Paudie Palmer on brilliant Barrs and Cork's football revolution

Rebel teams won three of the four clashes with Kerry teams last weekend
Paudie Palmer on brilliant Barrs and Cork's football revolution

St Finbarr's fans celebrate Enda Dennehy’s late goal to secure the Munster title against Austin Stacks. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

LAST weekend, Seamus Power, the Waterford golfer moved up to 49th place in the world courtesy of his joint third-place finish in the Sony Open in Hawaii.

In doing so, he becomes just the 10th Irishman to achieve the top 50 accolade since the beginning of such statistical records and he if still occupies that position in late March, his postman will deliver the invitation to US Masters in Augusta.

No, the editor hasn’t decided to upgrade the status of the column!

I just needed some angle that may reflect Cork’s elevation in the Gaelic football rankings after the weekend happenings. Four Cork-Kerry clashes and the Rebels emerge victorious in three.

Credit when it is due. Yes, the one defeat was pretty empathic with Clonakilty Community College suffering a serious reversal against Tralee CBS on a scoreline of 4-13 to 1-08 in one of the Corn Uí Mhuirí quarter-finals.

Could, and should, the question be asked is this school capable of a better performance?

Also at the same stage of the competition, the other two West Cork schools brought home the bacon.

Hamilton High School Bandon banged in three early goals from Ciarán McCarthy and Jacob O’Driscoll both Valley Rovers with Conor Ustianowski from Kilbrittain adding the third. In the end, they hung on for a one-point victory over Mercy Mounthawk.

Skibbereen Community School trailed by three with time almost up.

Skibbereen CS's Jamie O'Driscoll goes past Rathmore's Ryan Daly. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Skibbereen CS's Jamie O'Driscoll goes past Rathmore's Ryan Daly. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Substitute Jack O’Brien O’Donovan Rossa goaled to draw level and three quick-fire points from Isaac Harte O’Donovan Rossa, Oisin O’Neill Tadhg MacCarthaigh and Jack O Neill Castlehaven left PS Sliabh Luchra heartbroken.

In the semi-finals down for decision on Saturday week, HHS Bandon will play St Brendan’s with Skibbereen CC facing a daunting task against Tralee CBS. These are honours paper challenges.


Of course, the biggest ranking event was the meeting of St Finbarr’s and Austin Stacks.

Drama, excitement, and a massive win for St Finbarr’s and let’s be honest a boast for Cork football.

Joy for St Finbarr's. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Joy for St Finbarr's. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

First up for the plaudits is the individual or the group of individuals who decided, that there was going to be no toss of a coin in relation to where the game would be played.

I realise, that, one can never be sure, but if the Barrs lost the toss, they, in all probability would have lost the match.

When that idea was first mooted, there was a fair amount of social media pressure being applied and some of it from 'influential' people to have Barrs bend the knee.

For a while now, an amount of publicity has been afforded to the Austin Stack’s travelling supporters group and their version of the Mardi Gras. Prior to Sunday, it was believed, that the people from the Rock, as they like to be known, would outnumber the Blues supporting cast.

Well, from our vantage point on Sunday, the opposite appeared to be the case. In the singing stakes, I would also venture to suggest that Allez Les Blues moved to the top of the charts.

When the referee blew the final whistle, Tom Semple’s field became a blue Mecca. This just wasn’t a few busloads of kids, the kids were there as well but so too were a huge adult following.


An amount of the credit for this must accrue to a young man Stephen Goggin. Stephen is the PRO for St Finbarr’s club and seemingly his efforts on the club’s social media platforms was a major contributor.

Details of the game itself have been well chronicled in other editions of this parish but just a few personal rambling thoughts.

Throughout the Cork campaign, the headline makers were by and large from the shooting gallery.

Steven Sherlock of St Finbarr's and supporters celebrate with the cup. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Steven Sherlock of St Finbarr's and supporters celebrate with the cup. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Sunday was different, the blue-collar boys were the toast of the Blues.

Nine times out of 10, these Man of the Match awards, are the preserve of those who keep umpires and scoreboard operators busy. Last Sunday, the majority of contenders were from the security zone.

In the end, they went for one of the small corner-back Colm Scully, tigerish and tenacious are just two words to describe this hardy individual.

The other small fella, Sam Ryan ensured that Kieran Donaghy informed some of the assembled media that he was very disappointed with his performance.

Is Jamie Burns a modern-day Francie Bellow? He is after a serious season so far.

The two wing-backs Colin Lyons and Alan O’Connor made very few if any errors and Colin’s point in the 18th minute left nobody in any doubt as to the size of the Barrs following.

A few years ago, Valenta Island GAA club, already struggling with a shortage of numbers had to be devastated when the O’Sullivan brothers Paul and Brendan left them to join the Stacks.

At the time, Brendan was on the Kerry panel and was primed for a key role last Sunday.

Unfortunately for him, 15 minutes into the game, he collided, if that is the correct term, with Billy Hennessy and had to leave the field. Billy performance from start to finish was pivotal to ending the 35-year drought.

For the Barrs’ second goal it was a case of the right man, or right men, in the right position.

Michael Shields who was on the pitch for about 10 minutes when he won possession, was at the stage of the game when there was an amount of turnovers.

It would have been easier to obtain a late hour pub licence from Tony Houlihan that the get ball from the 35-year-old.

Not alone was he able to hold on to it, he was aware of the movements of another pine seater, Enda Dennehy.

The resulting goal was one special moment. As it transpired, it led to Allez Les Blues topping the charts.

The Barrs are back in town.

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