CLARE County Board chairman Michael McDonagh has led the tributes to one of Clare’s greatest ever hurlers, Ruan legend Jimmy Smyth who has passed away after a long illness.
The man who has been described as “the greatest hurler never to win an All-Ireland” had an outstanding club, colleges, inter-county and provincial career during which he became one of the greats of the game.
“Jimmy Smyth is synonymous with Clare and with hurling and was a true legend of the game who would stand tall in any generation,” said Michael McDonagh in paying tribute.
“He played the game at the highest level from the 1940s to the late 1960s, playing with and against some of the greatest who played the game like Christy Ring, the Rackards, John Doyle. He was on a par with them and they recognised him as a great, great player.
“That says it all about Jimmy really and he will be sorely missed in Clare, because apart from all his hurling, he was a great, great Clareman and a past-president of Clare GAA,” added McDonagh.
Smyth played 146 times for Clare between 1948 and 1967, with his tour de force in the a Munster championship clash against Limerick in 1953 being the stuff of legend when he scored 6-4 over the course of 60 minutes.
His only inter-county success came with Clare’s famous Oireachtas win over Wexford in 1954, but he won eight Railway Cups with Munster, three Dr Harty Cup and All-Irelands with St Flannan’s College, five senior hurling championships with Ruan and an All Star in 1963 (Cú Chulainn Awards).
In 1984 he was named on the Team of the Century made up of players who had never won an All-Ireland medal.