WITH much of sport in hibernation, we’ve created a series of bouts between some of Cork’s greatest sports people over the past 50 years:.
These contests are never going to happen in reality, but we thought you might enjoy letting your imaginations run wild, pitting their various qualities and achievements against each other.
There is of course no definitive answer, but your opinion is as good as anyone else’s. And it’s a great opportunity to celebrate the best of Cork sport.
It’s a bit of fun for sports fans, and we have a huge population of those, and a chance for you to express your admiration for the unbelievable array of stars we have across all sports.
We could have picked hundreds of more entrants but for now we decided to keep the field compact. If you like it, we might give it another go in due course with a completely different field of contestants.
Picking the best from among the amazing Cork sports people of the last 50 years is a tough task, a mission impossible of sorts given the high standards set by Leesiders in every code, nationally and internationally.
That's where we need your help.
Each day we'll be putting forward two outstanding athletes for you to choose between. It begins on Monday, February 1 with Peter Stringer against Dave Barry and across February the original 32 candidates will be trimmed to 16, and eventually our ultimate winner.
Voting is a bit more straightforward than the US Presidential race: just log onto our website, Echolive.ie, to have your say each day.
How did we decide who was eligible? This is Cork we're talking about, not just your run of the mill county, so even shortening it to 32 candidates was a challenge for The Echo crew.
Sonia, Roy, Jimmy, O'Gara, Irwin, Briege, Rena, Rob, Seán Óg, Stringer... those sporting stars identifiable by just one part of their name are obvious options.
Our team of contributors used a few criteria to nominate some more contenders.
The likes of Larry Tompkins and John Caulfield didn't spend their formative years in Cork so they weren't considered for this exercise. However, Seán Óg Ó hAilpín, who moved to Cork at the age of 10, was, along with Ronan O'Gara, who was born in the US.
We looked at former players or athletes, in terms of being retired from the elite level of their chosen sport, which meant Rena Buckley and Briege Corkery were in, but Simon Zebo, Denise O'Sullivan, Patrick Horgan, Davy Russell and Peter O'Mahony weren't.
That’s not to say any of those wouldn't win a competition to name Cork’s greatest sports stars.
Our 32 contenders, nominated by our panel of writers, were placed in alphabetical order, with number one paired with 32, number two with 31, and so on.
1. Dave Barry v 32. Peter Stringer.
2. Orla Barry v 31. Sonia O'Sullivan.
3. Jimmy Barry-Murphy v 30. Marcus O'Sullivan.
4. Alan Bennett v 29. Derval O'Rourke.
5. Rena Buckley v 28. Jonjo O'Neill.
6. Billy Coleman v 27. Ronan O'Gara.
7. Brian Corcoran v 26. Mary O'Connor.
8. Briege Corkery v 25. Seán Óg Ó hAilpín.
9. Claire Coughlan v 24. Ray Murphy.
10. Damien Delaney v 23. Juliet Murphy.
11. Sandy Fitzgibbon v 22. Billy Morgan.
12. Caroline Forde v 21. Linda Mellerick.
13. Rob Heffernan v 20. Teddy McCarthy.
14. Denis Irwin v 19. Olive Loughnane.
15. Kieran Joyce v 18. Donal Lenihan.
16. Roy Keane v 17. Rachel Kohler.
Let the games begin - on paper at least, and in our sports-hungry imaginations! Vote for your favourite and we’ll wish everyone the best of luck.