Fergus Aherne 1988-1992 (16 Caps)

His caps were earned in an age where it was expected that your 9 played the 80 minutes, only one of his caps were as a replacement.

Fergus (Gus)  admits himself he grew up around Dolphin, with his father Gerald being so involved and his mother Mida was on the celebrated Ladies Committee that made an away fixture with Dolphin very popular.

Fergus played underage with Dolphin but followed his two brothers into CBC. In 1978 he won a Munster Junior Schools medal, following it up two years later with a Senior Medal and an Irish Schools Trial.

It was off to UCC to study Engineering, where he made 6 appearances for Irish Universities. He captained UCC to the Munster Senior League in 1984-85, the picture below is of the 3 Crotty + 3 Aherne brothers after the UCC v Dolphin fixture.

He moved on to Dolphin, but chances of representative honours were hampered by injury, and he ended up being selected on the Irish Bench, before he played for Munster. He had come to the Irish Selectors attention and Jim Kiernan & Mick Doyle watched him excelling for Dolphin. The Munster & Irish scrum half Mick Bradley was forced to withdraw, and Fergus was starting in the Millennium International v England.

Work brought him to Dublin and Lansdowne the following season and he ended up captaining the club in 1992-93 & 1994-95. He also won two Leinster Senior Cup medals in 1989 + 1991.

He also represented the Barbarians v Leicester.


Dave Barry

Dave Barry won two Munster Senior Cup medals and a Munster Junior Cup medal over a 5 year  period 1926-1931,  yet he is better known for his administrative duties off the field.

Dave, a hooker, won a Munster Senior Cup medal in 1926 with Bohemians, defeating Dolphin 5-0 in the final at the Mardyke. The following year he moved to Waterford and won a Munster Junior Cup medal with Waterford City.

Then came the long and happy association of Dave and his family with Dolphin. In 1931 he won his 2nd Senior Cup medal in 1931 with Dolphin. He was working in Lipton’s Stores in Patrick St at the time and was under pressure workwise. He left work on his bike at 3.35pm, made the Mardyke in time for a 4pm kick off and straight back to work afterward he picked up his medal.

He was an Irish Selector 1957-58, 1958 -59, 1959-60 and became the first Munster man to become a  B&I Lions Selector in 1959. The Lions Tour was to Australia & New Zealand, the Tony O’Reilly tour, scoring 22 tries in 24 games. But the selectors didn’t get to travel.

He served two stints as Dolphin President, 1962-63 & 1969-70.

One of Dave’s claims to fame was he would watch on average 200 games a season, hardly any game involving a Dolphin side would take place without him being there.

In 1983, to celebrate his 80th birthday the club not only made a special presentation to him but also a “This is your life “ tribute.

Dave passed away in September 1985, his family put up a trophy to be played between Dolphin & Bohemians which has first played for in December 1985, Dolphin winning in the inaugural season by 32-12.


Junior (Dave) Barry

With this name you would have thought that he was a son of the great Dave Barry, but he was not. He was from Tramore Co Waterford where his parents owned the Atlantic Dance Hall, which was built in the 1920’s by his grandmother Emily Piper.

He played with many clubs during his career, playing with Cork Constitution before joining Dolphin.

He was on the famous 1955/56 side that won the treble – Munster Senior Cup, Munster Senior League and Cork Charity Cup, winning Charity Cup medals in 1956-57 & 1957-58 as well.

He was Dolphin’s 50th Munster interprovincial, during the 1956-57 season played v Leinster + Ulster. He togged out for the Rest of Ireland v Combined Universities at Musgrave Park that season in a 11-9 victory. He was an unused substitute that season for Ireland and also played for the Wolfhounds.

In September 1958 he transferred Galwegians but returned during the season to Tramore and took up with Dolphin once again. In January 1960 he moved to Dublin and played with Clontarf.

In October 1960 he moved the Loire region of France. He signed for Roanne Rugby League side. They were one of the 10 clubs that switched from Rugby Union to Rugby League in 1934.

