Lethal Cork minor forward Jack Leahy takes Player of the Year award in his stride

'Nine of the team were selected, but being honest the other lads could all have made it too'
Lethal Cork minor forward Jack Leahy takes Player of the Year award in his stride

Jack Leahy of Cork in action against Tiernan Leen of Galway during the 2021 Electric Ireland GAA Hurling All-Ireland Minor Championship final. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

IT was a year to remember for Cork minor hurling with that 20-year All-Ireland wait ended in exciting fashion as the generation of 2021 proved themselves a class apart. 

Nine Cork players were selected on the Electric Ireland Team of the Year but for one young man from Dungourney, that announcement proved extra special.

Jack Leahy was the Rebels' leading scorer with a massive haul of 4-41 across four games and his scoring exploits have now been recognised as has been named Electric Ireland Player of the Year. Within family circles and club circles in Kiltha Óg and Dungourney, there is now a sense of great delight as one of their own has shone so brightly on the biggest stage. 

Leahy has taken being thrust into the spotlight in his stride, constantly producing top-level performances as he led the scoring stakes in all four championship matches.

Jack Leahy (second left) and Ciarán Joyce, visited Carrigtwohill Community College, with students Emma O'Shea and Sam Power. Picture Denis Minihane.
Jack Leahy (second left) and Ciarán Joyce, visited Carrigtwohill Community College, with students Emma O'Shea and Sam Power. Picture Denis Minihane.

"The award came as a bit of a surprise, to be honest, but it's a great end to the minor campaign.

Looking back we had a thoroughly enjoyable year which is all down to the work we have done during the lockdown and afterward. We had 36 players on the panel and they all have played a major part in winning the All-Ireland. 

"The management have been fantastic, what they put in place for us, especially during the lockdown was unbelievable.

"Nine of the team were selected, but being honest the other lads could all have made it too.

"We all have had so many fond memories to look back on, but it will probably be when we are all older that we will really reflect on these glory days. The bond that is in this group is something that will never be broken, it's untouchable."

A school presentation was made to the 15 Midleton CBS past and present pupils who represented Cork in the minor and U20 All-Ireland hurling victories. Back: Timmy Wilk, Diarmuid Healy, Aaron Walsh Barry, Jack Leahy, Adam Rooney. Middle: Sam Quirke, Paudie O’Sullivan, Tiernan Roche, Daniel Murnane, Dylan Costine. Front: Darragh Moran, Conor O’Leary, Sean Walsh, Cathal Hickey, Ciaran Joyce.
A school presentation was made to the 15 Midleton CBS past and present pupils who represented Cork in the minor and U20 All-Ireland hurling victories. Back: Timmy Wilk, Diarmuid Healy, Aaron Walsh Barry, Jack Leahy, Adam Rooney. Middle: Sam Quirke, Paudie O’Sullivan, Tiernan Roche, Daniel Murnane, Dylan Costine. Front: Darragh Moran, Conor O’Leary, Sean Walsh, Cathal Hickey, Ciaran Joyce.

The current team will be remembered for ending that long period without a minor title for the county, but it's something Leahy says that was never really mentioned.

"There might have been a lot of talk about it, but we tried to put that to one side. Twenty years is way too long for Cork, it came at a good time with the U20 win and the seniors then reaching the final."

Finally, the past year will also be remembered personally as a poignant one for Leahy and his family. Unfortunately both his grandmothers passed away to their eternal reward within a short few months of one another.

"Although the hurling win has been a boost overall. It's been a sad year for all of us in the family before each game we visited my grandmothers' graves and no doubt they were both looking down on us."

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