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Tipperary Hurler Jimmy ‘Butler’ Coffey Dies Aged 101

Jimmy 'Butler' Coffey. (26th Oct 1909 – 29th Dec 2010)

The death occurred, on December 29th last, of the former Tipperary hurler Jimmy ‘Butler’ Coffey, at the grand old age of 101.

Mr Coffey was born in Chapel Lane, Newport, County Tipperary in 1909.  He played hurling with his local Newport club and was a member of the Tipperary senior inter-county team from 1931 until 1940. Mr Coffey held the distinction of being one of the oldest living senior All-Ireland medal winners and had turned 101 in October 2010.

The Newport native won an All-Ireland medal at wing-forward in 1937 against Kilkenny, marking the legendary Paddy Phelan in a game played in Killarney, due to on-going work at Croke Park. The press report on the All Ireland final against Kilkenny at Killarney stated: “The half forward line composed of Doyle, Treacy and Coffey was outstanding.  The Newport man, assuredly one of the best forwards to don the county colours for several years, was the best of the three.  Opposed by Paddy Phelan, who had made the entire Tipperary forward line look like novices in an earlier league game in Carrick-on-Suir, Coffey careered around, a bundle of energy.  As a resolute and determined hurler, possessed of great stamina and dash, he kept ‘hell for leather’ after his rival for fifty yards.  Most hurlers would have given up – but not Coffey.  He not alone overtook his opponent but dispossessed him and sent the ball flying goalwards with a great delivery.”

The Coffey brothers Jimmy Jack and Mick recorded a unique achievement in 1935 when all three of them shared the substitutes bench for the senior championship game against Limerick here in Thurles.

He also collected a Railway Cup medal in 1938 on a star studded Munster team which included former Jack Lynch.

For his club, Mr Coffey won North Tipperary senior championship medals in 1932 and 1935.

Following his retirement from inter-county hurling, he played club hurling in Limerick, winning county senior hurling medals in 1947 and 1948 with Ahane.

He trained the Cappamore team that brought county titles to the parish in both junior and senior grades. He was also a selector with Mick Mackey on the Limerick team that won the Munster title in 1955.

Mr Coffey was buried, following Requiem Mass at Cappamore Church, on Saturday last at 11.30am in Ballinure Cemetery.

Ar Dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.

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