Dave Barry or Peter Stringer: Vote for your favourite Rebel Legend

The Echo wants you to help pick the best Cork sports star since 1970 to be in with a chance to win a €200 voucher
Dave Barry or Peter Stringer: Vote for your favourite Rebel Legend

Have your say in our Echo Rebel Legends polls.

PETER Stringer or Dave Barry? 

The Echo is running a fun contest from here until March 11 where you can vote for your favourite Cork stars since 1970 and pick the winners in each round until we're left with an overall Rebel Legend winner.

There are 32 contenders, with the brilliant former Munster and Ireland scrumhalf Stringer against Cork football and Cork City hero Barry to start.

The poll will be open until 8am on Tuesday morning.

Here's the case for each of the Leeside stars.

PETER STRINGER

IT was former photographic colleague Des Barry who first noticed the trend.

Time and again Peter Stringer would be centre-frame in last-gasp corner-flag tackles, often using his trademark ankle-tap to take down players in full stride.

It was something the scrum-half first became noted for during his junior and senior cup exploits with PBC and then with UCC, where he was developing into a top level performer.

Stringer never allowed his size become an excuse for not tackling opponents, whether bulky forwards or speedy backs.

It was just another important element to his play, which featured all the characteristics of a high-class scrum-half.

Stringer’s quick, long, and accurate passing off the base of a scrum or ruck stood out immediately, ensuring his out-half operated with a silver service.

It was his all-round game which attracted the attentions of Shannon, then the most powerful club side in the country.

Unbeknown to everyone, the famous Limerick club, who were the dominant force in the All-Ireland League, had their eyes on Stringer during his time with UCC.

Brian O’Brien, club stalwart and later Munster and Ireland manager, made the approach to the young scrum-half about joining Shannon and Stringer duly signed up.

The late Anthony Foley used to recall Stringer’s first training session, when the newcomer wouldn’t be slow in ensuring the forwards did what he required of them, verbally and physically encouraging them to meet his demands.

Such was Stringer’s progress that he made his Munster debut in 1998 as a 20-year-old and spent 15 years with the province.

He formed a reliable half-back partnership with Ronan O’Gara as Munster embarked on a European Cup voyage that captured the imagination of not only the province, but the country and further afield, too.

There was the heartbreak of losing two finals to Northampton Saints at Twickenham and Leicester Tigers controversially in Cardiff, the day of the infamous Neil Back ‘Hand of God’ trick.

But, Stringer and Munster would duly enjoy their day in the sun and how fitting that the scrum-half played a leading role in the victory over Biarritz Olympique by scoring the second try in the 23-19 victory in 2006.

It’s a score forever etched in the minds of supporters, who can still recall Stringer catching out the French side by racing down the narrow side of a close-range scrum to dive over for a spectacular try.

Peter Stringer raises the Heineken Cup. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Peter Stringer raises the Heineken Cup. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Stringer was on the bench, understudy to Tomás O’Leary, for the second Heineken Cup title two years, adding to his medal haul, which included Celtic League successes in 2003 and 2011 as well as the Celtic Cup in 2005.

The number nine moved on from Munster, first on-loan to Saracens and Newcastle Falcons and then permanently to Bath, Sale, and Worcester, where he retired from the game, aged 40, in 2018.

Stringer won 98 caps for Ireland, debuting in 2000 against Scotland and finishing his international career against England, 11 years later.

It was a golden era in Irish rugby, crowned by a first Grand Slam since 1948, when the Stringer-O’Gara combination came up trumps with the famous drop-goal to seal victory against Wales at the Millennium Stadium in 2009.

Stringer was also involved in two World Cups in 2003 and '07.

DAVE BARRY

Last winter, the FAI launched a document outlining a strategy for the development of elite players from U13 upwards.

Effectively, it seeks to get talented youngsters to focus on soccer to such a degree that any other sports would be squeezed out. Such a move seems counter-intuitive and it would mean that people like Dave Barry wouldn’t be able to reach the heights that he did.

An All-Ireland medal winner at U21 level with Cork in 1980 and 1981, he had made his senior championship debut as a teenager in the 1980 campaign and was a fixture in the side until the end of 1986.

In tandem with that, he had become an integral part of the fledgling Cork City side, featuring from the club’s foundation in 1984, but a desire to continue playing both saw him discarded from the Cork panel for 1987.

He also missed the St Finbarr’s All-Ireland club win that spring – having featured in 1980 and 1981 victories – but, after defeat to Meath in the All-Ireland final that September, Cork manager Billy Morgan battled hard to reinstate Barry (and another multi-talented sportsman, Dinny Allen) for the 1988 campaign and was successful.

Dublin's Tommy Carr tracks Dave Barry of Cork in the 1989 All-Ireland football semi-final at Croke Park. Picture: INPHO
Dublin's Tommy Carr tracks Dave Barry of Cork in the 1989 All-Ireland football semi-final at Croke Park. Picture: INPHO

While Cork would again come up short against the Royals that year, success was just around the corner and in 1989 the county claimed the national league and brought Sam Maguire back to Leeside after a 16-year wait. It was almost a year of celebration on two fronts for Barry as he was part of the City side which lost to Derry City in the FAI Cup final replay – the scoreless first game had seen him hit the post.

In 1990, Cork retained the All-Ireland and Barry was nominated for an All-Star at centre-forward – captain Larry Tompkins was also a nominee at number 11 but he had played at midfield in the Munster final mauling of Kerry, with Barry displaying wizardry on the 40 that day.

While he retired from senior inter-county football after Cork’s loss to Kerry in 1991, if anything he became even more instrumental for Cork City. 

After the heartbreaking defeat to Dundalk in the 1991 title decider, City lost to Bohemians in the 1992 FAI Cup final but they finally made it to the promised land as the league was claimed in 1993, seeing off Bohemians and Shelbourne in a play-off.

The 1994-95 season saw Barry win his second League Cup medal with City – the first had come in 1987-88 – and then, when the late Rob Hindmarch was sacked in 1995-96, the midfielder became player-manager.

After his retirement from playing, he guided City to the club’s first FAI Cup win, beating Shelbourne after a replay in 1998, with a League Cup following the next season. Unfortunately, the league title remained elusive, with City finishing second in both 1998-99 and 1999-2000 before Barry passed the reins on to his assistant Liam Murphy.

It brought to an end two decades of unparalleled achievement across the two footballing codes.

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