He received a £1,000 signing on fee with a salary of £10 per week and a win bonus of up to £50 per game. In addition to this he had a job in a factory owned by the millionaire owner of the club which paid £800 per annum.

The club were runners up in the National Division 1 in 1961.

Michael James Bradley  16.10.1897 – 14.07.1951   19 Caps

1919-20 was Dolphin’s 2nd season at Senior level. They captured their first trophy at this level, in what was then the Munster Charity Cup. In the front row was Michael J Bradley, that season he made his Munster debut and played against both Leinster & Ulster. He played 15 of the 16 interpro’s over the next eight seasons. He was credited with two tries, three penalties and a conversion.

The Clubs First International was Michael J Bradley. He won the first of his 19 caps against Wales on 13/3/1920 at hooker. When fellow Corkman Billy Dorgan, a centre, got injured early in the opening half, Bradley was moved to centre until half time. He went on to win a total of 19 caps, 13 at prop and six at hooker. Ireland Player Number 403.

Ireland were joint Championship winners in 1926 & 1927.

Michael J (Mick) or Brad as he was known   would be seen tossing big milk churns about as he worked in the family dairy on the North Main Street, he would be seen on duty early on Sunday mornings after featuring in Lansdowne Rd the previous afternoon

Lions  Player Number 223

He toured South Africa in 1924 with the Lions featuring in 13/17 non test games scoring one try but did not play in the tests. They were long affairs back in 1924 (first tour since 1910 due to the Great War). They played 21 games including 4 internationals over 10 weeks. The squads were smaller, they brought 31 players including 15 forwards, while the 2017 Side had 41 players including 22 forwards for 10 games. Such was the attrition of South African rugby, played in searing heat and on such hard surfaces, that it became necessary that the players be sprayed with iodine after each game.

Several of the matches were characterised by violent windstorms that made kicking next to impossible. Most unusual given his position in the front row, Mick Bradley was also one of the place-kickers and regularly took penalty kicks. In the last match against the Western Province, Bradley went to place the ball, but the soil was so hard he had difficulty in loosening enough soil with his heel to prop up the ball. Consequently, the ball fell over twice and the referee rather unsporting penalised him. In any case, the touring side won, and it was on this tour that the team acquired their nickname ‘Lions’ from the emblem on their ties.

Mick Bradley was built like a tank and his extraordinary strength was attributed to his work as a young man in his father’s dairy where he lifted full churns of milk on to the back of drays and carts. It is said that he would regularly lift two full 12-gallon milk churns, one in each hand, weighing at c. 60 kg each (c. 9 and a half stone). Such developed strength made him not only formidable in the front row but his prowess in the water was equally exceptional. He played water polo for Munster and represented Ireland on four occasions.

As a swimmer he was truly outstanding. When only 26 years of age, he was the winner of the ‘One Mile Munster Championship’ held on 10th July 1920, when he swam the distance in an incredible time of 19 mins 7 seconds. While this is an unofficial time, it is clear that Bradley was of Olympic standard as the official world record times for the one-mile swim between 1912 and the 1920s are registered as between 21and 22 minutes.

It was his grandfather, Daniel Bradley from Carrigrohane, who opened up the very first dairy in Cork City, at No 82. North Main Street in 1850. Up to that point, farmers had brought their churns of fresh milk in to one of the various milk markets around the city and customers came and filled their cans daily. Daniel Bradley, a progressive farmer, farmed at Hill Farm in Carrigrohane – now the home of the Irish Guide Dogs Association– established his dairy with an emphasis on quality and distribution. The concept of a dedicated dairy shop selling fresh milk was truly innovative

By the 1920s, with his brother Frank, they pioneered not only the novel process of bottling milk into sterilised glass bottles but were also the very first to pasteurise their milk. The glass bottles allowed the customers to inspect the milk for its clarity and to judge the all-important neck of cream floating on top. Unlike the metal cans, with potentially watered down or unclean milk, the glass bottles, sealed with distinctive crimped cardboard bottle tops, were an immediate success. Their new dairy – or ‘factory’ as they called it – with its bottling, pasteurisation and chilling was the forerunner of the Irish creamery

In America, General Motors had bought the patent for the newly invented electric refrigerators, ‘The Frigidaire’ and by 1929 they had sold over 1 million worldwide.

