John Horgan's All-Star northside and southside Cork club hurling teams

John Horgan's All-Star northside and southside Cork club hurling teams

Blackrock forward Alan Browne on the attack against Avondu back in the day. He would also be leading the line for our Southside dream team. Picture: Des Barry

THERE has always been a healthy hurling rivalry, and maybe sometimes not so healthy, between the Northside and Southside.

Bragging rights have always been of paramount importance, the Glen against the Barrs, the Rockies against Na Piarsaigh and so on.

So what would it have been like if you pitted one against the other, the best hurlers from North of the Lee against the best 15 from the Southside.

This imaginary game would feature players from the past five-odd decades.

Firstly, of course, it would be near impossible to get it right because in the time span that we are selecting from, there has been an endless list of hurling greats from both sides of the divide.

Action from the 1973 final at the Athletic Grounds between Glen Rovers and Blackrock, including Martin O'Doherty, Ray Cummins and Eamonn O'Donoghue.
Action from the 1973 final at the Athletic Grounds between Glen Rovers and Blackrock, including Martin O'Doherty, Ray Cummins and Eamonn O'Donoghue.

So, with a little help from one or two colleagues, this is what we came up with.

Let’s start with the 15 from the Northside.

In goal, we’d have Paddy Barry from St Vincent’s, Cork’s All-Ireland winning captain in 1970.

There would be strong opposition from Finbarr O’Neill of the Glen, Frank Sullivan too, but the Vincent’s netminder gets a slight nod.

Right corner-back we’d have Denis Riordan from the Glen, as tough a defender as we have ever laid eyes on.

Alongside him it would have to be Martin O'Doherty, a prince of hurling full-backs who always led by example and put the shackles on the likes of Tony Doran and Joe McKenna.

On the left, and this might come as a surprise, we’d have Pat O’Connor from Brian Dillon’s. Injury robbed him of an All-Ireland medal in ’66 but that should not lessen his defensive abilities of that time.

John Gardiner would be at right half-back — no argument there, after his exploits in 2004 and 2005.

Jerry O’Sullivan from the Glen would be our choice at centre-back, a classy defender who was a star in ‘66 and of many great Glen victories.

On the left we’d have Seán Óg Ó hAilpín, a hurling artist who gave so much to club and county.

In the middle of the field we’d have one from the Glen and one from Na Piarsaigh, Denis Coughlan and Tony O’Sullivan, two more pure hurling men.

In the half-forward sector, John Fitzgibbon would have to be included, a forward of immense talent and versatility who conjured up great scores.

Pat Horgan from the Glen, not the present one, was a great hurler too for club and county, he’d be on the 40 while on the left we’d have Barry Egan from Delanys, who was always a classy operator.

Barry Egan and Mick Daly breaking past Clare's Ollie Baker. Picture: Dan Linehan
Barry Egan and Mick Daly breaking past Clare's Ollie Baker. Picture: Dan Linehan

In the full-forward line, Tomás Mulcahy would have to be an automatic choice, a star for the Glen in their ’89 triumph and a fine Cork captain a year later.

In the other corner, we’d include Richie McDonnell from Na Piarsaigh. He might not have been a natural forward but he was a great Piarsaigh contributor of great honesty.

And at number 14, Patrick Horgan has to be automatic too.

We are omitting great hurlers like Seanie McGrath, Paul O’Connor, Johnny Buckley, Christy Connery, Christy Coughlan, Micky and Mark Mullins, and Teddy O’Brien.

Their inclusion would be merited but you have only 15 places.

NORTHSIDE 15: P Barry (St Vincent’s); D Riordan (Glen), M O'Doherty (Glen), P O’Connor (Brian Dillons); J Gardiner (Na Piarsaigh), J O’Sullivan (Glen), S Óg Ó hAilpín (Na Piarsaigh); T O’Sullivan (Na Piarsaigh), D Coughlan (Glen); J Fitzgibbon (Glen), Pat Horgan (Glen), B Egan (Brian Dillons); T Mulcahy (Glen), Patrick Horgan (Glen), R McDonnell (Na Piarsaigh).

Na Piarsaigh defender John Gardiner tries to escape out of defence against Sarsfields. Picture: Des Barry
Na Piarsaigh defender John Gardiner tries to escape out of defence against Sarsfields. Picture: Des Barry

Now to the Southside team.

Ger Cunningham would be automatic between the sticks with Johnny Crowley from Bishopstown at right corner-back.

Tony Maher from the Barrs gets the number three jersey, none better, while John Horgan from the Rockies has to be on the left.

In the half-back line few could argue with the choice of Dermot McCurtain from the Rockies on the right, Ronan Curran from the Barrs is at six and Tom Cashman on the other flank. 

Dermot McCurtain clears the sliotar for Cork against Clare. 
Dermot McCurtain clears the sliotar for Cork against Clare. 

All three would comprise some back unit but Con Roche would have to be a huge challenger.

At midfield we’d have two Rockies men, Frank Cummins and Jim Cashman, again there could be few arguments on that score.

In the half-forward line, you would have to include Jimmy Barry-Murphy and Gerald McCarthy. No dissenting voices there surely.

On the left, we are including the Rockies’ Pat Moylan, an outstanding player of his era.

Cork's Pat Moylan scoring a vital league goal in the final minute against Galway at Ballinasloe in 1980. Picture: Denis Minihane
Cork's Pat Moylan scoring a vital league goal in the final minute against Galway at Ballinasloe in 1980. Picture: Denis Minihane

To the full-forward line and again there could be no argument with the choice of Charlie McCarthy and the great Ray Cummins. Having those iconic hurlers available for those positions made it a fairly simple task.

At left full-forward, the Rockies’ Alan Browne gets the nod.

Again, as with the Northside team, you are leaving out outstanding hurlers: Fergal Ryan, Wayne Sherlock, John Allen, Dinny Allen, Eamon O’Donoghue, John Cremin, John Blake, Seamus Looney, Eoin and Alan Cadogan, and Denis Murphy.

You could, of course, come up with a completely different 15 altogether.

SOUTHSIDE 15: G Cunningham (St Finbarr’s); J Crowley (Bishopstown), T Maher (St Finbarr’s), J Horgan (Rockies); D McCurtain (Rockies), R Curran (St Finbarr’s), T Cashman (Rockies); J Cashman (Rockies), F Cummins (Rockies); J Barry-Murphy (St Finbarr’s), G McCarthy (St Finbarr’s), P Moylan (Rockies); C McCarthy (Barrs), R Cummins (Rockies), A Browne (Rockies).

In our mind’s eye and in our imaginary world we could see those two selections going up against each other up the ’Dyke some Saturday night.

What an occasion it would be and the place would be bursting at the seams just like it used to be in days now long past.

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