Mick learned his rugby at Rockwell College where he also played Hurling and Gaelic Football. By the time he arrived in Lansdowne in 1962 he had represented Munster, won 11 Irish caps with Limerick Bohemians and was a member of the Lions squad for the 1959 tour of Australia and New Zealand. Unfortunately he got injured in his second game in Australia and had to return home with his friend Niall Brophy, who was also injured. The pair opted to return on an Ocean Liner (first class) rather then by air, arriving home six weeks later, one day ahead of the returning airborne Lions squad. There is speculation that the bond formed between them had some bearing on the marriage many years later of Mick’s son John to Niall’s daughter Marie-Elena.
He made a huge contribution to the club both on and off the field and gained five further caps. He had great hands and a kick that was legendary resulting in the sobriquet “Mick the kick.” The “Garryowen” may have been invented by him and many opposing full back quaked in his boots whilst awaiting the descent of one of his specials in tandem with the arrival of the chasing herds.
Having given great service to the 1st XV he retired with a couple of other long service first players to the 3rd XV which coincided with the arrival of several promising ex school boys such as Mick Quinn and Jim O’Meara and so he had a season on the 3rd XV under their tutelage. He won 3 senior cup medals with Bohemians and one Leinster senior cup and an O’Connell cup medal with Lansdowne before retiring.
He was one of the games great characters as well as a great player and his international career was sandwiched between 2 other great number 10’s in Jack Kyle and Michael Gibson. There are many stories told about him including his alleged response as to why he missed a tackle on England’s out half Horrocks-Taylor. He said “Horrocks went one way and Taylor the other way and I was left with the hyphen.” He went onto serve as President of Lansdowne in 1989/90. He was presented with the Guinness Rugby Writers Award and was inducted into the IRFU “Hall of Fame.”
Date of Birth 01/02/1933
International Debut versus Wales
International Debut Date 15/03/1958
Last Test versus New Zealand
Last Test Date 12/07/1963
Test Drop Goals 3
Total Test Points 9