Podsie O’Mahony’s brilliance in leading the line for Ballincollig was underrated

Podsie O’Mahony’s brilliance in leading the line for Ballincollig was underrated
Cork's Podsie O'Mahony in action against Paul Curran and Keith Galvin, Dublin, in the 1999 league final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Aoife Rice/SPORTSFILE

CORK hurling purists love to sneer at the big ball game, but you can sure in the current climate they’d be only delighted to watch the Cork footballers break their hearts in a Munster championship loss to Kerry.

Granted, hurling is a more explosive and skillful sport, but there are plenty of footballers that electrify too. A flowing, attack-minded game of football is a simple pleasure.

In keeping with a Twitter request to select our favourite footballers, we’re breaking that down into a top-four from Leeside and the best of the rest.

To keep things interesting, there’s a self-imposed limit on the number of Ballincollig footballers I can select. Otherwise, Village bias would lead to a Cork favourite four of Podsie O’Mahony, Johnny Miskella, Pa Kelly and Fergal Keohane.

Selecting just one from Ballincollig, Podsie O’Mahony is the choice. A terrific dual player underage, he focused on football to capture minor and U21 All-Irelands in Rebel red but missed out on Sam Maguire when Meath beat Cork in 1999.

Cork's Podsie O'Mahony gets away from Paddy Reynolds of Meath in the 1999 All-Ireland football final at Croke Park. Picture: INPHO/Patrick Bolger
Cork's Podsie O'Mahony gets away from Paddy Reynolds of Meath in the 1999 All-Ireland football final at Croke Park. Picture: INPHO/Patrick Bolger

As a hurler, he led the line for Ballincollig to an intermediate county title and had the skill in both codes to produce scores from any angle.

With a brilliant right foot, he was usually deployed as an inside forward for Ballincollig, often alongside Fergal Keohane. In ‘99 he was unmarkable for the club when they blitzed Carrigdhoun, Carbery and Castlehaven to reach the county semi-final, but was still ripping it up by 2010.

It’s a pity Cork generally kept him on the wing and he opted out of the inter-county scene after a 2001 qualifier loss to Galway but he’d a host of memorable games for the Collig for the next decade. 

O'Mahony gave everything to the cause and could turn his marker inside out before splitting the posts. This season he's the manager of the club's seniors.

Joining him in our Cork top-four are Anthony Lynch, Colin Corkery and Donncha O’Connor.

Lynch was one of the best Rebel defenders of all-time and had epic duels with Colm Cooper, while Colin Corkery and Donncha O’Connor delivered for their county but also at club level.

John Crowley has his shot blocked by Anthony Lynch in the 1999 Munster final. Picture: INPHO/Patrick Bolger
John Crowley has his shot blocked by Anthony Lynch in the 1999 Munster final. Picture: INPHO/Patrick Bolger

Some of Corkery’s booming points for Cork in 2002 were staggering. In the last 30 years, Nemo have produced so many good forwards, including Joe Kavanagh, Paul Kerrigan, James Masters and Luke Connolly, but Corkery reigns supreme.

O’Connor was robbed of an All-Star in 2010, coming up with the key plays in the All-Ireland semi and final and was still shining for Ballydesmond and Duhallow last season in his late ‘30s. He's a penalty specialist, a reliable ball-winner and expert shooter.

Ballydesmond's Donncha O'Connor fires a point last season. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Ballydesmond's Donncha O'Connor fires a point last season. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

For my picks from the rest of the country, the pure ballers dominate, Joyce, McDonald, Mulligan, but Tomás Ó Sé deserves special mention as it took a lot to include a Kerryman! 

Ó Sé broke Rebel hearts time and again in green and gold but his marauding runs down the flanks, his innate timing to hoover up breaking ball and his raking kick-passing made him a terrific player. 

Tomás Ó Sé on the move for Kerry in Killarney. Picture: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE
Tomás Ó Sé on the move for Kerry in Killarney. Picture: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE

FAVOURITE CORK FOOTBALLERS: 

REST OF IRELAND FOOTBALLERS: 

Pádraig Joyce; Ciarán McDonald; Owen Mulligan; Tomás Ó Sé

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