Sensing an opportunity and with some vision, Frank Bradley set off for Italy, visited the experienced Italian gelato-makers and returned to Cork with a secret recipe for ice-cream. Bradley’s became the foremost ice-cream producers in the south of Ireland and spear-headed the production and availability of the new iced confection. A ‘Bricklet’ of Bradley’s ice-cream sold for 6d in 1940 and was available in a variety of flavours including strawberry, vanilla, lemon and lime.

Bradley’s encouraging a host of outlets to purchase the electric frigidaires. In addition to a whole host of small shops from Youghal and Midelton to Blarney, Kinsale and Bandon, Bradley’s supplied the Savoy and Pavilion cinemas.

The Dolphin Munster Senior league winning team of 1925-26 had an all international front row, Bradley, Hanrahan Mahony.

He played in the four internationals in 1925-26 when Ireland were denied a Grand Slam by the post. They were 11-8 down v Wales in the final minute when a drop goal attempt (then 4 points) struck the posts.

In his final season he played v France on New Years Day at Stade Colombes, Ireland were playing well and 8-3 ahead and the crowd were extremely vocal. The referee sensed there maybe trouble ahead so he told the Irish the next time they got near the pavilion he would blow full time, then “they should run for it”, which they did. They were prisoners inside for nearly an hour, bricks, slates etc were being thrown before the referee was smuggled out in the back of a Renault. Ireland shared the championship that season. He was injured in this game and replaced by another Dolphin man, Charles J Hanrahan.

John Players issued rugby player cards, the top 50 players, part of the 1927 collection was Michael J Bradley and from the 1928 collection, Charles J Hanrahan, another Dolphin international.


George Carpenter

The death occurred in 2005 of former Dolphin forward George Carpenter, who was at his death Ireland’s oldest Olympian, at the age of 96.

One day George was coming from playing a match with Cork City and was passing Dolphin’s grounds in Ballintemple when his friend Bill Treacy invited him in to play. He bought a book on rugby in Elvery’s, and the following Sunday played his first match for the Dolphin Minor team. The following season he was a sub for the Dolphin side, which beat Garryowen to win the Munster Senior Cup.

In February 1930 Dolphin played Kanturk- it was the clash of the Olympians. On the Dolphin side was George Carpenter and on the Kanturk side was three O’Callaghan brothers. This included Dr Pat O’Callaghan who won gold in the hammer in 1928 +32 thrower and his brother Con who also took part in the 1928 games, in 1936 it is recorded the Con played alongside George Carpenter in the Dolphin 2nd Row.

He played his final game on 8th January 1938 against Cork Constitution, he was feeling ill before the game, then was knocked out twice and when he started playing the wrong direction he was asked to go off. He was rushed to hospital that evening with Quincy and later had further complications and spent nearly 4 weeks in hospital.

He lost 3 stone in weight and decided to give up rugby. Besides Rugby & Soccer he also was a noted Rower and Badminton player, but he decided with his wife Joan who he was married to for 65 years to take up fencing.

His name was put forward as one of four candidates for the Helsinki Olympics in 1952 by the Irish Amateur Fencing Federation to the Irish Olympic Council & the International Olympic Committee. The International Olympic Committee accepted them, but the Irish Olympic Committee rejected Carpenter and two others but was forced by the International Olympic Committee to send them.

When they arrived in Helsinki, they were refused entry to the Irish Camp in the Olympic Village and were told they would be arrested if they tried to take part in the opening parade. They sought the assistance of the British Team to find some where to stay- not surprisingly George did not go further than the first round.

