The Echo Rebel Legends quarter-finals: Roy Keane v Juliet Murphy

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: Roy Keane v Juliet Murphy

Vote for your favourite Rebel Legends each day.

ROY Keane or Juliet Murphy? 

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. 

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

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

ROY KEANE

WHAT is it that can be said about Roy Keane that hasn’t already been said?

The short answer is nothing, but a reiteration of what has been said about him perhaps underlines just what a force of nature he was.

In the public consciousness, the game that sums up the Mayfield native is the 1999 Champions League semi-final second leg against Juventus. Despite having picked up a booking that would rule him out of the final, Keane was the driving force as United came from 2-0 down to win 3-2, scoring the first goal in Turin.

While Keane and Sir Alex Ferguson are not close, the manager’s description of his captain’s performance perfectly summed him up.

“Pounding over every blade of grass, competing as if he would rather die of exhaustion than lose, he inspired all around him. I felt it was an honour to be associated with such a player.”

Ryan Giggs’ view of the player he played with for 12 years was in a similar vein.

“You never felt you were beaten when Keaney was in your team,” he said.

He never threw in the towel. I don’t think any of the rest of us were less determined to win than Keaney, but what makes him different is the way he gets it across, his anger if you like.

“More than any other player I’ve seen, he affects players around him.”

Roy Keane battling Italy in New York in the 1994 World Cup. Picture: Eddie O'Hare.
Roy Keane battling Italy in New York in the 1994 World Cup. Picture: Eddie O'Hare.

Of course, you could say that it was easy for people associated with Manchester United to talk highly of such a talisman but Patrick Vieira, who locked horns with Keane for nine seasons in the Premier League when he was with Arsenal, offered a similarly glowing testimonial.

“What I like about him is the fact that he wouldn’t talk; he’d take the kick, he wouldn’t say anything, then, on the next one, he’d give it to you and he would expect, of course, that you say nothing.

“He’s not the kind of player who talks a lot. So he’ll take the kick, he will give back, but I like him — he’s quite fair.”

Eoin O’Callaghan’s new book, Keane: Origins, outlines how Keane’s attitude remained as clear-headed and impenetrable from his days with Cobh Ramblers, when he was on a FÁS football course, through his early years at Nottingham Forest under Brian Clough.

Such a player could only thrive in the environment which surrounded him at Manchester United and it’s not overstating things to say that the Republic of Ireland wouldn’t have qualified for the 2002 World Cup without him. How they would have done if he hadn’t departed is a moot point but doesn’t dull his achievements.

It says much about Keane’s force of personality that so many people became Sunderland fans when he became the club’s manager in 2006. We’ll leave the last word to another genius full of personality, Eric Cantona.

“He was the best in midfield; he could play everywhere. He could play the holding role and be defensive, but then he could suddenly burst forward and score goals.

“He was so intelligent in how he played the game and let me tell you, it felt good to have him behind me for four seasons. He’d win the ball and then give it to me. And what a character!”

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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