Young, James Edward (‘Jim’) (1915–92), hurler and all-round sportsman, was born 16 October 1915 in Ballyboy, Dunmanway, Co. Cork, eldest among fifteen children of John (‘Jack’) Young, national school principal and holder of an All-Ireland hurling medal with Cork in 1911, and Margaret (‘Madge’) Young (née McSweeney). He attended the local national school, where he was taught by his father, and later went to Farranferris secondary school, where he captained the team in the Munster Colleges competition. He played hurling at minor level for Cork before entering Maynooth (1932), where he initially intended to study for the priesthood, but he eventually left with a BA (1936). He subsequently worked for a year with the civil service in Dublin, where he played hurling and football for their teams, before entering UCC to study medicine, graduating in 1943. While at UCC he was president of the Student's Union and won two Fitzgibbon Cups in hurling (1939, 1942), and two Sigerson Cups in football (1943, 1946).
A member of Glen Rovers in Cork, he made his senior debut for the county as a midfielder in 1935, but had to wait until 1937 to make his championship debut, losing to eventual All-Ireland winners Tipperary in the Munster Championship. He went on to become a regular with the county until 1949, appearing in seven All-Ireland finals, and winning five All-Ireland winner's medals, including four in a row in 1941–4, as Cork became the first team to achieve that feat in hurling. His fifth medal came in 1946, and he lost the 1939 – the famous ‘thunder and lightning’ final – and 1947 deciders, both times to Kilkenny, and both times by a single point. He was one of four players to take part in seven All-Ireland finals in those nine years (1939–47), the others being Billy Murphy, Alan Lotty, and Jack Lynch (qv). He also won three National League titles (1940, 1941, 1948); four Railway Cup medals in a row with Munster (1943–6); and eight County Championship titles with Glen Rovers, including seven in a row (1935–41). A versatile player who could play in either defence or attack, he lined out at left half-back in the finals of 1939, 1942, 1943, 1946, and 1947, and at left half-forward in 1941 and 1944, winning two medals in each position. His final appearances for Cork came in 1949, when he captained the side that lost after a replay to Tipperary in the first round of the Munster championship, games that saw Tipperary's Tommy Doyle earning himself a special niche in hurling history by keeping Cork maestro Christy Ring (qv) scoreless in the two matches. He also played Gaelic football with the Doheny's club, won a county championship medal with the Carbery divisional side (1937), and was on the Cork football team that won the Munster championship in 1943.
Young's sporting prowess was not confined to Gaelic games. While at UCC he played rugby during a six-month ban given to him by the GAA for attending a rugby club dance in his capacity as president of the Students’ Union. He was a keen and talented tennis and squash player, a founder member of the Munster Squash Racquets Association and the first Munster Squash champion in the 1950s. In 1967 he was the non-playing captain of the Irish Davis Cup tennis team. He was an excellent golfer, playing off a handicap of four at his peak. He was also very interested in outdoor sports, and a founding member of the Federation of County Cork Gun Clubs. He remained heavily involved in hurling, serving for a period as a county selector and as team doctor, and as chairman and president of the Glen Rovers club.
He spent forty years as a GP, with a clinic in Cook St., Cork. Although he presented a gruff exterior, ‘Youngie’ or ‘Doctor Jim’ as he was known, was popular with team-mates and opponents alike and was widely known as a convivial wit and raconteur. According to one story, he reputedly remarked to his friend, the great Limerick hurler Mick Mackey (qv) at Christy Ring's funeral, ‘Now you are the greatest hurler alive!’ He always maintained that the Cork team he played in was the best hurling team of all time, and his greatest regret was Cork's defeat in the 1939 final. He died 23 August 1992 and is buried at St Catherine's cemetery, Kilcully.
He married (1947) Eileen Walsh from Bantry, Co. Cork; they had two sons and two daughters. A younger brother, Eamonn, was also an All-Ireland winner with Cork in football.