Joe Corcoran RIP

Image: Ardnaree Sarsfields website

Like the rest of you, I was saddened to learn earlier on today of the death of Joe Corcoran, who has passed away at the age of 77.

An Ardnaree Sarsfields clubman, Joe represented his county from 1958 until 1974. He made his inter-county debut in a League fixture against Sligo in November 1958 – scoring five points – and he then made his first championship appearance, against the same opposition, the following June.

Joe went on to play for Mayo a total of 94 times in League and championship, with his final appearance coming in March 1974 in a League match at MacHale Park against Tyrone. He scored that day too.

Scoring was Joe Corcoran’s stock in trade. Over the course of his long inter-county career – during which he won two Connacht championship medals, a National League medal and a Railway Cup medal – he racked up a total of 20 goals and 358 points in those 94 competitive outings. That record stood for decades and it wasn’t bettered until 2012 when Conor Mortimer’s haul finally surpassed it.

But the man they called Jinkin’ Joe wasn’t just about scoring. A naturally gifted forward, accurate off both feet, he was a man that punters flocked to see in an era when glamour, though rarely seen, could flash brilliantly when it did. And it did when Joe was in his pomp.

I only have a fuzzy recollection of him myself, a problem, in truth, that afflicts much of my store of childhood memories. But I do recall his name being spoken with awe and how, when we all loaded up to head off to a big match, we knew full well that Joe Corcoran was one of the big names on the bill.

Sincere condolences to his family and friends on their sad loss. May this great servant of football within the county rest in peace.

37 thoughts on “Joe Corcoran RIP

  1. I was only a gasùr when jinking joe was in his prime. He was some operator. I remember hearing a story of him not taking a free against Meath in ’67. The free was missed and mayo lost by a point. Don’t know if it’s true or not??
    He was a superb golfer as well probably playing off scratch in his prime.
    Rip Joe and condolences to your family.

  2. So sad to hear of Joes passing. Be in no doubt, Joe Corcoran was a Mayo great. To me who saw him as a young lad, I’d place him as Mayos greatest forward ever. Very hard to compare today’s game with the past. Suffice to say Jack O Shea, Anton O Toole, Anthony Toohill would be comfortable with the modern game. Joe Corcoran would have no bother in this era too. Be in no doubt, he was a football immortal . A Dheis Dè ar a ainm dílis.

  3. Old enough to have seem him in his prime. He was a good one no doubt about that. His best seemed to come against Galway when they were at their peak which is saying something.

    Mayo at that time played a brand of pure football, when style was what mattered and Corcoran was the epitome of that stylish approach.. This of course was double edged because it led to a feeling that Mayo were softies, something Galway folk liked to remind us about in those days.

    Those days are gone though, long gone!

  4. Had the pleasure to meet Joe Corcoran in 2000.
    He was even then fit for junior football. A tough man and fit into late years.

  5. Wonderful footballer, remember him well against Galway in the sixties, would make any Mayo team ,may he rest in peace

  6. John Cuffe I re-read your piece for the blog in 2013. Excellent piece and of course your ref to Joe, a huge loss to everyone, it’s worth a read anyone who has not seen it or forgets it, rip jinking Joe

  7. The free was a 21 yard at an angle v Kerry AI semi final
    1969. Last minute. Joe wanted to take it but was hooshed away. We missed it, lost by a point and didn’t win another senior Connacht title until 1981.

  8. RIP – Can anyone one elobtate on the free v Kerry (don’t know the year) joe was about to take the free to level the game when a player ran up and took it to Joe’s surprise…Mayo lost by a point.

  9. There was no surprise. Joe was about to take it. Apparently the “plan” was Joe would take the frees from one side. Seamus O Dowd the other. The free was st the death. Joe stood over it but was told to leave it to Seamus. Unfortunately it was missed. The significance I suppose was that the next All Ireland semi we made was also v Kerry in 1981 and whilst the ‘69 team held them to a point, the ‘81 were blitzed.

  10. Very sad to hear this news today. Commiserations to his family, friends and club. Growing up in the 60’s Jinking Joe was the star of a Mayo team who could and should have achieved more. Those clashes with Galway in the mid to late 60’s have gone down in folklore I still remember my first Connacht Final in 1968. My two heroes of that team were John Morley and the one we all wanted to emulate Joe Corcoran. May he rest in peace.

