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Anna Geary was an extremely versatile player and started her senior career at half-forward. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Anna Geary was an extremely versatile player and started her senior career at half-forward. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

Cork camogie dream team: Our shortlist for the goalie and back six positions

BETWEEN 1980 and 2019, Cork won 14 senior camogie titles.

Mary Newman and I were given the unenviable task of selecting our best 15 players of the past 40 years. It’s not easy, particularly when you are a player yourself from that era.

But we’ll give it a go and have a healthy debate.

We’ll start with the goalkeepers and defenders, and already the pressure is on, such is the calibre of contenders there. But here goes.

GOALKEEPERS:

MARIAN McCARTHY: After winning four All-Ireland senior medals outfield, Marian switched to the position of goalkeeper.

She was an instant success and collected four more All-Ireland medals in her new role. Ball control and classic striking were effortless to her. She held the goalkeeping position from 1978 until 1991.

KATHLEEN COSTINE: Kathleen (RIP) took over from Marian in 1992 when Cork won their first senior title in seven years. She retired after the 1996 final, so her tenure was short, but she made a significant contribution. Her defenders loved her as she kept them on their toes.

AOIFE MURRAY: Arguably the best goalkeeper in the country over the past decade. Aoife’s inspirational athleticism, her bravery in advancing on attacking players, her pinpoint puck-outs and her penalty-taking capabilities, not to mention the control she kept of her square and the six players in front of her, were exceptional.

Aoife Murray was the best goalkeeper in the country over the past decade. Picture: Larry Cummins
Aoife Murray was the best goalkeeper in the country over the past decade. Picture: Larry Cummins

DEFENDERS

CATHY LANDERS: Led Cork to the All-Ireland title in 1983 and is the holder of four senior medals. A tough defender who never conceded an inch, she frequently played a sweeper’s role, cutting off many attackers’ routes to goal. Strong and determined, she brushed aside tackles.

Cathy Landers, Cork captain in 1983, whose son Seamus Harnedy captained the hurlers in 2018 and '19.
Cathy Landers, Cork captain in 1983, whose son Seamus Harnedy captained the hurlers in 2018 and '19.

SANDIE FITZGIBBON: One of the greatest players to grace the game, Sandie was selected on the Camogie team of the Century in 2004. Playing with her heart on her sleeve, she won every honour in the game and had an ability to cover a huge amount of ground. Her ball control and skill were a joy to watch.

EITHNE DUGGAN: Made her stamp very early on as a no-nonsense defender. She was outstanding in her first senior final in 1995 as Cork overcame Kilkenny, showing calmness and standing firm under pressure. Her reading of the game was immaculate as she timed tackles to perfection.

GEMMA O’CONNOR: A brilliant defender and inspirational to all those around her, she is another of the game’s finest. Having lined out in various positions with Cork, without doubt in recent times she has been at home at the heart of defence. Gemma has it all — skill, passion, with a huge determination to win.

Gemma O'Connor. Picture: INPHO/Dan Sheridan
Gemma O'Connor. Picture: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

CLARE CRONIN: A strong, athletic, and skilful player who stood firm in defence as Cork overcame Dublin to be crowned champions in 1978 and went on to firmly establish herself as a Cork great.

PAULA GOGGINS: Paula was often the player chosen to mark the opposition’s most dangerous forward. A tenacious and physically strong defender whose work-rate was out of the top drawer. She was a thorn in many forwards’ sides as they tried to evade her attentions, and a holder of three All-Ireland medals.

DENISE CRONIN: A fast and tenacious player who was at home in any position. A top-class defender who allowed her opponents no time or space. A huge work-rate, great skill, and will to win were her hall- marks. She captained Cork to All- Ireland victory in 1995.

MAGS FINN: Mags had to wait patiently for her time in Cork’s defence. Once her time came, she never relinquished her place, with consistent and dependable performances. A determined competitor, Mags’ ability to cut off attackers and force them wide was one of the highlights of her game. Holder of four All-Ireland medals.

 A determined competitor Mags Finn’s ability to cut off attackers and force them wide was one of the highlights of her game. Picture: INPHO/Tom Honan

A determined competitor Mags Finn’s ability to cut off attackers and force them wide was one of the highlights of her game. Picture: INPHO/Tom Honan

MARY O’CONNOR: One of Mary’s greatest attributes was her ability to read the game. She was a solid centre back who swept up brilliantly and had a great hand under the high ball. She won her first of seven All-Ireland titles in 1997 and holds three All-Stars.

ANNA GEARY: Anna was an extremely versatile player and started her senior inter-county career as a half-forward.

She finished her career as a full-back in 2014 after captaining Cork to the All-Ireland title. One of her greatest attributes was her ability to emerge with the ball from almost every ruck, her strength and presence of mind bursting out and distributing brilliantly to teammates.

PAMELA MACKEY: One of Cork’s most consistent defenders over the past decade. A player whose work- rate, talent, and calm demeanour on the pitch is never found wanting, particularly when the pressure is on. Her speed, deceptive strength, and attacking attributes often turn defence into attack for her team.

Pamela Mackey drives out the field. Picture: INPHO/Oisin Keniry
Pamela Mackey drives out the field. Picture: INPHO/Oisin Keniry

RENA BUCKLEY: Rena retired from inter-county camogie in 2018 having worn the red and white for 15 years and with eight titles. She won 18 All-Ireland dual medals, making her one of the most decorated sports-people in Gaelic games.

A player of absolute composure on the field of play, her ability to break up attacks and jig in and out between attacking forwards to relieve pressure was a highlight.