Rob Heffernan edges out Linda Mellerick in The Echo Rebel Legends

Olympian is paired with Sandie Fitzgibbon in the quarter-finals
Rob Heffernan edges out Linda Mellerick in The Echo Rebel Legends

Rob Heffernan received 3% more of the vote than Linda Mellerick. Picture: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

WE need your help to pick your favourite Cork sports person since 1970 in The Echo Rebel Legends competition.

Yesterday Rob Heffernan got past Linda Mellerick by just 28 votes to join Juliet Murphy, Roy Keane, Rena Buckley, Jimmy Barry-Murphy, Briege Corkery, Sandie Fitzgibbon and Sonia O'Sullivan in the quarter-finals. It'll be JBM v Rena and Sonia against Briege at that stage, while Roy will take on Juliet Murphy and Rob is matched with Fitzgibbon.

The first quarter-final starts Wednesday morning at 8am. Every time you vote you are entered into a draw for a €200 shopping voucher.

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.

Sonia O'Sullivan with her silver medal in the 2000 Olympics. Picture: INPHO/Billy Stickland
Sonia O'Sullivan with her silver medal in the 2000 Olympics. Picture: INPHO/Billy Stickland

The quarter-finals will run from Wednesday, March 3 to Saturday, March 6:

Briege Corkery v Sonia O'Sullivan.

Jimmy Barry-Murphy v Rena Buckley.

Roy Keane v Juliet Murphy.

Sandy Fitzgibbon v Rob Heffernan.

TOUGH TASK

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, O'Gara, 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.

Juliet Murphy. Picture: Pat Murphy/SPORTSFILE
Juliet Murphy. Picture: Pat Murphy/SPORTSFILE

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.

There were a host of brilliant sports people who just missed out, this time around, including Mark Carroll, Pat Morley, Tom O'Sullivan, Ray Cummins, Colin Healy, Valerie Mulcahy and many more. They may all get their chance in future battles.

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.

Sandie Fitzgibbon knocked out Denis Irwin in our competition. Picture: Des Barry
Sandie Fitzgibbon knocked out Denis Irwin in our competition. Picture: Des Barry

Top half of the draw:

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.

Bottom half of the draw:

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.

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