  11. From a time when championship games always seemed to be played under a scorching sun and league games on real hard frosty days.

    Great player. RIP Joe.

  12. Rip joe. I was at the Connaught final of 1966 in castlebar. Official attendance was28000 but I know it was more because I and my buddies did not pay getting in. Match came down to the wire. I think joe missed a close in free to level. Galway went on to win their 3 in a row. Nobody blamed joe. Nor could they. Strangely enough Mick ruane was mayos top scorer that year. Great player was joe. May he Rest In Peace

  13. Deepest sympathy to Joe’s family and friends. He was a real star when stars shone all around the country for unfashionable teams – as Mayo were in the late fifties/early sixties.
    Football was so much different then, the heavy leather ball and boots and pitches not a patch on what they are today.
    As I recall Joe was not treated very well by Mayo Co Board, being left off the panel which travelled to the US on tour at a time when tours were a rarity. Sometime around ’62, as I recall and a controversial decision it was.

  14. .The greatest has gone to his eternal reward. Joe Corcoran RIP. To me he was the BEST Mayo forward I have ever seen. Saw him play from 1962 until he retired. We have nobody today in Mayo to lace his boots. I had the pleasure of chatting to him after All Ireland final in 2013. A Dheis de ar anim dilis.

  15. So sad to hear of Joe’s passing, one of the most gifted players of his generation who represented both his Club and County with distinction. A finer pair of thighs you could ever wish to see on any man – Joe was blessed with pace and skill in abundance and was a joy to watch on the football field, glad to say I was around to see him in action.
    Another one of Mayo’s finest gone all too soon. Rest in Peace Joe.

  16. I remember him in mchale park in the sixties playing against the 3 in a row galway team
    mayo were beaten very narrowly by the galway team each year and went on to win 3 in a row
    i will always remember joe,he was the outstanding player on the pitch
    jinking down the side line and his accuracy from dead balls
    he was also a master of the small ball in golf !
    may he rest in peace

  17. Some body once said after a game that was played in Wembley that joe Corcoran was to Gaelic football what George best was to soccer in those days there used to be a competition played in Wembley around late April early may had the pleasure of meeting joe in croke park a few years ago what a gentleman he was my idol when I was a gassoon

  18. May he rest in peace, one of the finest Mayo footballers ever to don the green and red. His son Also named Joe was a good footballer too good enough to play for Mayo but like so many others never got a fair crack of the whip.

  19. I met joe and the family in his house when I was 11 years old with my father and I remember thinking how welcome they made us giving us tea and sandwiches on the way home my father said to me if we were in the presence of a mayo legend

  20. Had the pleasure of seeing Joe Corcoran play for Mayo in late sixties/early seventies and what a joy it was to see ‘the master ‘ in action. Mayo had class players in that era, the likes of John Morley, Johnny Carey, PJ Loftus, Willie McGee, John Gibbons etc. How Mayo could benefit from that calibre of player in the current era?
    Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal

  21. sad news – my memories of Joe are limited to helping him find his golf ball when I was caddying for my auld boy and avoiding his wrath when we were bunking off mass & smoking in the old tech beside the cathedral in Ballina! I knew little of his on field exploits then. I do remember an old mentor telling me that Pearce Hanley was the closest thing he’d seen to Joe Cawley, when lamenting his departure to Oz, which was as a high praise as a man of his vintage could’ve given I guess. RIP Joe

  22. I had the privilege of playing with Joe in the sixties and to me he was the best Mayo forward that I have seen. He had speed and style and was unmarkable and of course he got plenty of abuse because nobody was at his skill level.
    At that time Ardnaree were a junior team so there were plenty of hatchet men trying to stop him by foul means, and it is just as well that there were no black cards then.
    Joe you will be missed, you were a gentleman and also a top golfer and your lovely wife Renee will be waiting for you along with John Forde P J Gilmrtin Henry Forde Paddy Myers Mickie Lynn Nolie McLoughlin Ivan McCaffrey who were all part of that era also F.Fleming and of course the man himself Sean Duffy
    It was a pleasure and a privilege to have played with you, and I offer my deepest sympathies to the Corcoran family and to the Ardnaree GAA club

  23. Very sad to hear this. I got to know him a bit in later years when working in the golf club in Ballina. A true gentleman, very modest about his achievements. An Ardnaree and Mayo great, RIP Joe.

