Semi-finals are set in The Echo Rebel Legends tournament

Sandie Fitzgibbon knocked out Rob Heffernan to move into the last four against Roy Keane 
Semi-finals are set in The Echo Rebel Legends tournament

Sandie Fitzgibbon in action for Glen Rovers. Picture: Denis Minihane.

The semi-final line-up is set in The Echo Rebel Legends competition.

The tournament started with 32 stunning sports people and we still need your help to pick your favourite Cork sports person since 1970, which will be decided in the final on March 11. Every time you vote you are entered into a draw for a €200 shopping voucher.

After the last round Rob Heffernan, Juliet Murphy, Roy Keane, Rena Buckley, Jimmy Barry-Murphy, Briege Corkery, Sandie Fitzgibbon and Sonia O’Sullivan moved into the quarter-finals.

On Saturday, Sandie Fitzgibbon had massive support in her clash with Rob Heffernan. The former Glen Rovers and Cork camogie ace, who shone as a basketballer and soccer player too, clearly had the backing for her former team-mates and she moved into the semi-final against Roy Keane.

Roy pulled the votes to get past Juliet Murphy, but could well be eliminated in Tuesday's match-up with Sandie.

In our second quarter-final, Rena Buckley was voted through ahead of JBM. Now she'll face her former team-mate, Briege Corkery, on Monday in the last four. That could be one of the tightest battles yet, given how similar their careers were as dual players.

Briege Corkery has edged out Sonia O'Sullivan. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/SPORTSFILE
Briege Corkery has edged out Sonia O'Sullivan. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/SPORTSFILE

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.

Showing the strength of female sport on Leeside, there are three women left standing, while Claire Coughlan and Linda Mellerick lost to Roy Keane and Rob Heffernan respectively by very narrow margins.

Some big names who would have been worthy winners have fallen to date, including Denis Irwin and Ronan O’Gara.

The semi-finals are on Monday, March 8 and Tuesday, March 9:

Briege Corkery v Rena Buckley.

Roy Keane v Sandy Fitzgibbon.

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.

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.

Cork's Rena Buckley is tackled by Dublin's Lyndsey Davey at Croke Park. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Cork's Rena Buckley is tackled by Dublin's Lyndsey Davey at Croke Park. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

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.

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.

8. Briege Corkery v 25. Seán Óg Ó hAilpín.

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.

16. Roy Keane v 17. Rachel Kohler.

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