The GAA community in Armagh were saddened to hear of the death of Mr Jimmy Carlisle on Sunday 31st May 2020. Jimmy Carlisle was Armagh hurling. As a hurler he represented his county and province and as an Administrator Jimmy was Chair of the Armagh Hurling Board for many years. He was also Chair of Ulster Hurling Committee, a representative on the National Hurling Committee and Chairman of his beloved Cuchulainns for many years.
Jimmy was born in November 1931 and lived at 51 Ogle Street, Armagh City. His uncle Joe played for the county senior footballers in the 1930’s and his earliest memories was playing football on the old Christian Brother’s field (which is now used as a car park for matches at the Athletic Grounds). He attributed his early interest in Gaelic Football to a Br. Sullivan and his love of hurling to a Br. Lynch who hailed from Dublin but who taught him at Armagh CBS.
In 1948 he won a Minor Championship double, football with the Harps and Minor hurling with CPPU. Jimmy was at this stage playing club senior and won SHC with the Christian Brothers Past Pupils Union in 1946 and 1948. When the Cuchulainns Club in Armagh city was formed Jimmy joined and won 4 SHC titles in a row in the early 1950’s. This was the beginning of many Co. SHC Honours . During this period he represented the Harps club with distinction winning 4 Co. SFC titles in 1952, 1955, 1957 and 1958 and losing two deciders to Keady in 1953 and 1956. During these years Jimmy also represented the county senior hurlers and played in nearly every position. Jimmy always credited P.J. Toner for revitalising hurling in the county and also for putting a hurl in his hand. It was Br. Aherne and Br. Woods who started hurling in the CBS and Jimmy was very appreciative of all the Christian Brothers involvement in the promotion of GAA in Armagh and throughout the county. Jimmy also represented the County senior Footballs on four occasions in the early 1950’s, but it was in the small ball code that he made his mark. After losing the Ulster Junior Final in 1963 to Antrim , Jimmy captained Armagh to the Ulster JHC in 1965 on a score-line on 3-7 to 4-2 .The All-Ireland JHC semi-final against Wicklow was played in Armagh in front of over 5,000 with Jimmy playing a captains role scoring 0-8 in a 3 point win. The ‘Home’ final was in Croke Park two weeks later where unfortunately Armagh lost out to Roscommon. At the age of 34 Jimmy played his last game for Armagh and continued to hurl for his club into the 1970’s winning a further Co. SHC medal in 1973.
He may have retired from playing but Jimmy took an active and progressive approach to coaching and many a young hurler from Cuchulainns and County Armagh learnt the techniques of the game from Jimmy. He coached and managed the Co. U-16’s, minors, U-21’s and seniors right through the turbulent 1970’s and 1980’s. Jimmy was manager when Armagh annexed the All-Ireland Junior title in 1978 when Armagh defeated Mayo 5-15 to 2-6 and coached again the following year when Armagh retained the title by defeating Derry 2-13 to 2-1 and was still involved when Armagh annexed the title in 2000 when defeating a Meath team going for their third title in a row.
As Chair of the Hurling Board Jimmy oversaw the introduction of the first dedicated hurling coaches who visited the primary schools, an initiative which today we take for granted. Jimmy was also instrumental in taking the county underage hurlers to Gormanstown College for a week during the summer in the 1980’s and ‘90’s whereby coaches from the ‘top’ counties could pass on their expertise. He was ahead of his time. Jimmy also had a great interest in Camogie and coached many club teams and took great pride in the fact that he coached Ballymacnab to their first Co. Camogie title. Jimmy had many highlights, one of which was marking the legendary Eddie Keher in the 1963 Railway Cup for Ulster. Although he was passionate about his own Cuchulainns club Jimmy assisted with the emergence of hurling in Sean Tracey’s, Middletown, Killeavy, Derrynoose and my own club Craobh Rua’s formation in 1988. A true Gael has been lost.
We extend our sympathies to Kathleen and the Carlisle family on this sad occasion.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.