Thirteen years ago he was the sub goalkeeper when Cork won the All-Ireland SHC title during Jimmy Barry-Murphy’s first stint in charge of the Leesiders.
But for the first game of the St Finbarr’s legend’s second spell as Rebels boss, Bernard Rochford found himself in opposition territory.
So what was it like to line out for Kerry against his native county in Saturday’s Waterford Crystal Cup tie at Páirc Uí Rinn?
Rochford admitted: "It was strange playing Cork. It’s a different generation from when I was playing. They looked sharp and the goals were the difference between the teams. I got caught for one goal definitely but that’s how it goes unfortunately at times. It’s early in the year. We were a bit loose at the back and that cost us really. We were competitive in the first-half which was a good sign but conditions were tough. It was a great match for us. It’s of big benefit to us to have a game like that. We’ll be playing Westmeath now in three weeks time to start off the league and a game like that is a big help."
Amongst the bunch of new faces that Cork thrust into action during the game was Rochford’s Killeagh clubmate Patrick O’Brien. O’Brien had been earmarked for a starting berth for the Cork U21 hurlers last season but illness saw him sidelined for the whole campaign. However, he has recovered and made his senior debut at the weekend.
"He’s a great bit of stuff and is a big prospect for the future," said Rochford.
Kerry’s focus now switches to Division 2A of the League with a trip to Westmeath on February 26. The availability of Willie O’Dwyer and the returning Shane Brick will boost their attacking options believes Rochford.
"Willie’s away this week but he’ll be a huge addition for us," he said. "He’ll be there centre-forward and will lead the attack. He’ll give us great experience and that’ll be a big help. Shane (Brick) is back as well. That was only his second game after being out for a year and a half so the more games he gets will help and he’ll be back flying again soon."