Mick 'Gah' Ahern was born Ballintemple, Cork in 1905. He was educated at Crab Lane National School where his hurling skills were developed. On the school team he played with his brother, Paddy 'Balty' Ahern, and their reputations as fine hurlers were seen once again in the School Shield competitions. Balty was always physically dominant and from an early age was able to impose himself on a game by his presence alone. But the crowds flocked to see Gah who was a veritable wizard with the stick and from an early age Gah became the Boy Wonder of the school-shield leagues. Ahern later played club hurling and had much success with his local team Blackrock. He also had great success with the great Cork senior hurling team of the 1920s.
Ahern was one of the key members of the great Blackrock team of the 1920s. His brother, Paddy, had already had much success with the club before Mick started playing. He played in the forward line and was joined by other greats of the game such as his Seán Óg Murphy, Eudie Coughlan and many more. Ahern won five Cork County Championship titles in all. His first win came in 1925. Another championship title was captured in 1927 before completing a hat-trick of county titles in 1929, 1930 and 1931.
In the early 1920s Ahern played junior hurling with Cork at inter-county level. This culminated in the winning of Munster and All-Ireland titles in 1925. He quickly joined his brother on the senior team and in 1926 captured his first National Hurling League, Munster and All-Ireland honours. Ahern was instrumental in attack in the final against Kilkenny. It was the beginning of a glorious era for Cork hurling. Ahern captured his second Munster medal in 1927, however, Dublin accounted for Cork in the All-Ireland final. Ahern had earlier won a Railway Cup medal with Munster.
He added a second Railway Cup title at the start of 1928 before later winning his third Munster title. In the All-Ireland final against Galway Ahern scored 5 goals and 4 points to clinch victory and claim his second All-Ireland medal. His total in this final remains to date the highest individual score in a McCarthy Cup final. His astonishing achievement betters by one point Nicholas English's 2-12 in the 1989 final between Tipp and Antrim and Eddie Keher's 2-11 in the 1971 final between Tipp and Kilkenny.In 1929 he captured his fourth Munster medal in-a-row before later playing in his fourth All-Ireland final in-a-row. Cork’s opponents in the final were Galway once again and Ahern scored a goal after just 30 seconds. It brought him his third All-Ireland medal. Cork had no little success in the championship of 1930, however, Ahern won his second National League medal. In 1931 Cork were back under the captaincy of Mick's brother in-law Eudie Coughlan. Ahern won his fifth Munster title and once again qualified for the All-Ireland final, this time against Kilkenny. It took two replays to separate the two sides with Cork eventually emerging as the victors. Ahern scored a goal in every game and captured his fifth All-Ireland medal. He retired from inter-county hurling shortly after.
In 1932 Ahern played hurling for Ireland at the Tailteann Games, Ireland’s answer to the Olympic Games. He is regarded as a supreme stylist and as one of the greatest hurling forwards of all-time.
Mick 'Gah' Ahern died at the young age of 41 on 30 December 1946.