Ahearne, Timothy J. (‘Tim’) (1885–1968), athlete and Olympic gold medallist, was born 17 August 1885 in Dirreen, Athea, Co. Limerick, son of William Aherne, farmer in Dirreen, and Margaret Aherne (née Shine). A talented sprinter, hurdler and jumper, he represented Britain in the 1908 Olympics in London. Ahearne competed in the long jump (finishing eighth), the standing long jump, and the high hurdles, at which he was an Irish champion. It was in the hop, step, and jump, however, that he made his greatest impact. Although the Norwegian Eric Larsen entered the event as strong favourite, the field of nineteen competitors representing seven countries was led by a Canadian, J. Garfield MacDonald, going into the final round of jumps, with Ahearne in the silver medal position. He then broke the Olympic and world record with a jump of 48ft 11 1/4in. (14.9 m) to claim the gold medal and become the only athlete representing Great Britain to win gold in a field event until Lynn Davies won the long jump in 1964. Later that year he reached 24ft 11in. (7.6m) in the long jump, a mere 2in. (5.1 cm) short of the world record of Peter O'Connor (qv). In 1909 he won the long jump at the AAA (English) championships, before jumping a disallowed world best for the long jump of 25′ 3″ in his home town of Athea.
Emigrating to America (1909), he finished runner-up on four occasions to his younger brother, Daniel F. (‘Dan’) Ahearn (he dropped the last ‘e’), born 10 June 1887, in the hop, step, and jump at the American championships. Dan passed Tim's world record with a jump of 50ft 11in. (15.52 m) in New York (May 1911), a distance he reached again at the American championships in 1915. He won those championships on eight occasions, 1910–11 and 1913–18, and when past his best he represented America in the 1920 Olympics where he finished sixth in the hop, step, and jump with a leap of 46ft 2 1/4in. (14.08m). Tim and Dan were one of only three sets of brothers (Tom (qv) and Pat Davin (qv) were one of the others) to break world records, while Tim lost his Olympic record and Dan his world record on the same day at the 1924 Olympics. Both brothers lived and worked in New York for many years; Tim died there in November 1968.