  24. Mayo was so very dependent on Joe back in the 1960s – to quote John Maughan “At times it seemed only Joe Corcoran was playing for Mayo”. The pressure on him was huge but he always performed. There was uproar in Mayo in 1963 when he was omitted from a trip to America at a time when he was “playing my best football”.

    When Meath beat Mayo 3-14 to 1-14 in the semi-final in 1967 the bauld Red Collier did a very rough marking job on Joe – he still got 3 points from play for a total of 8 points. I am a huge huge fan of Ciaran McDonald – the skill, accuracy, unpredictability – well Joe had all of that but in addition he was lightning fast and deadly from both feet.
    In 1969, Joe scored all eleven of Mayo’s points in their 0-11 apiece draw with Kerry in the national football league semi-final. He added 1-2 in the replay, which Mayo won. Truly unforgettable and will never see his likes again.

    Ar dheis De go raibh a hanam dhilis.

  25. Joe along with Ciaran McDonald were the most naturally gifted footballers ever. Both never once resorted to thuggery like many on the teams they played against in Connaght and beyond. Miceal O’Hehir loved him and called him ‘Jinking Joe’. How the present Mayo team could do with him. May you R.I.P. Joe, you were the greatest!

  26. An interesting hour spent going through the results archive from 1958 until 1974 reveals Joe only failed to score in one game verses Roscommon in 1969 , boy they must have been on form that day , R.I.P joe.

  27. Mayo’s outstanding forward of the sixties.My memory is of watching him score point after point for mayo in wembley stadium during the whit weekend tournament.A class act.R.I.P.

  28. As a boy I was reared on the the stories of legends.
    We still live on them .
    TIme to honour our great men with some statues.
    RIP Joe Corcoran and my deepest sympathy to your family and friends and thanks Joe for your humility, any time I had the pleasure,to cross your path.

  29. He was my childhood hero for Mayo as a kid, saw him playing a few times in the late sixties, early seventies. Many teams had free takers whose primary job was to score the frees but Joe was so much more than that. His forte was cutting threw defences, such speed, very strong and deadly accurate. Didn’t know him but spoke to him at Mayo matches down the years, a gentleman indeed.

  30. Always remember Joe C when Galway at their best..He was absolutely brilliant..and such a clean pure footballer.

  31. Sad to hear of his passing. The best pure footballer of his era, incredible speed, skill, body control, accuracy with both feet. He was a natural and could be good at any sport. I especially remember the 1967 game against the great Galway team. He tormented the 2 Donnellans who seemed to have made it a personal crusade against him.When he was on he was unstoppable and he always was a marked man in any game he played.I remember him in a junior championship game taking all the frees with his left foot and scoring every time.His solo runs and dummies were sheer joy and Jinkin Joe was a very appropriate nickname.He could kick points from any angle with either feet.He would be great in the modern game.I had the pleasure of knowing him and the misfortune of marking him in a club match.He was treated very unfairly,as was another Ballina player, on the America trip.As I remember the North Mayo rep missed the meeting.My sympathies to the family, he is a great loss to Mayo and football.

  32. So sad to hear of Joe’s passing. Knew him when I lived in Ballina all those years ago, a nice quiet unassuming man who never seemed to boast about his exploits, other people did that for him!! Would see him regularly when back on holidays and he always remembered and had a chat. Gave me some advice at the golf club one time on how to hit the golf ball properly, we had a good laugh at my efforts! Was walking thru Liverpool one time and saw a bunch of young lads coming out of a Travelodge and heard the Irish accents, had a look at them and there in the middle was a head easily recognisable by the “crew cut”, the man himself, Joe! They were Ardnaree lads over for a game and being “chaperoned” by Joe(as he said it)!! Looking at the bleary eyes all around he did not seem to have done a good job of it!! Rest in Peace Joe and thanks for the memories.Sympathies to his family and friends

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