No team was entered for the 1956 Olympics due to a lack of funds, but there was for the 1960 games in Rome. Once again there was controversy about George Carpenter’s selection. He was not on the original selection, but Olympic Chairman Lord Killanin asked why Carpenter was not included- he was told it was because too old- Lord Killanin reminded the Irish Fencing Association that George Carpenter had not been beaten in three years, the Irish Epee champion and he was included in the side and was the oldest competitor in the Games.

Jack Clarke – International debut 30 years ago, and still playing

Jack Clarke  made his International debut on 16-02-1991 v Wales, making it more memorable by scoring a try. Jack who also represented Ireland at the Javelin, played with the Irish Schools side when in Rockwell College before he joined Dolphin. While he was an U20 with an eye on Senior, he was still underage for U18 which was very unique that a former schools international could and did line out for Dolphin in the U18 Cup.

He captained Munster U/20’s and toured with Ireland to Italy 1989 (U21′s),Namibia in 1991 and New Zealand 1992. Jack was capped at every level available to him at the time, Schools, U/21, U/23, B, and Senior.

1991 was a Rugby World Cup year, a good year to peak, Jack starting on the wing in the Q/F against Australia.

In the closing minutes Ireland were behind, the ball was spread across the backline, full back Jim Staples hit the line and managed to kick ahead as he was tackled. Clarke & Campese followed the ball. David Campese was just the 2nd player internationally to reach 100 caps and a world record 64  test tries and Player of the 1991 RWC Tournament.

The Australian appeared to lean across and lost his footing, Jack had a perfect pick up but the cover caught him by the legs, he stayed  upright and spotted Gordon Hamilton storming towards him. He held and past it to Hamilton, who ran half the pitch to score a try. Heartbreak was to follow almost immediately, another try for Australia and Ireland were out after a narrow 19-18 defeat.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqXXsOu5dfk  the Hamilton Try.

Jack was selected for the following summers tour of New Zealand where he  earned his sixth and final cap. His last representative outing of note came the following autumn, in Munster’s phenomenal Musgrave Park victory over the Wallabies.

Jack moved on from Cork, finally settling in Oughterard where he has two rugby playing children, Ben & Hannah.Jack continues to love the game and had been coaching Oughterard RFC who play J2 for many years and has continued to play. He was playing competitively until the lockdown, lining out beside Ben (pictured above) Not bad for a guy of 52. Yes fifty-two.

He continues to watch Dolphin results with great interest and has attended Munster games in Musgrave Park, joining some of his old friends for a pint. (2021)

Paddy Clery

Paddy was Club President on two occasions, in 2001-02 and 2009-10 when one of the highlights was the Grand Slam Dinner, attended by Bertie O’Hanlon & Jack Kyle of the 1948 side and Tomás O’Leary of the 2009 side and the Irish Coach Declan Kidney.

Paddy, a proud Limerick man, Bruff being his nearest club, joined Dolphin in his twenties and was on the Minor A team who won the Dennehy Cup in 1977. He was player at all levels, coach, selector and Club Trustee for a number of years. He also held the position of fixtures Secretary for many years and represented Dolphin on the Munster Branch where he was well liked and respected.

His brother John also played with Dolphin as did his nephew, also John.

A great tourist, he was always the first to sign up and went on the North American tour in 1982. In true Dolphin spirit he continued the touring for every AIL game and was the first to book his seat on the bus.


The shortest Dolphin career of  an Irish International

Mick Doyle   1941-2004

Mick Doyle played for Ireland in a 9-6 victory over Wales on Sat 12th March 1965, the following Wednesday’s Cork Examiner, had the following report.

“Dolphin dropped a bombshell in Cork yesterday when they included international wing forward Mick Doyle of Cambridge University in their selected fifteen for next Sundays’ Munster Senior Cup second round tie with Highfield.

 *Castleisland born  Doyle was injured during last Saturday’s international v Wales but Dolphin hope that he will be fully recovered by the weekend and that he will turn out for them. It would be his first match in the Dolphin colours, although the Kerryman has previously played Leinster Cup rugby with UCD and Munster Senior Cup with Garryowen, In addition to this he once played at centre for Munster v Connacht in Galway.”

