Jim O’Regan was born in Castle Park in Courcey's Parish in 1901, he died in October 1982 at the age of 82, having devoted a life time to the Gaelic Athletic Association, as a player, referee, selector, trainer and administrator; the seventh son in a family of 11 played his first hurling while attending Ringrowen National School.
When Jim left the Presentation School in Kinsale, he went on a Kings scholarship to De La Salle Training College in Waterford and played a lot of hurling there before qualifying as a national teacher.
During a brief spell back in his native Kinsale he joined their senior hurling team and was given his first game against Shanbally. Then he was offered a job as a teacher in Birr. It was while in Offaly that he was picked for the county team, which went on to, win the Lenister Junior Championship in 1924 with Jim playing at right-corner forward.
Jim later moved to Dublin and joined the Garda Siochana for 10 months. He was stationed in the Phoenix Park and during his spare time his hurling prowess brought him to the attention of the county selectors. He played with Dublin in 1925 winning the Lenister Championship. However Laois lodged an objection and Dublin lost the title, due to one of their players also a Garda going home and playing for the local team.
He made his hurling debut with Cork against Tipperary in the first ever National League in 1926. He won four All-Ireland medals with Cork in 1926,1928 and 1929. He missed getting his second successive medal in 1927 when Cork were beaten in the All-Ireland final.
Jim played at center-half-back during most of his national hurling career. He also played hurling and football in the Railway Cup competitions with Munster, thus becoming a dual inter-provincial in both games.
In February 2000 he was named at Center-Back on the Cork Hurling team of the Millennium.
In Cork, he won a County Intermediate hurling title medal with Kinsale in 1926 and ended his playing career on a high note by winning a South West Junior 2 football medal with Courcey's at the age of 51.
Almost 30 years after he brought his own playing career to a close, Jim as appointed trainer to the Cork senior hurling team of 1966 and played a major part in the memorable All-Ireland victory of that year. He also trained Courcey Rovers and St. Vincent’s, Cork.
A Founder member of Courcey’s he served as chairman and trainer from 1947 to 1955.
As a national school teacher, Jim career was a varied one. He taught at Kinsale, Bullyragger, Sundays Well, Ballinadee and Ballinspittle before settling in Cork City with his family where he continued his teaching career in Togher, Glasheen and finally, the Curraheen Road school before his retirement.
Jim was also a highly respected referee and was the man in the middle of All-Ireland, Munster and many county finals. He captained the Irish Tailteann team in 1932.
As an administrator the Courcey's man was chairman of the South West Boards. Up to his death, Jim maintained his deep interest in all GAA affairs and was President of the Cork County Board.
Shortly after his death a committee was formed by Courcey Rovers Hurling and Football Club – the club which he helped form back in 1946 – to explore the worthy objective of having this great GAA man suitable remembered.
It was decided to erect a natural stone Memorial Entrance to the GAA grounds at Ballinspittle and to purchase and develop a juvenile pitch, adjacent to the existing pitch, with their entire GAA complex to be known as the "Jim O’Regan Memorial Park – Pairc Ui Riogain". Pairc Ui Riogain was opened on May 22nd 1988.
Paper Clip from "The Cork Examiner"
a glittering career this famed son of Kinsale established himself as one
of the greatest of all center backs and became a legend in the game he
passionately loved up to his unexpected death.
On the playing fields Jim was a fearless competitor and became renowned for his legitimate use of the shoulder. He won four All-Ireland medals with Cork, in 1926, 1928 and 1929 but the Celtic Cross he cherished the most was his victory symbol of 1931.
In these three clashes O’Regan was a Trojan figure, a great among greats and his stirring deeds are indelibly enshrined in the memories of those privileged to have seen his at the peak of his powers.
And it is a little known fact that in one of those games between Cork and Killkenny, Jim broke a finger and played right through the scintillating hour without having the injury seen to.
But then Jim O’Regan was an apparently indestructible player with a great eye, marvelous sense of position, lightning fast and a fabulous ground hurler off his left and right.
He won every honor in the game and was also a fine footballer. He represented Munster in both hurling and football and was one of the first really outstanding dual performers." Michael Ellard – Cork Examiner
County Teams Jim was involved with::
1926 Cork v Killkenny:: John Coughlan, Maurice Murphy, Sean Og Murphy (Capt.), Edward O'Connell, Dinny Barry Murphy, Mick Murphy, Jim O'Regan, Jim Hurley, Bill Higgins, Eudie Coughlan, Paddy Delea, Joe Kearney, Matt Murphy, Mick Ahern, Paddy Aherne. Subs:: Jimmy Kennedy, Bertie Mullins, Mick Scannell, Jack Egan, Mick O'Connell, Eugene O'Connell, David Aherne.
1927 Cork v Dublin:: Miah Burke, Maurice Murphy, Sean Og Murphy (Capt.), Edward O'Connell, Dinny Barry Murphy, Mick Murphy, Jim O'Regan, Jim Hurley, Bill Higgins, Eudie Coughlan, Paddy Aherne, Peter Daly, Paddy Delea, Mick Leahy, Mick Aherne. Subs:: Jimmy Kennedy, Dick Walsh, T. Teehan, Dan O'Keeffe, Willie Donnelly, C. O'Halloran, Matt Murphy.
1928 Cork v Galway:: Miah Burke, Morgan Madden, Sean Og Murphy (Capt.), Edward O'Connell, Dinny Barry Murphy, Jim O'Regan, Tom Barry, Jim Hurley, Mick O'Connell, Eudie Coughlan, Paddy Aherne, Peter O'Grady, Paddy Delea, Mick Leahy, Mick Aherne. Subs:: Willie Donnelly, Jack Egan, Joe Kearney, David Aherne, Dick Walsh, Ned McCarthy, Tom McGuinness.
If you can put the names in the correct order, please let us know.
1929 Cork v Galway:: Miah Burke, Morgan Madden, Edward O'Connell, Paddy Collins, Dinny Barry Murphy (Capt.), Jim O'Regan, Tom Barry, Jim Hurley, Mick O'Connell, Eudie Coughlan, Paddy Aherne, Peter O'Grady, Paddy Delea, Mick Aherne, Johnny Kenneally. Subs:: Donal McCarthy, Willie Donnelly, Willie Clancy, Billy Stanton, John O'Sullivan.
1931 Cork v Killkenny:: John Coughlan, Morgan Madden, Edward O'Connell, Paddy Collins, Dinny Barry Murphy, Jim O'Regan, Tom Barry, Jim Hurley, Mick O'Connell, Eudie Coughlan (Capt.), Mick Aherne, Peter O'Grady, Paddy Delea, Willie Clancy, Paddy Aherne. Subs:: George Garrett, Mick Leahy, Billy Stanton, Johnny Kenneally, Joe O'Donovan, John O'Sullivan, Sean O'Sullivan....(This final went to 2 Replays...Cork fielded the same team in all three games)
....Below is the Last Courcey's Team that Jim O Regan Trained....
Back Row L to R: Jim O'Regan, Jeremiah Keohane, Seanie Hales, Niall Coakley, Michael Fitz', Anto Regan, Mick Nolan, Davy Sullivan, Sonny Collins.
Middle Row L to R: Denny Collins, Tommy Cahalane, Connie O'Regan, Denis Paul Griffin, Chris Corcoran, Bobby Scott.
Front Row L to R: Tadgie Fitz', Liam Kehoe, Gerald O'Donovan.