Denis Coughlan

For the Blackrock and Cork hurler, see Denis Coughlan (Blackrock hurler).
Denis Coughlan
Personal information
Irish name Donnacha Ó Cochlainn
Sport Dual player
Football Position: Midfield / forward
Hurling Position: Midfield / wing back
Born (1945-06-07) 7 June 1945
Blackpool, Cork, Ireland
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Occupation Company director
Years Club
1960s-1980s Glen Rovers/St. Nicholas'
Club titles
Cork titles 4
Munster titles 3
All-Ireland Titles 2
Years County Apps (scores)
Cork (F)
Cork (H)
22 (7-47)
31 (0-10)
Inter-county titles
  Football Hurling
Munster Titles 4 6
All-Ireland Titles 1 4
All-Stars 3

Denis Coughlan (born 7 June 1945) is a notable Irish dual player. Born in County Cork, he played hurling and football with his local clubs Glen Rovers and St. Nicholas' respectively. Coughlan also played hurling and football with the Cork senior inter-county teams. He is regarded as one of Cork’s greatest dual players.

Playing career


Coughlan played his club hurling with the Glen Rovers club on the north side of Cork city. He played his club football with the Glen’s sister club St. Nicholas'. Coughlan first tasted success in 1964 when he won his first senior county hurling title. One of his colleagues on that team was the legendary Christy Ring. Coughlan later went on to win a Munster club hurling title that year. In 1965 he won a county football title with St. Nick’s. Coughlan captured a successive county football title in 1966, before later going on to win a Munster club football medal. The rest of the 1960s saw Coughlan add two more county hurling titles to his collection in 1967 and 1969.[1] In 1972 Coughlan won a fourth county hurling title. This was later converted into a second Munster club title. ‘The Glen’ later qualified for the All-Ireland club final. The game wasn’t played until December 1973 because of a dispute, however, Glen Rovers defeated St. Rynagh's of Offaly giving Coughlan a coveted All-Ireland medal. Three years later in 1976 he won his fifth and final county hurling title. Coughlan subsequently added a third Munster club title to his collection before collecting a second All-Ireland club hurling medal following a victory over Camross of Laois.


Coughlan first tasted success on the inter-county scene as a member of the Cork under-21 hurling team. That year he won a Munster title in this grade before later collecting an All-Ireland medal following a three-game series of games against Wexford.

In 1967 Coughlan was appointed captain of the Cork senior football team. That year he won his first Munster football medal following a victory over arch-rivals Kerry. Coughlan later lead his men out in Croke Park for an All-Ireland final meeting with Meath. Cork led by three points to one after a terrible first-half, however, they ended up losing the game on a score line of 1-9 to 0-9. Two years later in 1969 Coughlan played a key role at midfield as a member of the Cork senior hurling team. That year he won his first Munster hurling medal following a trouncing of Tipperary in the provincial final. Cork later faced Kilkenny in the All-Ireland final and were on top for much of the game. Kilkenny, however, came from behind and scored five points without reply in the last seven minutes to win the game.

The following year Cork’s hurling team won the Munster title once again before later capturing the All-Ireland title. Coughlan, however, played no part with the inter-county team this year. He returned in 1971 to win a second Munster football medal as Cork defeated Kerry, the reigning All-Ireland champions. Unfortunately, Cork were later defeated by Offaly in the All-Ireland semi-final. The following year Coughlan was back on the hurling team and he captured his first National Hurling League title as well as a second Munster title in the process. Cork later faced Kilkenny in the All-Ireland final, a game regarded by many as one of the classic games of the modern era. Cork were leading Kilkenny by eight points, however, ‘the Cats’ fought back and eventually won the game by seven points. After playing in his third All-Ireland final Coughlan had ended up on the losing side once again.

