of our Club, and one of our greatest hurlers, sportsmen and ambassadors.

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