The Leeside Legends series: Dermot MacCurtain was Rock solid for the Rebels

The Leeside Legends series: Dermot MacCurtain was Rock solid for the Rebels
Dermot MacCurtain on the ball for the Rebels in the 1984 All-Ireland final victory over Offaly at Thurles.

WHEN the name of Dermot MacCurtain is mentioned in hurling circles, it is invariably accompanied by comments about his stunning displays for Cork and Blackrock during the '70s and '80s.

Dermot began his hurling and football career with the Dublin Hill club Delanys and played with them up to the age of 17.

“I have very fond memories of playing with Delanys as they were great people involved with the club and I had to make the choice because I was living in Blackrock and, with no regrets, I did it,” McCurtain recalled.

1974 is a year that will live long in Dermot’s memory as this was year that he got his first taste of success and he did it on the double at schools and at inter-county level.

Coláiste Iognaid Rís better known as Sullivan’s Quay CBS had a historic double when they won the Dr Harty Cup and Corn Uí Mhuirí the Colleges senior hurling and football titles respectively.

In the same year Dermot showed his class when helping Cork win the All-Ireland hurling and football minor double.

“It was the first time that the school won the Harty Cup which would have made it a very special year, but then when we won the Munster Schools Senior football final against St Brendan’s Killarney, it was an incredible double.

“What a way to end the year, but to win a double with Cork in the minor hurling and football was incredible and that was a very special year in my young career,” said Dermot.

The following year was also a good one for MacCurtain as Blackrock had a clean sweep in the minor grade and he was also part of the Cork U21 All-Ireland winning team.

His skills soon saw him brought into the Blackrock senior team and in 1975 he won his Cork County Senior hurling championship when they defeated Glen Rovers in the final.

There were plenty of more medals to follow with further victories in 1978, 1979, and 1985 plus two All-Ireland club titles.

MacCurtain should have made it into the Cork senior hurling team that year, but a broken thumb interrupted his progress.

In 1977 his dream came true of winning a senior All-Ireland medal as Cork defeated Wexford in the decider.

The following year, 1978, was very much a pressure one for Cork hurling as they were bidding to complete a hat-trick of titles against Kilkenny.

“The Cats were really fired up to deny us out three in a row, but we luckily lifted our game and ended up champions again.”

The Cork team that lost to Galway in 1979. Back: Tim Crowley, Ray Cummins, Martin O'Doherty, Jimmy Barry-Murphy, Johnny Crowley, Brian Murphy, Denis Coughlan. Front: Charlie McCarthy, Tom Cashman, Martin Coleman, John Horgan, Pat Moylan, Gerald McCarthy, Dermot MacCurtain, John Fenton.
The Cork team that lost to Galway in 1979. Back: Tim Crowley, Ray Cummins, Martin O'Doherty, Jimmy Barry-Murphy, Johnny Crowley, Brian Murphy, Denis Coughlan. Front: Charlie McCarthy, Tom Cashman, Martin Coleman, John Horgan, Pat Moylan, Gerald McCarthy, Dermot MacCurtain, John Fenton.

Cork hurling went through a few lean years after that win and Dermot had to wait until 1984 for his next senior medal.

“I was relieved that we won and so pleased for my friend Tom Cashman who captained the team on the day and again when we needed to fire we produced a good brand of hurling.”

Two years later MacCurtain won his fourth and final All-Ireland medal against Galway which ended a truly remarkable inter-county career on a high note.

Dermot disagrees with many GAA pundits that the present generation of hurlers are far fitter than during his time playing.

“I get annoyed when I am told that players in my time were only half fit, because the truth is we were very fit and trained very hard.

“Do not get me wrong there is some fabulous players in Ireland, but in my book when we played there was a much higher level of striking.”

It is evident MacCurtain got a lot of pleasure during his club and inter-county career, but the greatest satisfaction for him was winning for the Cork supporters.

“I could not believe the crowd that turned up at Thurles for the 2003 Munster hurling final against Waterford.

“It showed me that our fans deserve a good hurling team and I have to be honest I always enjoyed the support I got when playing for our county.”

Dermot is still residing in Blackrock with his wife Patricia and they were blessed with three children.

The former Blackrock star will never forget the support he got from his father Pat and Cork supporters will forever hold memories of the brilliance that Dermot produced during his career.

Dermot MacCurtain celebrates Cork's win over Offaly in 1984.
Dermot MacCurtain celebrates Cork's win over Offaly in 1984.

FACTFILE

Dermot MacCurtain played with Delanys up to the age of 17 before moving to Blackrock and switching clubs as consequence.

MacCurtain won a Harty Cup and Corn Uí Mhuirí double while playing for Coláiste Iognaid Rís in 1974.

Dermot won his fourth and final All-Ireland senior medal in 1986 when Cork defeated Galway.

He is the holder of eight Munster Senior championship hurling medals as well.

MacCurtain won a total of four senior championship medals with Blackrock and two All-Ireland club titles.

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