In 1973 Coughlan was appointed captain of the Cork senior hurling team. Only a handful of players have had the honour of captaining both the Cork senior footballers and senior hurlers in the championship. Coughlan had little success with the hurlers on this occasion. He did, however, win a third Munster title with the county’s footballers. Cork later qualified for the championship decider where they faced Galway. The game was a high-scoring affair with victory going to Cork for the first time since 1945. Coughlan had finally collected his first All-Ireland medal. In 1974 he became the first person ever to captain Cork to a second Munster football title. It was Coughlan’s fourth Munster football title in all. Unfortunately, Cork were later surprisingly beaten by Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final. 1974 also saw Coughlan also win a second National Hurling League medal, however, Cork’s hurlers had little success in the championship. The team’s defeat by Waterford brought the curtain down on Coughlan’s inter-county hurling career, although he remained a key member of the Cork football team.

Coughlan’s retirement from hurling didn’t last long as he returned in 1976 to win a third Munster hurling medal. This victory allowed Cork to advance straight to the All-Ireland final where Wexford provided the opposition. Things got off to a bad start as Wexford went 2-2 up after just eight minutes. Cork fought back and ended up winning the game on a score line of 2-21 to 4-11. The man who had retired just two years earlier had finally won a coveted All-Ireland hurling medal. In 1977 Coughlan won his fourth Munster hurling title. Cork subsequently qualified for the All-Ireland final where Wexford provided the opposition for the second consecutive year. The game was just was close as the previous encounter, however, Cork ended up as the victors once again giving Coughlan a second consecutive All-Ireland medal. In 1978 Cork defeated Clare for the second year in-a-row in the provincial final giving Coughlan a fifth Munster title. This victory allowed Cork to advance directly to the All-Ireland final where Kilkenny provided the opposition. The game ebbed and flowed for most of the seventy minutes with no clear winner emerging. Thirteen minutes from the end Jimmy Barry-Murphy scored a goal that gave Cork a definitive victory. Cork had captured their third championship victory in-a-row and Coughlan, the man who came back, won his third All-Ireland title.[1] There was talk of Coughlan retiring after this victory, but the possibility of winning a fourth All-Ireland medal in-a-row proved too tempting an offer to turn down. In 1979 he won his sixth Munster hurling medal and it looked as if Cork might win an elusive fourth championship title. Things came unstuck for Cork in the All-Ireland semi-final as Galway defeated the champions. Coughlan continued playing hurling in 1980 and he won a third National Hurling League medal. He retired from inter-county hurling shortly afterwards.


Coughlan also lined out with Munster in the Railway Cup inter-provincial hurling and football competitions. With the footballers he ended up on the winning side in 1972. He won a Railway Cup hurling medal in 1978.

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Jerry O'Sullivan
Cork Senior Football Captain
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Frank Norberg
Cork Senior Hurling Captain
Succeeded by
John Horgan
Preceded by
Billy Morgan
Cork Senior Football Captain
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Ray Cummins
Cork Senior Hurling Captain
Succeeded by
Martin O'Doherty
Preceded by
Tony Doran
Texaco Hurler of the Year
Succeeded by
John Horgan
Preceded by
John Horgan
All-Ireland Senior Club Hurling Final
winning captain

Succeeded by
John Horgan


All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championships 3 1976, 1977, 1978
Munster Senior Hurling Championships 5 1969, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979
National Hurling Leagues 1 1980
All-Ireland Senior Club Hurling Championships
(Glen Rovers)
2 1972, 1976
All-Ireland Under-21 Hurling Championships 1 1966
Railway Cups 1 1978
Hurling All-Star Awards 3 1976, 1977, 1978
Texaco Hurler of the Year 1 1977
All-Ireland Senior Football Championships 1 1973
Munster Senior Football Championships 4 1967, 1971, 1973, 1974
Railway Cups 1 1972


  1. 1 2 Foley, Michael (28 December 2003). "Caught in Time: Cork in the All-Ireland final, 1973". The Sunday Times. London. Retrieved 14 July 2010.
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