John Horgan picks his Premier Senior Cork club All-Star 15

John Horgan picks his Premier Senior Cork club All-Star 15

Niall Cashman of Blackrock in action against David Noonan of Glen Rovers. Cashman had a massive impact on the semi-final and final. Picture: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

THE dust has now and truly settled now on the Cork Premier SHC.

It will be a winter of content in Church Road and quite rightly so too. They answered the big questions when they were posed and few if any will dispute their right to be Cork champions again.

So, if you were selecting the best 15 players over the course of the season, the Rockies would be entitled to have a strong hand.

In any team of the year the last four in the competition usually dominate the selections and the vast majority of the choices would be from those four clubs.

With some help from a few colleagues this observer tried to come up with his 15.

Again, we do not expect to get 100% approval and that is perfectly understandable.

Everybody has their own opinions and are quite entitled to them and at the end of the day it’s an exercise that nobody should lose any sleep over.

So here goes.

The choice of goalkeeper was down to three: Gary Connolly from the Rockies, Cathal Hickey from the Glen and Shay Bowen from Erin’s Own.

All three would be worthy choices but from this quarter the vote goes to the Rockies custodian Connolly.

Gavin Connolly of Blackrock celebrates. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Gavin Connolly of Blackrock celebrates. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

He was ultra-consistent throughout the campaign, made some vital stops at crucial junctures in games and his puck-out strategy was effective.

Before we push on it must be stressed that one or two choices are selected in positions that they didn’t occupy all the time but the game is such now that adaptability is crucial.

For the three full-backs we have chosen Stephen McDonnell from the Glen who, despite being on the losing side, had a fine county final and his vast experience was always evident.

The number three spot goes to the Rockies’ Gary Norberg, a player who did hardly anything wrong during the course of the campaign and offered fine protection to his custodian Connolly.

On the left we have chosen Robert Downey. His upward trajectory continued and whilst playing in the number five jersey for the Glen, he’s the type of player you would be comfortable with in any defensive position.

At centre-back, Niall Cashman gets the geansaí. He was a commanding figure at the heart of the Rockies defence, marshalled the forces around him superbly and fired over some very important long-range points too.

On the flanks the choices are James O’Flynn from Erin’s Own and Stephen Murphy from the Rockies.

James O'Flynn was incredible against Sars. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
James O'Flynn was incredible against Sars. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

When Erin’s Own ousted near neighbours Sars from the race, O’Flynn made some timely interventions at critical stages, particularly in the closing stages.

Murphy did little wrong in the number seven shirt for the Rockies, got on with his business and did it very efficiently, particularly in that rip-roaring semi-final with UCC.

At midfield the two choices are Daniel Meaney from Blackrock and Mark Coleman from UCC, the latter out of his more natural berth in the half-back line but then again a player who you could trust in most positions.

Meaney foraged away for the Rockies all through the campaign and was what you might describe as an unsung hero.

So, on to the six forwards.

Never an easy task to come up with just six when a lot more put their hand up at various times. We’ll start with the two key positions, centre-forward and full-forward.

You could select no team without Patrick Horgan being in it and that’s the way it has been for a long time now. He was superb all through for the Glen and he gets the number 11 shirt without any hesitation.

Patrick Horgan and Cathal McCormack of Blackrock. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne
Patrick Horgan and Cathal McCormack of Blackrock. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Inside on the edge of the square the choice has to be young Alan Connolly from the Rockies. He just grew in stature as the campaign deepened and for one so young he showed nerves of steel.

A lot of his scores were from placed balls, quite a few of them very difficult and his general play too was a vital contributory factor in the trophy going back to Church Road. He has immense potential and should have an outstanding career in front of him.

The half-forward slots go to Robbie O’Flynn from Erin’s Own, who played a vital role in getting the Caherlag club into the last four, and picking Shane Conway from UCC cannot really be argued with.

UCC's Shane Conway shoots from Na Piarsaigh's Kelvin Forde. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
UCC's Shane Conway shoots from Na Piarsaigh's Kelvin Forde. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

He had a superb innings in the UCC shirt and getting them so close to a final appearance, a forward of real quality.

Douglas were disappointing in losing out to the Rockies but still got out of a tough group to reach the knockout stages and Shane Kingston played a huge part in that.

He gets the number 13 shirt while in the other corner we’ve gone for the Glen’s Simon Kennefick.

His two goals in the county final after half-time looked like they might swing the game in his team’s favour until the Rockies responded. Kennefick is still a young hurler with a lot of potential and will continue to blossom.

So that’s it.

The Rockies Tadhg Deasy is just one who deserves special mention. He didn’t start for the Rockies in either the semi-final or final but his introduction, particularly against UCC made a vast difference, scoring five points.

Here’s the 15 we have put down:

G Connolly (Rockies); S McDonnell (Glen), G Norberg (Rockies), R Downey (Glen); J O’Flynn (Erin’s Own), N Cashman (Rockies), S Murphy (Rockies); D Meaney (Rockies), M Coleman (UCC); R O’Flynn (Erin’s Own) P Horgan (Glen), S Conway (UCC); S Kingston (Douglas), A Connolly (Rockies), S Kennefick (Glen).

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