WITH so many clubs to choose from, quite a few of them Cork senior winners in the recent past, a lot more major contributors to Imokilly’s three in a row, selecting 15 of the best from East Cork is simply an impossible task.
Going down this road is very dodgy because you are not going to get approval from everybody, but with the GAA fields empty, it is just an exercise to create a bit of fireside debate.
Anybody who takes it seriously in these stressful times should not do so.
And for every selection, there are two, three, four alternatives who could do an equally fine job.
Being from such a large division with so many clubs there is no hope of getting everything right.
So we will try our best.
Donal Óg Cusack would have to be the number one, for club and county and for the longevity of his career plus the vast contribution to Cork in 1999, 2004, and 2005, he was an outstanding custodian with great vision, Ger Power from Midleton would be a fine reserve keeper.
In the right corner we have chosen Denis Mulcahy, a no-frills defender who is a massive contributor for Cork and Midleton’s emergence as one of the best club sides in the country.
At full-back, Diarmuid O’Sullivan has to be the choice. An inspirational presence, with his bursts out of defence and long deliveries he had the ability to raise the game of all those around him.
At left corner-back Brian Murphy from Bride Rovers has to be included. One of the most consistent defenders around, he was a wonderful man marker and proved himself at every level.
At right wing-back, it’s a toss-up between Denis Walsh and Pat Hartnett. Both would fit the bill with ease with the Midleton man just shading it.
Centre back has no arguments, Brian Corcoran has to be an automatic choice. A major contributor to Erin’s Own’s breakthrough in 1992, he was a Cork captain while still a teenager, one of the greatest players of all time.
We are going back to the 1960s for the left wing-back slot with Paddy Fitzgerald from Midleton getting the nod. He was a standout player for Cork in 1966 and one of the great Midleton players from any era.
John Fenton from Midleton gets the first of the midfield slots. A pure hurler, he was a star of so many great club victories and he was a master craftsman with his directness.
Alongside him, we have to include Teddy McCarthy from Sars. A powerful hurler for club and county and his ability to pluck the ball from the skies was just a wonderful sight.
To the forwards and it gets even more difficult. Who to include and who to leave out? You could find a dozen players whose selection could be justified.
Here goes, at right half-forward Seamus Harnedy gets the nod as a three-time winning captain of Imokilly, he has been a terrific leader of that team.
In the centre we are going with the teak-tough Willie Walsh from Youghal. His fearlessness marked him out as a great hurler and when he got possession it spelt big danger for the opposition defence.
Carrigtwohill’s Niall McCarthy (above) gets the other wing forward slot. A major contributor to Carrigtwohill’s never to be forgotten win in the 2011 Cork county final, he was an inspirational figure on that day in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. He did so much that day in a fairytale victory.
Joe Deane gets the first of the inside forward slots. A hurling artist, small in stature but a giant on the field for both Killeagh and Cork.
At full-forward we will go for Kevin Hennessy, another Midleton great who played such a huge role in their glory days. He had the ability to lay off for others to score.
In the other corner it’s a toss up between Seanie O’ Leary from Youghal and Conor Lehane from Midleton.
Lehane’s 2-10 in Midleton’s 2013 county final win might get him the nod but O’Leary was one of the great corner-forwards of his time.
I’m cheating by putting both in for now. Maybe a half each!
In naming those 15 we are leaving out greats like Tom O’ Donoghue, Donal Clifford, Paddy Hegarty, Ger Fitzgerald, John Considine, Mark Landers, Micky O’Connell, Timmy McCarthy, Kieran ‘Fraggie’ Murphy, Conor O‘ Sullivan, Daniel Kearney, Noel Gallagher, and the great Fr Seanie Barry from Bride Rovers and so many more.
So anyone omitted please don’t take offence, but there will always be differences of opinion in selecting these types of teams as we have seen down through the years with All-Star selections on the national stage.
East Cork has always been a hotbed of hurling with so many great players from so many clubs gracing the playing fields. Anybody who might like to select their own teams please feel free to submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
EAST CORK ALL-STAR 15: Donal Óg Cusack (Cloyne); Dennis Mulcahy (Midleton), Diarmuid O’Sullivan (Cloyne), Brian Murphy (Bride Rovers), Pat Hartnett (Midleton), Brian Corcoran (Erin’s Own), Paddy Fitzgerald (Midleton); John Fenton (Midleton), Teddy McCarthy (Sars); Seamus Harnedy (St Ita’s), Willie Walsh (Youghal), Niall McCarthy (Carrigtwohill); Joe Deane (Killeagh), Kevin Hennessy (Midleton), Seanie O’Leary (Youghal) or Conor Lehane (Midleton).