The Echo Rebel Legends quarter-finals: JBM v Rena Buckley

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
The Echo Rebel Legends quarter-finals: JBM v Rena Buckley

Vote for your favourite Rebel Legends each day.

JIMMY Barry-Murphy or Rena Buckley? 

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 we're now left with eight, which means there are hard calls to be made every day. That's certainly the case here, with two of the most decorated dual stars in Cork GAA history matched-up. 

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 updates on the winners in each round.

JIMMY BARRY-MURPHY

JBM as he is affectionately known, was the ultimate in the dual player role, a role that has ceased to be where the inter-county front is concerned.

Without any shadow of a doubt, apart from Christy Ring, JBM is probably the best-loved of all Cork GAA players through the ages.

He’s been there, done that as a player of immense ability in both hurling and football, an All-Ireland medal winner in both codes and at the end of a hugely successful playing career he entered the choppy waters of team management to lead Cork to a never to be forgotten All-Ireland SHC triumph in 1999.

Idolised in a red jersey, he had this unique ability to turn a game in an instant, he could be on the fringes for the vast majority of the proceedings before delivering a score that would change the course of a game.

Barry-Murphy first established himself as a dual player with the St Finbarr’s club. He made his debut on the inter-county scene at the age of 16 when he first linked up with the Cork minor teams as a dual player.

An All-Ireland medallist in both codes, he later won a combined total of three All-Ireland medals with the U21 teams.

Barry-Murphy made his senior football debut during the 1973 championship. He went on to play a key role for Cork in attack that year, under the captaincy of Billy Morgan, and won one All-Ireland medal in a memorable victory over Galway; thus ending a 28-year famine on Leeside.

He won Munster medals and one National Football League medal.

Barry-Murphy’s 11-year career with the Cork senior hurlers saw him win five All-Ireland medals, a record-equalling 10 Munster medals and two National Hurling League medals. 

He was an All-Ireland runner-up on two occasions. 

He was a major contributor to Cork’s three-in-a-row of All-Ireland hurling triumphs in 1976, 1977 and 1978.

As a member of the Munster interprovincial team in both codes, Barry-Murphy won a combined total of five Railway Cup medals.

Throughout his inter-county career, he made 57 championship appearances. Barry-Murphy retired from inter-county activity in 1987.

Jimmy Barry-Murphy in action for the Cork hurlers in 1984, when he won his fifth senior All-Ireland, and fourth hurling. Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE
Jimmy Barry-Murphy in action for the Cork hurlers in 1984, when he won his fifth senior All-Ireland, and fourth hurling. Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE

Following a successful tenure as manager of the Cork minor team, culminating in the winning of the All-Ireland title, Barry-Murphy was appointed manager of the Cork senior team in October 1995 for the first time. 

That first tenure saw a return to success for the Rebel County, with Cork winning one All-Ireland Championship, two Munster Championships and one National League in 1998, before stepping down as manager in November 2000.

Barry-Murphy subsequently enjoyed unsuccessful tenures as coach with the St Finbarr’s and Cloughduv club teams.

Over a decade after stepping down as Cork manager, he was appointed for a second tenure as Cork hurling boss in 2011. Once again his managerial reign saw a return to success, with Cork winning one Munster Championship and the county lost to Clare in the replayed All-Ireland final of 2013.

In August of August 2015, Barry-Murphy was inducted into the GAA Hall of Fame, an honour that was so richly deserved for one of Cork’s most iconic sporting figures.

This year he was on the sideline when St Finbarr’s regained the Cork County Premier Minor Hurling after a lengthy gap.

No doubt his presence was a major contributory factor in that victory alongside the rest of the management team and one is certain his fervent wish is that the victory can act as a launchpad for glory in the senior championship.

RENA BUCKLEY

BEFORE she left school, Cork legend Rena Buckley had two All-Ireland medals in her back pocket, and she had also been honoured as an All-Star.

By the time she finished at inter-county level Rena has amassed 18 senior All-Ireland medals, 11 in football and seven for camogie, making her the most successful player in the game, male or female.

She has also represented Munster in the Gael Linn Cup and Ireland at international rules. Between 2005 and 2017 was when Rena won her 18 All-Ireland winners medals.

In 2012 she captained Cork when they won the All-Ireland senior ladies football championship and in 2017 she captained Cork when they won the All-Ireland senior camogie championship.

Cork dual icon Rena Buckley during a camogie clash. Picture: INPHO/Bryan Keane
Cork dual icon Rena Buckley during a camogie clash. Picture: INPHO/Bryan Keane

She was the first, and only, player to captain Cork to both All-Ireland senior championships. She was also named as an All-Star on 11 occasions. In 2015 Rena and her team mate and fellow dual player, Briege Corkery, were named joint winners of the 2015 Irish Times/Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Year Award.

The most successful player in the country started her career with Donoughmore as a 14-year-old in 2001 and a few months later, she lined out at wing-back in their All-Ireland club final victory over Ballyboden St Enda’s.

The rules of the game now state that anyone under the age of 17 cannot play adult football, and if that rule was in place when Buckley was coming through, her sideboard would be a little barer. 

However, she claims her early exposure to the senior ranks was the big reason behind her future success.

“It was huge for my development. I think it was key, without a doubt. To get that standard of football at that age was great. To be playing at that level for a good long period with such experienced players and in that management team was a brilliant time for me,” she said.

Rena sparkled for Donoughmore throughout November in 2019 as they landed the All-Ireland Junior Football Club Championship title.The 32-year-old scored a combined 1-13 in the All-Ireland semi-final and final.

She bagged 1-6 to fire Donoughmore past Meath and Leinster champions Navan O’Mahonys in the last four and followed that up with 0-7 against Mayo’s MacHale Rovers in the decider at Duggan Park, Ballinasloe.

That victory earned Buckley an incredible 21st All-Ireland medal, and her third at club level. She was a member of the Donoughmore teams that landed the All-Ireland senior club titles in 2001 and 2003.

In typical Rena fashion she deflects the spotlight away from herself and has always been full of praise for those around her, both on and off the pitch.

“I’ve been on brilliant teams with brilliant people. I’m talking about the whole set-up — management teams, players. And, like me, those players would have had great family support,” said Rena.

“To become a successful player, you need support as a person. The players who tend to play for years at a high level tend to get great support from the people around them.

“My family has been hugely supportive, and I think family support is something you’ll see with most sportspeople, especially those who play after school level.” 

Away from the pitch, Rena is a member of the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists. Since September 2015 she has operated her own clinic at Macroom. Her clinic is the club physiotherapists for several local GAA clubs including Naomh Abán.

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