Quirke set to join exclusive keeper club

ALAN QUIRKE is set to make a small bit of history in Killarney on Sunday by becoming only the fifth Cork goalkeeper to play in a Munster football final in 40 years.

ALAN QUIRKE is set to make a small bit of history in Killarney on Sunday by becoming only the fifth Cork goalkeeper to play in a Munster football final in 40 years.

The Valley Rovers clubman has taken over as first-choice ’keeper from Kevin O’Dwyer who had held the position almost without interruption for the past decade.

Equally, the player who preceded O’Dwyer — the late John Kerins — had also been there for 10 years. However, current manager Billy Morgan is the one with the greatest service of all.

Including the replay in 1976, Morgan played in a total of 17 Munster finals between 1966 and 1981. A centre-forward with Cork minors in 1963, he had been converted into a goalkeeper in UCC (by current Kerry team doctor Dave Geaney, who was involved with the College team at the time).

In 1965, he filled the position with the Cork U-21 team which lost to Kildare in the All-Ireland final and, taking over from Crosshaven player Brian Murphy, played in his first Munster final in Killarney the following year.

Cork won that final, rather unexpectedly, preventing Kerry from winning a record ninth consecutive provincial title.

Micheal Creedon from the Naomh Aban club succeeded Morgan, having replaced him in the course of the 1981 final after he was injured in a clash with Eoin Liston. However, following Cork’s defeat in the replayed 1983 All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin in Pairc Uí Chaoimh, Creedon lost out to John Kerins, who played between 1984 and 1994 and played a major role in the All-Ireland final victories of 1989 and 1990.

Kevin O’Dwyer made his championship debut against Waterford in 1995 — in a team which had Brian Corcoran at full-back.

Interestingly, Castlehaven’s Mick Maguire played in the All-Ireland semi-final of 1988 against Monaghan (when Kerins was injured) and he also lined out against Kerry in 1998, in the semi-final.

Quirke, meanwhile, had one outing previous to the recent Limerick game when he played against Waterford in the 2001 championship. Two years earlier he won a county championship medal with UCC, in the company of Kerry players Paul Galvin and Eamonn Fitzmaurice and the college team was also successful in the Munster club championship.

According to the Cork manager, Quirke is ideally qualified for the position. “Alan has everything to make it as a goalkeeper. His size number one is a great advantage. He is a very good shot-stopper on a one-on-one basis and a very good kick out — everything really,’’ said Morgan.

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