The Leeside legends series: Teddy McCarthy was the dual in Cork’s crown

The Leeside legends series: Teddy McCarthy was the dual in Cork’s crown
Teddy McCarthy, Cork gathers the ball against Galway in 1990. Pictur: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE.

THE role of the dual hurler and footballer has diminished in recent years but the numerous stirring displays by Teddy McCarthy in both codes will never be forgotten.

Teddy battling Armagh in a league game at Croke Park.
Teddy battling Armagh in a league game at Croke Park.

Teddy who comes originally from Glanmire was born in 1965 and attended the Brooklodge National School in his home parish before attending the North Monastery for his secondary school education.

McCarthy began his playing career at Sarsfields, and it was at the tender age of 15 that he won his first major hurling championship when he starred with the North Mon when winning the Dr Harty Cup in 1980.

Disappointment followed for Teddy in the next two Harty Cup finals when the Mon lost both deciders.

The dual skills of Teddy came to the fore in 1982 when he was part of the Cork Minor Hurling and Football teams that were crowned All-Ireland champions as his class oozed through in both championships.

Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE
Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE

McCarthy then went on win consecutive All-Ireland U21 football medals in 1984, 85 and 1986.

The following two years saw Cork lose consecutive All-Ireland finals to Meath but in 1989, Teddy was back on the winner’s podium when Cork defeated Mayo.

In the same season, McCarthy also helped Cork win the league whilst also picking up a Football All-Star and was also named as won the football Texaco Sports Star.

Just when McCarthy thought it couldn’t get any better, the year of 1990 was one that Teddy reached the Holy Grail when Cork won both hurling and football All Ireland finals as he played a pivotal role in both games.

The following year of 1991 was a barren one for Cork but in 1992, he bounced back to help Cork reach the All-Ireland hurling final against Kilkenny.

Picture: INPHO
Picture: INPHO

On the football side, Cork were defeated by Derry in the 1993 decider and there was further heartbreak for Teddy two years later when Cork were defeated by Dublin in the semi-final.

In 1996, Teddy decided to hang up his boots in football and a year later, the curtain came down on his hurling career when they were humiliated by Limerick in the Munster championship.

Despite McCarthy’s incredible inter-county career, the only club title he won was when Glanmire won the 1987 Intermediate football championship.

There is little doubt McCarthy had a glittering career but with the present back door system, he reckons it would be a near impossibility to play both codes if he were still playing.

“It was hard enough when we had to win four games to win an All-Ireland, but nowadays a team coming through the back-door system could play up to eight games,” said Teddy.

During his career, McCarthy faced tough opponents and he singled out Meath’s Gerry McEntee and Liam Hayes as his toughest opponents on a football field.

Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE
Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE

Joe Hayes got his vote as his toughest hurling opponent, but McCarthy was quick to point out that all players are committed when they don the county jersey.

After playing his entire career with Sarsfields, Teddy got involved with coaching at the club for a number of years and thanked his great friend, Glanmire businessman Eddie O’Connell, for being a true friend during his years playing with club and county.

Teddy has his own special place in GAA history as being the only winner of hurling and football All-Ireland medals in the one year — a feat that may never be repeated.

Teddy has two sons Cian (31) who also represented Cork at various levels, and Niall (27) who plays his club hurling and football with Passage, and daughter Sinead (21).

After winning three All-Ireland U21 football medals, two All-Ireland Senior football and hurling medals, it is little wonder that Teddy will always be remembered as one of the greatest dual stars this country has produced in the last 70 years.

FACTFILE: 

Picture: Des Barry
Picture: Des Barry
  • Teddy McCarthy was born in 1965 and won his only club medal with Glanmire who clinched the 1987 Cork Intermediate Football championship.
  • McCarthy is the holder of three consecutive All Ireland U21 football medals between 1984 and 1986.
  • He retired from competitive football in 1996 and a year later bowed out of the hurling scene.
  • McCarthy toured Australia in 1986 with Ireland for the Compromise Rules series.
  • The Sars club man won a minor All-Ireland double in 1982.
  • Teddy won senior All-Ireland hurling and football medals in 1990 the only player in the history of the GAA to achieve this feat.

    High-flying action from Thurles in 1987. Picture: Des Barry
    High-flying action from Thurles in 1987. Picture: Des Barry

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