WHAT are the chances of a Cork Taoiseach watching a Cork GAA President handing over the Liam McCarthy or Sam Maguire Cups to a Cork captain in the next few years?
Pessimists might cry you’ve a better chance of winning the Lotto, but it has happened before and as the new Croke Park incumbent, Larry McCarthy, told Cork delegates at a recent county board meeting, ‘we live in hope.’
It must be said that reference wasn’t made to either Patrick Horgan or Ian Maguire climbing the steps of the Hogan Stand en route to the promised land, more about McCarthy’s club, Bishopstown, winning the county hurling title.
But, we’ll attach said sentiments to Cork’s pursuit as well, particularly as the bookies aren’t exactly over enamoured with either the hurlers or the footballers’ prospects of replacing Limerick or Dublin as champions respectively.
They quote Kieran Kingston’s charges joint fifth at 10/1 along with Waterford while Ronan McCarthy’s footballers are rated 50/1 with Monaghan.
Larry McCarthy was invited to speak at the recent county board meeting, once more held remotely, and he made reference to an encounter with Taoiseach Micheal Martin in his address.
“The Taoiseach may have less time than I have, but hopefully we will all have such pleasure in the next three years,” he said.
While McCarthy is in situ for three years, his Cork counterpart has a year less in office as in December of next year Martin hands over the baton to Leo Varadker.
All involved would surely crave a repeat of Con Murphy’s three-year stint as GAA President from 1976 to 79, when he had the satisfaction of handing over the McCarthy Cup to not one, or two, but three different Cork captains.
Jack Lynch started his second term as Taoiseach in late 1977, so for two successive years three Corkmen took centre stage on the biggest hurling day in the calendar.
And not only that but Lynch had even greater satisfaction in looking on as fellow Glen Rovers player, Martin O’Doherty, gratefully accepted the cup from Murphy after Cork’s second consecutive victory over Wexford in the 1977 final.
Twelve months earlier, Blackrock’s Ray Cummins started the famous three-in-a-row, when the Taoiseach of the day was Liam Cosgrave.
And the third captain also came from a city club, Charlie McCarthy from St Finbarr’s, after Cork again defeated Kilkenny by four points, the same winning margin Cork enjoyed against Wexford in ’76. Cork won by three the following season.
On another memorable occasion, Cork were just one shy of the triumvirate.
Before Larry McCarthy’s surprise election and the first from North America, Christy Cooney had been the most recent Cork president, whose crowning glory was presenting the Sam Maguire to Graham Canty in 2010 following Cork’s win over Down in the final. Brian Cowen was the Taoiseach of the day.
In 1973, when Billy Morgan captained Cork against Galway in the All-Ireland football final, Dr Donal Keenan from Roscommon held the GAA Presidency while Sean Lemass was Taoiseach in September of that year before Lynch succeeded him in November.
During Con Murphy’s time, he presented Sam to Dublin skipper Tony Hanahoe twice and ‘Ogie’ Moran on the other occasion while Cooney presented Liam to Michael Fennelly, Eoin Kelly and Brian Hogan.
Larry McCarthy reminded delegates that, aside from the New York county board, this was his first full county board meeting since his days as the Thomond College delegate to the Limerick county board in the late 1970s.
“My first duty as president was a senior hurling quiz with Bishopstown,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Ballinacurra club in east Cork are mourning the passing of club stalwart Oliver Parsons, who kept the club going through thick and thin for many years.