Reeling on the banks of the Lee: Cork sports success from 1965 to 1969

Derek Daly reflects on the key moments from the '60s
Reeling on the banks of the Lee: Cork sports success from 1965 to 1969

Charlie McCarthy shoots for goal during the St. Finbarrs and Glen Rovers senior hurling final at the Athletic Grounds in 1967.

IN the second part of our Reeling in the Years Cork Sport, series we take a look at the second half of the swinging 60s, which saw a resurgence for Cork on the GAA front.

1965

St Finbarr’s are kings of club hurling in Cork for the first time in a decade, with a young Charlie McCarthy inspiring them to a 6-8 to 2-5 win over UCC, with the youngster matching College’s score on the day.

In the football final St Nicholas denied the Barrs a double by beating them 2-4 to 0-6.

Denis Coughlan being presented with his county football medal for winning with St Nicholas in 1965 by Jack Lynch.
Denis Coughlan being presented with his county football medal for winning with St Nicholas in 1965 by Jack Lynch.

On the inter-county front there was little sign of any Cork resurgence yet, with Cork tamely going down 4-11 to 0-5 against all-conquering Tipperary in the Munster final, while the footballers were scalped by Limerick in the semi-final, on a scoreline of 2-5 to 0-6.

For the footballers, there was some sign of light at the end of the tunnel, with the U21s reaching the All-Ireland final only to lose to Kildare by 2-11 to 1-7.

The Irish rugby side enjoyed a successful year, beating Scotland and England, and drawing with France, only to lose the final game to Wales, which cost them the championship. On the home front, Cork Con won the Munster Senior Cup.

Across channel, Cork’s Noel Cantwell helped Manchester United to win their first league title since the one won by the Busby Babes in 1957.

1966

Cork are back! A first All-Ireland in 12 long years!

A youthful Cork side beat Waterford by 4-9 to 2-9 in the Munster decider before downing Kilkenny by 3-9 to 1-10 in the All-Ireland final. Colm Sheehan bagged a brace of goals, while Seanie Barry knocked over four points in the win.

Many of the new senior stars were also involved at U21 level, with the final being a classic series against Wexford, going to a second replay, which Cork won on a ridiculous scoreline of 9-9 to 5-9.

Tom O’Donoghue, third from left, striding out of Croke Park after Cork’s unexpected win over Kilkenny in 1966 All-Ireland final. With Tom were: Peter Doolan, Colm Sheehan, Ger O’Leary and Michael O’Halloran, father of current Cork panel member of the same name on right. Picture: Kevin Cummins
Tom O’Donoghue, third from left, striding out of Croke Park after Cork’s unexpected win over Kilkenny in 1966 All-Ireland final. With Tom were: Peter Doolan, Colm Sheehan, Ger O’Leary and Michael O’Halloran, father of current Cork panel member of the same name on right. Picture: Kevin Cummins

The footballers broke new ground as well, with a Jerry O’Sullivan captained side beating Kerry 2-7 to 1-7, for Cork’s first Munster crown in nine years.

Domestically, St Nicholas were football county champions after beating the Barrs by a single point, while Avondhu beat UCC by 2-11 to 4-4 in an entertaining hurling final.

Jerry Walsh of Sunday’s Well and Noel Murphy of Cork Con both toured with the Lions Down Under, in a unique tour that saw the tourists beat Australia 2-0, before losing 4-0 to New Zealand.

1967

Munster were crowned interprovincial champions, but their main achievement was becoming the first Irish side to scalp a touring nation, when beating Australia 11-8 in Musgrave Park in front of 10,000 locals. Johnny Moroney scored the try, with local icon Tom Kiernan kicking a conversion and two penalties in the historic win.

Noel Cantwell would win one final league medal with Manchester United prior to his retirement, and he would also score his final, and 14th, goal for Ireland that year, in a 2-1 defeat to Turkey in Ankara.

The Cork footballers would beat Kerry once more in Munster, but after seeing off Cavan in the All-Ireland semi-final they would come up just short against Meath in the final, losing 1-9 to 0-9.

There was to be no long reign for the hurlers, with them exiting in round one in Munster, losing 1-8 to 3-10 to Waterford.

It was a great year at minor level, however, with the double being attained. The hurlers beating Wexford by 2-13 to 3-7, while the footballers dispatched Laois by 5-14 to 2-3 in their decider.

Beara were football champions on the local scene, beating UCC 2-5 to 0-7 in the county final, while Mick Kenneally scored 2-3 when inspiring the Glen to a 3-9 to 1-9 victory over the Barrs in the little All-Ireland. Christy Ring had played for the Glen earlier in the championship, but the boots had been hung up by the time of the final.

1968

Churchtown’s Vincent O’Brien secured a famous 2000 Guineas and Derby double with the legendary Sir Ivor in 1968, as he began to truly dominate the English flat racing scene, while in soccer, Cork Hibs won the first of four-in-a-row of Munster Senior Cups this year.

Tom Kiernan had the honour of captaining the British and Irish Lions in their tour of South Africa, and he would end the series as the top scorer, even if the Lions could only muster one draw from the four-match series.

Cork would lose both senior Munster finals in GAA, the hurling decider 2-13 to 1-7 to old rivals Tipp, while being no match for Kerry in the big ball final, 1-21 to 3-8.

At underage level, the signs continued to be positive, with the hurlers winning the first of their own four-in-a-row, with a 2-18 to 3-9 win over Kilkenny, while the minors were unlucky to go down by three points to Wexford in that grade’s All-Ireland final.

In minor football, Cork would be All-Ireland champions again after beating Sligo 2-5 to 1-10 in the final.

Carbery were football champions, seeing off Clonakilty by 1-9 to 1-6 in the final, while the Barrs were back again, winning the hurling decider 5-9 to 1-19 against an unfortunate Imokilly.

1969

Brian Murphy made history by winning a minor double that year, with Kilkenny and Derry being dispatched in both All-Ireland finals, while the U21 hurlers beat Wexford 5-13 to 4-7 in the All-Ireland final in Walsh Park.

On the senior front Cork beat Tipperary in the Munster final by 4-6 to 0-9, but lost the All-Ireland final to Kilkenny on a scoreline of 2-15 to 2-9, despite a superb 1-6 from Charlie McCarthy on the day.

The Glen were county champions again, beating UCC in the final, while in football, UCC had a point to spare over St Nicholas.

That year saw a famous 17-15 for Ireland over England, with Noel Murphy scoring a crucial try, Tom Kiernan notching two penalties and a conversion, and Barry McGann slotting a drop goal, in a very Cork-dominated triumph.

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