DURING the initial lockdown, selecting teams from different eras and from different regions dug us out of a hole on a few occasions when there wasn’t much else to fill the space that was required by the Sports Editor.
Nine times out of 10 there was disagreement on our selections but, at the same time, it made for some healthy debate at a time when there wasn’t much else to talk about.
As we stated back then, it’s near impossible to compare teams from one era to the next and trying to put 15 names down on paper from maybe 60, 70 or even more players is simply an impossible task.
Last week the column was devoted to the great success story of East Cork teams in the past nearly 40 years since Midleton ended the dominance of the big city trio in 1983. Since that victory by the Magpies, there have been 18 East Cork winners of the Sean Óg Murphy Cup.
So we thought we’d try and get what might be considered to be the best 15 of senior hurling champions from Imokilly in those years.
First and foremost again it has to be reiterated that it was and is an impossible exercise because you are in every position on the team omitting one great player for another.
In fact, it would be much easier to list three or four teams from those years and every selection would be more than justified. In coming up the 15 you have to try and be as balanced as you can, giving recognition to all those winning teams.
So here goes.
Selecting the man standing under the crossbar illustrated how difficult the whole exercise was.
In that time you had some of the finest ‘keepers ever to don the number one jersey who won county senior medals with their clubs or with their division Imokilly.
Among them were Sarsfields Alan Kennedy, one of the best club goalkeepers over the past number of years, a major figure in bringing four titles to Riverstown.
Ger Power from Midleton was a massive influence in Midleton’s success story of the ‘80s and early ‘90s.
Shay Bowen contributed enormously to Erin’s Own’s back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007 while Bernard Rochford played a big part in Imokilly’s 1998 win.
In front of him, we opted for Denis Mulcahy from Midleton, Diarmuid O’Sullivan and Timmy Kelleher. All three played huge roles in the victories of Midleton, Imokilly and Erin’s Own respectively, the latter an absolute star in their breakthrough year of 1992.
In the half-back line we had Mark Landers, the automatic choice of Brian Corcoran and Midleton’s Pat Hartnett.
The midfield duo that we selected was John Fenton and Sars' Pat Ryan but you could have had the likes of Derek Barrett, Danny Kearney and Bill Cooper in there as well.
Selecting six forwards was a gargantuan task altogether and for the six we selected you could have 12 more.
Here’s the chosen six: Timmy McCarthy, Seamus Harnedy, Niall McCarthy, Fraggie Murphy, Kevin Hennessy and Ger Fitzgerald.
Here you are omitting Seanie Farrell who has three medals, Michael Cussen who was such a big player in a few of Sars four wins, Conor Lehane who scored 2-10 in the 2013 county final, Cian McCarthy who has four medals, Kieran ‘Hero’ Murphy and Eoghan Murphy from Erin’s Own, Luke O’Farrell from Midleton, Jimmy Smiddy and, of course, Paudie O’Sullivan.
Mick Daly from Cobh is another and there are many others too whose selection would be justified.
Maybe this exercise is futile because you just have too many players altogether who contributed so much to their team's victories in those years when East Cork teams were successful in the Cork County SHC arena from 1983 to 2019.
We have tried to get every winning team represented in the 15 that we have chosen while some will argue that one team won a lot more than the other and therefore should have received more selections.
Fair enough but you are never going to get widespread approval with these types of exercises but at a time when the playing fields remain silent it’s just something to create a bit of good-humoured banter.
Donal Óg Cusack (Imokilly);
Denis Mulcahy (Midleton), Diarmuid O'Sullivan (Imokilly), Timmy Kelleher (Erin’s Own);
Mark Landers (Imokilly), Brian Corcoran (Erin’s Own), Pat Hartnett (Midleton);
John Fenton (Midleton), Pat Ryan (Sars);
Timmy McCarthy (Imokilly), Seamus Harnedy (Imokily), Niall McCarthy (Carrigtwohill);
Fraggie Murphy (Sars), Kevin Hennessy (Midleton), Ger Fitzgerald (Midleton).