By the summer of 1990, All-Ireland football champions Cork had Kerry’s number. So much so that Rebel fans were yelling ‘lock the gates’ as they dismembered the Kingdom in the provincial decider in Cork. However a bigger challenge loomed for Billy Morgan, Larry Tompkins, & Co — Meath. In his new book on Cork’s historic double season,reveals how Colm O’Neill turned from peripheral to pivotal figure on the road to GAA history.
Four days after Kerry annexed the Munster senior and minor titles for a seventh consecutive summer, it was the turn of the county’s junior team to step into the spotlight, Jimmy Keane’s side retaining the provincial silverware for the sixth year in-a-row.
Cork’s Patrick Horgan ended Saturday night’s Allianz Hurling League game with the extraordinary tally of 0-16, (0-15 from frees), but the Glen Rovers man was quick to pay tribute to his teammates for making those scoring opportunities for him.
Cork take on Waterford this Sunday in the last of their Munster SHC round-robin games, having had a break last week, but Rebel manager John Meyler admits he “missed the buzz” of a game, having been in action for the previous three weeks in a row.
Incoming Cork football manager Ronan McCarthy has described a supplementary fund for the Rebel footballers as “very positive” on the face of it but cautioned that such a fund would have to bring a “measured benefit” to the team set-up.
The advantages of being able to play members of a minor team that has yet to make its championship debut were evident in the Gaelic Grounds last evening, when Cork easily defeated Limerick before a crowd of 468 in the opening round of the Munster U17 hurling championship.
Following Kilshannig’s unprecedented triumph across three grades — Rebel Óg ‘A’ Minor champions, U16 Premier 2 county champions and U16 A hurling league and championship winners — the club’s next objective is to match powerhouse sides at all levels, says minor football coach Anthony Brennan.
That the Cork footballers start 2017 as a second-tier county is moot. Trust is thin on the ground and it’s a long road back to a point where Rebel supporters will back their footballers, something manager Peadar Healy accepts and understands. There are no excuses next season, he says. The answers must come from within.
This afternoon’s meeting of St Colman’s, Fermoy and Midleton CBS (Blackrock, 1.30pm) is one of two all-Cork Harty Cup fixtures, with Fermoy boss Flannan Cleary expecting stiff examination from the last Rebel nursery to win the Munster post-primary competition.