The Dolphin team is as follows.

  1. Berkley, D. O’Shaughnessy, J. Byrne, W. Brady, F. Harrington, G. Barry, N. Kavanagh, W. Barry, D.O’Neill, P. O’Callaghan, M.O’Leary, J. O’Sullivan, R. Lucey, J.Walsh, M. Doyle.

If Doyle is unable to play M. O’Leary will revert to the backrow with J. Rolfe playing second row.

* which would be disputed by the people of Currow

 Dolphin 3  Highfield 3

Highfield led by 3-0 from a penalty goal until Derry O’Shaughnessy scored a try which at the time was worth just 3 points to level the game.


Highfield 6  Dolphin 0- Mick Doyle’s 2nd (and final) game for Dolphin ended in defeat, Highfield went on to lift the Munster Senior Cup that season.

Career Highlights

His rugby career started at Newbridge College, he played outhalf at school and when with Garryowen, outhalf and centre before switching to backrow. Was selected in the centre for Munster v Connacht in 1961.

He went to UCD to study veterinary science.

1965 was a busy year for Doyle. He made his Ireland debut against France on 23 January 1965, scoring a try in the game. Ireland had a 5th international with South Africa being the opponents on 10th April. Further representative honours were obtained on 07.12.1965 while studying at Cambridge University he gained a Blue in the 1965 Varsity match against the Oxford University. (5-5 draw)

He went on to earn the distinction of never being dropped during his 20 cap international career. Doyler, as he was affectionately known, made 11 appearances on the British & Irish Lions tour in 1968 including 1 test and scored two tries. He also captained the Wolfhounds.

His last game for Ireland was against Australia in October 1968, the previous three internationals were with his brother Tommy as the other wing forward.

He coached Leinster to Interprovincial Championship success five times between 1979 and 1983 before coming Ireland coach during the 1984–85 season. Under Doyle’s stewardship, Ireland, in 1985 won the Triple Crown and Five Nations Championship.

He was the British & Irish Lions coach for the 1986 South African Tour. He led Ireland to the inaugural 1987 Rugby World Cup,but suffered a heart attack at the opening dinner.

After retiring from coaching, Doyle became a TV panelist with RTÉ television, starting with the 1991 World Cup. He was tragically killed in a car crash in Dungannon in 2004.

  Dolphin’s 13th International

After his death, the clubs he played for were listed as Blackrock College, UCD, Cambridge University, Edinburgh Wanderers, Cork Constitution and Garryowen. Now as seen above he also played for Dolphin. He was never list as a Dolphin International, just an International who played for Dolphin during his career.

Reviewing it now, it appears that he should be classed as a Dolphin International. He played for Dolphin on 20th March 1965 with the replay the following week and two weeks later he played against South Africa. He should be recognised as Dolphin’s 13th International. He was like his father a member of Dolphin for years, his Uncle, Bill Dennehy from Castleisland was a centre for Dolphin in MSC win in 1931.

Capt Mick Dowling

Dolphin’s best known referee took charge of 18 Internationals between 1947 & 1956. Only four referees had taken charge of more internationals by the 1980’s. He was Ireland’s first International referee after the 2nd World War, a regular at Murrayfield, taking charge of eight internationals there.

He won a Munster Junior Cup medal with Highfield before he moved to Dolphin to play Senior. Seventy years ago, between January & April 1951 he took charge of four 5 Nations internationals. In 1952 the visiting Springboks said he was the best referee they played under in their tour. He had been on duty for South Africa’s fixtures v Scotland, France, Ulster and the Barbarians.

He also was the referee for quite a number of the Services Fixtures, British Army v Navy and Air Force and took charge of five Munster Senior Cup finals between 1942 & 1954. Now you are used to seeing International referees also doing just Pro 14, Top 14 or English Premiership games, back then Capt Dowling followed up an International with doing a Minor Cup semi final the following week