AFTER a heated debated over the best Cork hurlers since 1970, Mark Woods was given the job of assembling a Rebel football dream team across the same period.
Spanning 50 years, he was never going to satisfy all the football faithful and to be fair to the long-serving Echo football correspondent, he covered every era from the '73 heroes like Billy Morgan, Kevin Kehilly and Declan Barron up to Graham Canty and Pa Kelly from 2010's success.
This was Mark's 15: B Morgan (Nemo Rangers); K Kehilly (Newcestown), C Corrigan (Macroom), B Murphy (Nemo Rangers); G Canty (Bantry Blues), S O’Brien (Nemo Rangers), N Cahalane (Castlehaven); S Fahy (Nemo Rangers), D Barron (Bantry Blues); T McCarthy (Glanmire), L Tompkins (Castlehaven), P Kelly (Ballincollig); D Allen (Nemo Rangers), R Cummins (St Michael’s), J Barry-Murphy (St Finbarr’s).
A few fan-favourites were missing though, most notably Anthony Lynch, the tenacious, athletic corner-back who served from the late '90s through to 2009 when injury forced him to retire, and Colin Corkery, the towering forward who specialised in booming points from angles most other wouldn't even attempt to split the posts.
Gavin Cumiskey, who played senior football in Cork with Ballincollig and won All-Ireland club medals up front from his native Crossmaglen, summed it up succinctly in relation to Corkery.
Irish Examiner columnist Kieran Shannon made all-action Urhan wing-back Ciarán O'Sullivan an automatic, regardless of his failure to lift Sam Maguire. It was something a share of the voters agreed with.
After we asked for your votes this was the team, those who contacted us on social media and email assembled:
CORK FANS' 15:
Steven O'Brien, Graham Canty, Anthony Lynch;
Ciarán O'Sullivan, Conor Counihan, Mick Solcum;
Shea Fahy, Nicholas Murphy;
Declan Barron, Larry Tompkins, Joe Kavanagh;
Dinny Allen, Colin Corkery, Jimmy Barry-Murphy.
The lads from Glenbower Veterinary surmised the difficulty of accessing a best of across 50 years when many didn't see the heroes from 1973.
However, as Derek Hayes tweeted, there was always going to be a bias towards the back-to-back All-Ireland winning team.
Yet there's still a very good blend of footballers from the various periods included. Some of the picks were marginal, with only a couple of votes in it between Billy Morgan and the late John Kerins in goal, Nicholas Murphy and Teddy Mac at midfield and Niall Cahalane and Mick Slocum in defence.
Laurence Hickey made a persuasive case for Slocum.
Shifting Steven O'Brien to corner-back, where he started his career, and Graham Canty to the edge of the square allowed Conor Counihan and O'Sullivan to come into the half-back line. Declan Barron was at midfield in Woods' team but half-forward here.
Overall there were eight changes. In came Kerins, Lynch, O'Sullivan, Counihan, Slocum, Nick Murphy, Kavanagh and Corkery for Morgan, Kehilly, Corrigan, Brian Murphy, Cahalane, Teddy Mac, Pa Kelly and Ray Cummins.
Both Colm O'Neills, Ballyclough and Midleton, got a decent portion of votes, as did Davie Barry, who like Dinny Allen and Jimmy Barry-Murphy, but more famously, was a fine soccer player as well as a tasty football forward.
Patrick Murphy emailed his team and also a breakdown of the trickiest calls he had to make, along with a subs bench. Hard to argue with anyone going to those lengths.
Murphy explained: "Given that’s it 20-plus game now I will add the subs. Most difficult choices were at full-back Kevin Kehily v Colman Corrigan, at centre-back between Steven O’Brien and Conor Counihan and at midfield between Teddy Mac, Shay Fahy and Nicholas Murphy to partner Denis Long.
"Long was out best kick-passer of a football ever from midfield.
"Up front we had some superstars over the year and I can't fit them all in. However Joe Kavanagh, Dave Barry and Donncha O’Connor but would be super subs to spring from the bench.
TEAM: Billy Morgan; Niall Cahalane, Kevin Kehilly, Anthony Lynch; Ciaran O’Sullivan, Steven O’Brien, Graham Canty; Denis Long, Shea Fahy; Dinny Allen, Declan Barron, Larry Tompkins; Jimmy Barry-Murphy, Ray Cummins, Colin Corkery.
Subs: John Kerins, Colman Corrigan, Conor Counihan, Teddy McCarthy, Nicholas Murphy, Joe Kavanagh, Donnacha O’Connor, Dave Barry."
Echo football analyst Barry O'Donovan went with:
Brian Cotter's team:
John Mullaney opted for:
John O'Connor's 15:
Aidan O'Connell's selection was:
Liam Crowley, Ballyhea, has followed the footballers' fortunes for some time. His line-up is:
"1. B Morgan; 2. N Cahalane, 3. C Corrigan, 4. K Kehilly; 5. G Canty, 6. C Counihan 7. S O'Brien; 8. D Long, 9. S Fahy; 10. J Kavanagh, 11. L Tompkins, 12. D Barron; 13. JBM, 14. R Cummins, 15. C Corkery."