Damien Delaney or Juliet Murphy: Vote for your favourite Rebel Legend

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Damien Delaney or Juliet Murphy: Vote for your favourite Rebel Legend

The Echo Rebel Legends started out with 32 sports people who shone on Leeside and beyond since 1970.

DAMIEN Delaney or Juliet Murphy? 

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 a soccer stalwart who reached the highest level in England and a ladies football figurehead paired off today

This poll will be open until 8am on Friday morning.

Here's the case for each of the Leeside stars and keep checking here for the updates on the winners in each round.

DAMIEN DELANEY

COMPARED with the tallies amassed elsewhere, a total of nine senior international caps for Damien Delaney is a woeful under-representation of a fine career.

Before coming to prominence as a soccer player, Delaney — whose father Finbarr played senior hurling for Cork — won a Munster minor football medal in 1999 and scored two goals in an All-Ireland semi-final loss to Mayo at Croke Park.

While his stationing as a defender in soccer meant goals weren’t as plentiful, he was no less effective.

Just a couple of months after making his league debut for Cork City in 2000, he was signed by Leicester City and would spend the next 18 years in England before returning home for a second stint at Turner’s Cross and a brief period at Waterford.

While he didn’t play much for Leicester and had three loan spells while at Filbert Street, the manager who signed him, Peter Taylor, brought him to Hull City in 2002.

Sometimes a victim of his own versatility, an extended spell at centre-back saw him win the club’s player of the year award for 2003-04, a season in which the Tigers secured the first of two consecutive promotions.

With his stock rising, Delaney joined Queens Park Rangers and then teamed up with Roy Keane at Ipswich Town, though injuries affected his time in Suffolk.

After leaving Portman Road, he joined Crystal Palace in 2012 on what was supposed to be a short-term deal, but he ended up staying there for six years, playing his best football as he made just short of 200 appearances.

Damien Delaney deserved more international caps. Picture: David Maher/SPORTSFILE
Damien Delaney deserved more international caps. Picture: David Maher/SPORTSFILE

After helping the club to reach the Premier League in his first season, Delaney was not at all fazed by the top flight and if anything he improved with age, earning an international recall in 2013, two years after his last appearance.

Unfortunately for him, opportunities to play for Ireland under Martin O’Neill were scarce thereafter, but the low figure of caps shouldn’t detract from his other achievements.

JULIET MURPHY

WHEN it comes to legends of ladies football, Cork star Juliet Murphy is up there with the best of them.

When the late Eamonn Ryan took over as coach of the side he picked Juliet to captain his side, knowing he had picked a leader, on and off the field.

Her relationship with Ryan was similar to the one Roy Keane had with Fergie in their glory days. Keane was Fergie’s on-field leader and often acted out the role of manager on the field pitch. Juliet did the same for Ryan but in a more subtle manner.

That shrewd bit of business by Ryan was one of the reasons the Cork went on to enjoy the success they did as Juliet led Cork to three All-Ireland titles and was part of the winning side eight times.

Add in 10 Munster titles and nine national league titles and you get some idea of the calibre of player that Juliet was. She also won six All-Star awards and the LGFA Players’ Player of the Year.

Juliet Murphy battles Amanda Casey, Monaghan. Picture: Paul Mohan/SPORTSFILE
Juliet Murphy battles Amanda Casey, Monaghan. Picture: Paul Mohan/SPORTSFILE

Since she first made her debut in 1996 against Kerry, the primary school teacher has been one of the team’s most important players, leaders and characters.

“I was just very fortunate to be part of such a unique bunch of girls and I will remember that feeling forever. You think of the enjoyment you get from winning.

“There is nothing that I can do in my life in the future that can compare to that feeling.

The sheer euphoria, the buzz, the excitement, you are with your friends and you are part of a great team. You are honoured to be in that situation for that moment of time and you never really want to lose that feeling.

“We have a never-say-die attitude and that’s why this team is where it is today.

“People talk about luck and being lucky, but this team has deserved its victories and has made all the sacrifices to be successful.”

With seven All-Ireland titles to her name, Juliet decided it was time to retire and made the heart-wrenching decision to hang up her boots at the end of the 2012 season.

But retirement didn’t last too long and for a number of reasons, Juliet returned to the pitch.

“It was an accumulation of things really. I suppose our club situation wasn’t great, a couple of girls were injured and we were facing into the championship short a few senior players.

“I felt I was physically able to play and I would have never left my club down if they were short, so I got involved with them and then I met Nollaig (Cleary) and we just started talking.

“Then I got a couple of texts from the girls and that really was the way it all started off again. I had it in my head that if I was going to go back and help my club Donoughmore, then I would go back and help Cork also.”

That decision proved to be fruitful as Juliet played her part in making three in a row of All-Ireland titles for Cork, the second such run under Ryan.

That game was her last in the red shirt as Juliet decided it was time to go then, but her status within the game as one of the all-time greats is well and truly secured.

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