Barrs dual star Brian Hayes set to opt for Cork hurlers

Hayes was a member of the Cork football set-up last year
Barrs dual star Brian Hayes set to opt for Cork hurlers

Brian Hayes of St Finbarr’s celebrates scoring a second half point during the AIB Munster GAA Hurling Senior Club Championship Semi-Final match between Ballyea and St Finbarr's at Cusack Park in Ennis, Clare. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

In a blow to the Cork footballers, dual talent Brian Hayes has decided to throw his lot in with the Cork hurlers for the 2023 season, the Irish Examiner understands.

Hayes was a member of the Cork football set-up last year but has opted to switch codes at senior inter-county level.

Hayes’ dual capabilities have long been known on Leeside; he was on the scoresheet in both of Cork’s All-Ireland U20 hurling final wins last year, the same summer he captained the Cork U20 footballers to Munster glory.

At club level, Hayes was a key forward on the St Finbarr’s hurling and football teams that reached this year’s Cork premier senior finals.

He struck 1-1 in the club’s hurling final win over Blackrock, and again found the net when the footballers went down to Nemo Rangers two weeks later.

Hayes finished the Cork premier senior hurling championship as the Barrs’ top scorer from play with 4-16. He will now link back up with Pat Ryan, who he hurled under during those aforementioned All-Ireland winning U20 campaigns.

Injury meant the 21-year-old had an interrupted debut season with the Cork senior footballers this year. He featured in just one league game, that when coming off the bench against Meath in Round 5, and was a used sub in three of Cork’s four championship outings.

In an interview with the Irish Examiner in August of last year, Hayes was fully aware that juggling both codes at senior inter-county level was never going to be a runner.

“Realistically, it is not possible with the way the game has gone now,” Hayes said.

“If the opportunity comes, I’ll hopefully have to make a decision. And genuinely, I’d have a 50/50 split between them. It’s been like that since I was 15 or 16. I wouldn’t really have a preference.” 

At the beginning of the 2022 season, fellow Cork dual talent Mark Keane, who played football championship for the county in 2020, opted to throw his lot in with the hurlers.

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