Sheedy completes the Cork selectors' jigsaw

NEW Cork manager Donal O’Grady has named Kilworth’s star Fred Sheedy as the final member of the county senior hurling selection committee.

The manner and speed in which a new selection team has been named increases the hope that the county can quickly recover from any lingering effects of the strike action called by disaffected players last month.

Sheedy will join O'Grady, his former St Finbarr's team-mate John Allen (after the county board changed its policy to allow two from the same club), Donal Collins and the vastly experienced Seán O'Leary at the helm. Collins, the first of the selectors to be named, will represent county champions Blackrock for the coming season, whereas O'Grady and the other three will serve a two-year term.

Speculation that Johnny Crowley would be one of the five proved unfounded, with Sheedy regarded as a surprise choice. Like Seán O'Leary, Sheedy was a member of the management which helped to capture the 1999 All-Ireland title having initially come on board for the 1997 season.

He was then put forward as the representatives of county champions Avondhu, taking over from Tony O'Sullivan, who had become involved with Jimmy Barry-Murphy and Tom Cashman.

O'Sullivan had been the nominee of then champions Na Piaraigh. Retained the following year when the committee was extended from three to five Sheedy served for the next three seasons. Seán O'Leary also joined the committee at the end of 1997, as Imokilly coach, serving for two years.

He was replaced by Bertie Óg Murphy after the All-Ireland final. John Allen, who originally played with Aghabullogue, was a dual player with Cork at senior level. He won an All-Ireland U-21 medal in 1976 and the same year was a sub for the first of the three-in-a-row wins (having played against Tipperary and Limerick earlier in that campaign.

He was also a sub for the 1978 decider). An accomplished full-forward, he won a Munster senior football medal in 1983 and he also played in the two All-Ireland semi-finals against Dublin. He also lined out in the Centenary Munster final, against Kerry.

He was associated with the 1999 All-Ireland hurling squad as masseur. At club level, he was a team-mate of O'Grady's on the Barrs team that won the AIB All-Ireland club title in 1978.

Donal Collins, a native of Castlehaven, has the distinction of winning All-Ireland club medals with two different teams three with Blackrock and one with James Stephens in 1982 against Mount Sion.

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