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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Members of the Eighth Dáil - John (Jack) Finlay

John (Jack) Finlay (1890 – 30 September 1942) was a famous Irish sports person who played hurling for Laois in the 1910s and in later life was a politician.

Jack Finlay was born in Ballycuddy, County Laois in 1890. He had a love of hurling from a young age and soon joined his local club Ballygeehan. In 1913 Finlay won a Laois Junior Hurling Championship with the club. They moved to senior level the following year and proceeded to win five county championships in-a-row with Finlay as captain. After winning the county title, in 1914, the club had a major say in the selection of the inter-county team for the following year. Finlay was chosen as captain and was joined by his brother Tom.

That year Laois defeated Offaly, Kilkenny and Dublin to win the Leinster Championship. This victory set up an All-Ireland final meeting with Cork, who were red-hot favourites. Laois had no great hurling tradition and this was shown when Cork scored three goals. In the second-half, however, Laois rallied and won the game. Finlay became the only player from Laois to captain an All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship winning team.

In later life, Finlay entered politics. He was elected to Dáil Éireann as a National Centre Party TD for the Leix–Offaly constituency at the 1933 general election. He was re-elected at the 1937 general election for the same constituency as a Fine Gael TD. He lost his seat at the 1938 general election.

Jack Finlay died on 30 September 1942.

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