We in Kilmallock GAA Club were deeply saddened when the news came through on Thursday 23rd January last that Mike Flaherty had passed away.
Mike was dearly loved by everyone that knew him. He was a great character and well known all over the county.
Mike Flaherty was a great hurler – anyone that ever saw him play raved about his skill and strength – and he wore the green and white of Kilmallock and Limerick with pride and distinction.
His first outing was with Kilmallock Under 14s in 1959. He played on the Juvenile of 1962 that won the club it’s first County Title in that grade. In 1964 he. lined out at full-forward on the Minor team that won the County Final.
Mike captained the Limerick minor team in 1965 when they won the Munster Final. They went on to play Dublin in the All-Ireland Final and although Limerick lost on the day it was a great honour for the club, and indeed for Mike’s family, to see him lead his county as they marched behind the Artane Boys’ Band. The honour of captaining your county on All-Ireland Final day doesn’t happen too often.
In 1967 Mike was corner-back on the Senior team that won the County Title and he played a key role in that success. It is agreed by all that this was the best game that he ever played. No player on the field had more to do than Mike Flaherty that day as South Liberties threatened to dominate and the ball was in the Kilmallock goal area for most of the game.
We must also remember that Mike was only twenty years old at the time.
Mike Flaherty was rewarded for his heroic performances and he wore the number four jersey for Limerick in the National League in both 1967 and 1968.
Everyone knew Mike Flaherty as Mikey-Joe. It was Billy Stapleton (who owned Howard’s Bar in the 1970s) that christened him Mikey-Joe and since then if the name Mikey-Joe was mentioned everyone knew that it was the one and only Mikey-Joe Flaherty.
Mike Flaherty played his last Senior game with Kilmallock in 1970. Those that were lucky enough to see him play tell of his great skill and strength. He was a ball player and an athlete. He had a rare natural talent and will always be remembered as “one of the greats”.
To Mike’s family – his brothers and sisters, his many nieces and nephews and his extended family and to his many, many friends Kilmallock GAA Club would like extend our deepest sympathies.