Die-hard Cork GAA supporter Cyril Kavanagh was speaking yesterday as he and three of his colourful colleagues were honoured by the city’s lord mayor for decades of dedicated support of Cork GAA teams.
Cyril, who has been to almost every Cork league game and almost every All-Ireland hurling and football final over the last 40 years, said the price of mach tickets is preventing a lot of fans from attending games.
“It is costing us a fortune — even to go down the park [Páirc Uí Chaoimh] it’s €15 or €20 for important matches,” he said. “It’s getting harder by the day.”
He also urged city council officials to follow the lead of civic authorities in Dublin and Ennis, and erect a big screen in the city centre for Saturday’s replay.
“People aren’t going to the matches because of the price and a big screen on the Grand Parade, especially if it was a fine day, would be fantastic,” he said.
Cyril “The Bird” Kavanagh, originally from Farranree but now living in Douglas, was honoured by Cllr Catherine Clancy yesterday alongside Tim “Jonty” O’Leary, from Noonan’s Rd, Tom “The Bomber” Roche, from Blackpool, and Eddie Byrnes, from Horgan’s Buildings.
“I felt it was time to honour these supporters for the pleasure and joy they have given us over the years,” she said. “They make us feel so proud at big matches. They lift our hearts and souls.
“And I wanted to say ‘thank you’ on behalf of the office of lord mayor, and the people of Cork.”
Jonty, who attended his first Munster final in 1952 and his first All-Ireland in 1956, said it was a great honour to be honoured by the mayor.
“I’ll be at the match on Saturday, of course,” he said. “I think Cork will never be as bad as they were in the drawn game. I think they’ll pull away in the last five minutes. They’re a lot fitter and have the auld heart.”
Jonty, The Bird, The Bomber, and Pa “The Piper” Hurley, from Mayfield, were later honoured by the Cork Historical Club in Quinlan’s Bar on the Watercourse Rd, where they were presented with the organisation’s special Club and Community Award Champion Volunteers award.
Historical Club chairman Derry Doody described them as “unsung ambassadors” of the “rebel army”, who have shown “unrelenting passion for Cork GAA”, and great pride in the jersey over the years.
“Each one of them has made their own major contributions to match days and Cork fans often go in search of the boys before descending on Croke Park, Thurles, Killarney or Limerick,” said Mr Doody.
“When the drums and the pipes blasting out the best of Cork songs, fans can feel the tempo rising mighty high and hopes of a Cork victory soaring in the air.”
But he criticised the Cork County Board for not acknowledging his group’s decision to honour the men.
“I’m sad to say our county board has not replied to our emails about our awards. They’ve shunned us so far,” he said.
“I asked them for a letter of congratulations for our presentation, and for an All Ireland ticket for a raffle. We didn’t even get the dignity of a reply.”
Meanwhile, Iarnród Éireann has released a limited amount of extra seats for sale online for a number of trains from Cork, Mallow, and Charleville on Saturday.
The seats are available on the 7am, 8am, 10am, and 12.20pm Cork to Dublin trains, and on the 8.35pm and 8.55pm Dublin-Cork trains.
A die-hard rebel fan serenaded Cork’s first citizen yesterday with his fundraising single for Marymount Hospice.
Tom “The Bomber” Roche belted out a few verses of the rousing ‘Rebels Evermore’ in City Hall and encouraged people to pick up a copy.
“Paul Creighton wrote the song a few years ago. We thought we might get it out before the final, but we didn’t get a chance,” he said.
But when Cork and Clare drew two weeks ago, Tom said they decided to go for it this time.
They got the musicians together, including Donal Ring and Chris O’Shea, and recorded the track in Mark Cosgrove’s Walk In Studio Pod on Woods St, Cork.
“I wouldn’t be the world’s greatest singer but I made an effort,” Tom said.
They have now printed several hundred copies of the CD which are being sold for €5, and it will be available to download soon.