Cork footballers struggled to deliver in 1991 after double glory

On this day 30 years ago, the Rebels' poor league form was a bad sign for championship
Cork footballers struggled to deliver in 1991 after double glory

Cork goalkeeper John Kerins follows team captain Larry Tompkins in the parade in 1990. They struggled to follow up the next season. Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE

ALL-IRELAND football champions Cork were facing a ‘sudden death’ prospect against Donegal in the national league in Ballybofey.

The game was scheduled for the weekend before but had to be postponed because of the foul weather which completely wiped out all games around the country.

Cork were rooted to the foot of the table with just two points from four outings.

They began with a home win over Down, but lost to Meath, Dublin and Kerry and were facing the prospect of missing out on a place in the knock-out stages.

Cork’s main goal for the 1991 season, though, was the retention of the Sam Maguire Cup and the completion of three-in-a-row.

Manager Billy Morgan had the bigger picture in view, when discussing the team’s predicament.

All our sights are on June 16, when, if things work according to plan, we are scheduled to meet Kerry in the Munster semi-final...

“I believe our preparations would be helped if we maintained an interest in the league.

“From that point of view a win on Sunday is important, but I would not be too downcast if things didn’t work out that day,” Morgan added.

Donegal manager Brian McEniff was thrilled to hear the All-Ireland champions would be sending up a very strong team.

“This will make our lads all the more determined to win,” he said.

“We can believe we can play good football and we all know Cork can.

“We have everything to play for and it should be a humdinger of a game,” McEniff added.

Cork hurlers also found themselves propping up the division 1 table ahead of meeting Dublin at Páirc Uí Chaoimh and were seeking to avenge the previous season’s defeat at Croke Park.

All eyes were on John Fitzgibbon’s return from the US and the prospect of the Glen Rovers star making his first appearance in the league.

30 years ago... SOCCER:

Cobh Ramblers 0 Kilkenny City 1

COBH Ramblers failed to take advantage of Kilkenny City’s problems at St Colman’s Park, going down to a Tommy Dunne goal which dented their promotion hopes from division 1.

The visitors were forced to replace their on-loan keeper Tony O’Dowd, the Irish U21 international, who was stuck at snow-bound Leeds Airport.

Leading scorer Billy Walsh, who had eight goals to his credit, donned the number one jersey instead and managed to keep a clean sheet.

Kilkenny fielded one of their weakest teams all season as they were also deprived of Jimmy Donnelly and Dave Madden, but shot-shy Ramblers only troubled Walsh and co on only a few occasions.

The visitors struck out of the blue for the lone goal, Dunne heading home from a Christy Ellis corner in the first half.

Eric Hogan went close on two occasions for Ramblers and Niall Abbot had a shot strike Walsh in the chest before rebounding to safety.

COBH RAMBLERS: Ludzic, Kelly, Cowpar, Lynch, O’Halloran, captain, Hegarty, Abbot, Grace, Keane, McCarthy, Hogan. 

Subs: Fenton for Grace and O’Rourke for McCarthy.

KILKENNY CITY: Walsh, captain, Stenson, O’Reilly, Coleman, Jimmy Cullen, Tommy Cullen, Flanagan, Adams, Best, Dunne.

10 years ago... RUGBY:

MUNSTER scrum-half Tomás O’Leary still had to prove his fitness test on the eve of the Six Nations game against France at the Aviva Stadium.

The 27-years-old was to be given every chance of taking his place in an Ireland team facing into a must-win encounter.

O’Leary had been unable to train all week because of a back spasm sustained in the previous week’s game against the Italians.

As a precaution Peter Stringer was summoned to join the squad with Leinster’s Eoin Reddan poised to start if O’Leary was forced to cry off.

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