THIRTY years on from playing a starring role in the Munster and All-Ireland hurling campaigns of 1990, Sean O’Gorman was on the sideline for Milford in the recent Cork County IHC, driving on the club that means so much to him.
Catching up with him in the aftermath of one of those games, he has great memories of that historic year of 1990 and he was only too willing to share them.
“I suppose you start out every year hoping that the team will do well. The year before, 1989, did not go well for us but this was a new year, a new management team in place and Cork is Cork, you are always hopeful.
“The year, as it turned out, was a bit of a rollercoaster. The Canon, Gerald McCarthy, and the selectors, Frank (Murphy), Denis Hurley and Liam Ó Tuama, were positive people anyway and we bought into that.
“Tomás (Mulcahy) was the captain after the Glen won the county in 1989 and I remember that year they beat us in Milford by just a point in the first round.
“We had a very good backroom team and they meant business. We started training in October of ’89 which was unusual but it was fairly punishing.
“But there was a great atmosphere at training, you had Frank Cogan and the Kid Cronin as our masseurs, they were very good, Frank had seen it all with the footballers and you always had great banter with the Kid."
O’Gorman was at pains to stress the influence of Canon O’Brien and Gerald McCarthy.
“Both were hugely influential, they had a winning mentality, they had been there before, Gerald as a great player, the Canon as a person well known for his motivational skills and getting the best out of an individual.
“He would instill belief into you if you were down a bit after maybe a poor outing.
“The players just bought into their thinking, Frank Murphy was very good too, arranging everything and it all made for a positive attitude around the camp.’’
O’Gorman believed the influence of Tomás Mulcahy as captain was big too.
“It was, he had a good way about him, he mixed well with the lads, with the board, he led us well out on the field.
“I suppose people’s expectations of us that year were not great after what happened in 1989 but it gradually came together.
“The Munster final against Tipperary was the big game, going in as underdogs against the country’s best team from the previous year.
“I think what happened before the final was important. There was something going on in Páirc Uí Chaoimh so our training was moved to Ballinlough.
“I think going up there made a difference, we played a lot of internal matches there, backs against forwards and that hardened us up quite a bit.
“Ballinlough certainly played a part that year.’’
The Milford man has a clear recall of how things panned out that Sunday in Thurles when Tipp were dethroned as Munster and All-Ireland champions.
“Yes, we started well, then things went a bit against us but we got back into the game and we finished very strong.
“Mark (Foley) made the difference on the scoresheet, he had a day of days, got 2-7 from play and I remember the Cork crowd really got behind us that Sunday.
“People might have been surprised but you must remember we had a hardcore of players with All-Ireland medals from 1986 on the team.
“You had All-Ireland medal winners and that made a difference, particularly in the final against Galway.’’
And the final against a Galway team that had so many All-Ireland heroes from 1987 and 1988 on duty.
“It was a very intense game. We did not have a good first-half and we got a fair drilling from the management at the break.
“There was a big wind that day and we got going with it, getting under the puck-outs, Ger Cunningham’s puck-outs were massive and, of course, we got the goals.
“You were fairly wrecked afterward, it was that type of game. But the training we had done stood to us.
“We had great guys on that team, players like Brendie Sullivan, Kieran McGuckin, a fierce determination too that worked and it was a case of gelling together.’’
The win, of course, led the way for the footballers a fortnight later.
“It did and there was a great bond that developed between both sets of players. Most of us were at the football final against Meath.
“Look, it was a very special time and you were so glad to have been part of it.
“And as I said, the year was a rollercoaster. The league back then had three games before Christmas and we had one bad day in Nowlan Park against Wexford. I think that day our forwards got only one point from play. But we knuckled down thereafter under the Canon and Gerald.
“It was really a huge team effort, both on and off the field and while it’s 30 years ago now you still have good memories of great days and the bonds of friendship that were formed.
“We trained hard and it all came right, both for us and for the footballers.’’