Courtney was a native of Athenry, who served with Castlegar Flying Column during the Irish War of Independence. He was an associate of, among others, Larry Lardner, Joe Howley, Bill Freaney and Liam Mellows, all of whom were natives of or served in the Athenry area.
He was one of a group of local men, who approached Frank Shawe-Taylor on behalf of some local people who were requesting a road to travel to mass. While Shawe-Taylor himself was amenable to their demands, his landlord refused them outright and made this known via Shawe-Taylor. Shawe-Taylor was killed some weeks later by publicly unidentified gunmen. However, neither Courtney nor other members of the local company are thought to be responsible for the killing.
Courtney survived the war and died in Athenry sometime in the 1960s.
- Athenry: A Local History (1850-1983), Aggie Qualter, 1984.
- History of Castlegar Parish, Padraic Ó Laoi, 1996.
- The Lamberts of Athenry, ed. Finnbarr O'Regan, Galway, 1999.