TG4 recently screened a documentary about different Championship Cups – down through the decades and it featured the daughters of a very famous GAA star of our Town – “Inky Flaherty “.
Deirdre Timlin Inky Flaherty’s daughter starred on ‘Scéalta na gCorn’. Deirdre currently living in Salthill and her sister Geraldine residing in Corfin met up with Hannah the producer in Galway where she outlined the plan for the show and how they would manage the reflection interviews. The interviews were facilitated by the Ballinasloe GAA and Gerry Seale at their Brackernagh pitch in January 2022. The show is still available on the TG4 player.
Michael John (Inky) Flaherty was born at number 17 Bohermore (now 143), Galway on September 27th, 1917. His parents, John Flaherty and Mary Kelly were both from Monivea and had returned a few months previously from England and purchased their home. He was the third child in what was eventually a family of five.
Liam Mellows Hurling Club was formed in 1933 and Inky was involved with the club from the outset. Two years later they reached and won the County Final and at 17 he won his first County Senior Medal. Sixteen years later he won his second captaining his adopted town of Ballinasloe. The athlete started playing hurling with the county in 1936 and played for 17 years until 1953.
He was psychiatric nurse at St. Brigid’s Hospital for 35 years. His wife, Kathleen (Gunnigan) was a great support to him while she was able but unfortunately, she got ill with cancer and passed away, on her 44th birthday in 1966. He stepped back from some of his GAA commitments for a few years then as there were six children to look after, ranging in age from three to 15.
Inky had a trophy named after him, the ‘Inky Flaherty Cup’ was presented by the Connacht Council in 1995, when the Connacht Senior Hurling Championship was reinstated, having been suspended since 1923. It was contested again for five years until it was discontinued, after the Connacht Final in 1999, because of the dominance of Galway. Since the competition was abandoned, the cup has gone missing.
As well as being a talented hurler, he enjoyed boxing and won a Connacht Title in 1939 and was runner-up in the National Junior Middleweight Championships in 1940. He was Connacht Champion again in 1947 and 48 at Light-Heavy Weight. His refereeing career began at 20 and he did a lot of refereeing over the years including 13 County Hurling Finals. His greatest achievement as a referee was refereeing the 1949 All Ireland between Laois and Tipperary. He played on the Galway team that was beaten by Laois in the Semi-Final and was then nominated by the GAA to referee the final.
He was a coach, a manager, an administrator, and Chairman of the East Board for many years and was a selector with the county when Galway won the All-Ireland in 1980. He was a county delegate to the Connacht Council in his later years.
Michael was manager of many teams during his career some include the Ballinasloe hurlers in 1951 when they won the County Senior Hurling Final, the Mullagh team who won the County Intermediate Final in 1982 and Turloughmore to win the County S. H. Final in 1985. He trained Galway in the fifties and was Galway Trainer/Manager from 1973 to 1978 winning the League Final in 1975 and reaching a couple of All-Ireland Finals during that time.
Michael John passed away on May 20th, 1992, aged 74.
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