Dave Barry v Briege Corkery: 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 v Briege Corkery: Vote for your favourite Rebel Legend

Vote for your favourite Rebel Legends each day.

DAVE Barry or Briege Corkery? 

The Echo is running a fun contest 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.

We started with 32 contenders and are now into the last 16, with another tough choice for you to make. This poll will be open until 8am on Sunday morning.

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

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.

BRIEGE CORKERY

EVERY team has special characters and unique characters — a character both on and off the field, and one who always produces the goods on the big day.

Cork dual star Briege Corkery certainly fits that bill. She loved to celebrate wins with her club and county and was always great fun in doing so. But once she crossed that white line then God help her direct opponent, because, be it football or camogie, they knew they were in for a tough day.

She has been compared to many sports stars, but one comparison rings true when fans said she was like Roy Keane. 

In that, they meant that from the first minute to the last she gave it everything, and such was her fitness levels she was full of running to the end.

To call her inspirational is probably understating the part she has played in Cork’s football and camogie success over the years.

Briege Corkery on the break past Kilkenny's Elaine Aylward. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Briege Corkery on the break past Kilkenny's Elaine Aylward. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

There are many outstanding moments, but one off the pitch in 2016 is one all those in the dressing-room that day will never forget.

Just before Cork headed back out the door of the dressing room for the second half of the 2016 All-Ireland football final, Corkery took to the floor.

Cork had been here before in 2014, trailing Dublin at the turnaround, albeit not by as much, but this time, for some reason, it meant a bit more. The tears shed at half-time by some would suggest so anyway.

Maybe it was because they hadn’t done themselves justice, but maybe it was because this could very well have been the final curtain call for those who’ve battled in red since 2005. Some as young as 15, like Deirdre O’Reilly.

Momentum was with Gregory McGonigle’s Dublin, seeking to oust Cork at the third time of asking, but Corkery’s actions instigated a rise in the tide.

In her hands, she had two photographs. The first she placed on the cold concrete floor at her feet. The second she placed on the wall left of the dressing room door.

“We can either be that person, or we can be that person,” she said, pointing at both, looking around the room. All eyes on her. Not a flicker of an eyelid.

The first snapshot she placed on the floor was that of a crumpled Juliet Murphy lying on the turf in Banagher in 2010. The former Cork captain’s chin is tucked into her chest. Torn. Distraught. 

It’s the 2010 All-Ireland quarter-final loss to Tyrone; the only defeat Cork had suffered in the All-Ireland series since 2005. Corkery doesn’t want to go back there, and she’s not going to allow her team-mates to go there either.

The second snapshot Corkery face-plants onto the wall seconds later is from Cork’s 2014 comeback against Dublin two years earlier. Ten points down with 16 minutes to go, Eamonn Ryan’s troops had been to hell and back to win by a point.

This time the snapshot is of goalkeeper Martina O’Brien jumping in the air at the final whistle. The time is now, the feeling is now, and Corkery reminds those bunkered down in dressing room two what it’s like to feel elation again.

She had just shown them.

She had felt the heartache of defeat two weeks earlier with the Cork camogie team, and she wasn’t in the mood to feel it again.

Upon passing O’Brien’s winning emotion on the wall as they walked back out onto the pitch, the Cork players walk into another win in Croke Park — their 11th — and with it a new era under manager Ephie Fitzgerald.

And that moment sums Briege, a leader by example, but when she spoke others listened and responded.

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