Cork's greatest GAA fans to be honoured at St Finbarr's

New Cork's Champion Supporters project will pay tribute to Jonty O'Leary, Paddy Linehan and Tony Leahy
Cork's greatest GAA fans to be honoured at St Finbarr's

Cork fans Cyril Kavanagh and and the late Jonty O'Leary supporting the Cork ladies footballers at Croke Park. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

DEDICATED Cork GAA followers are being honoured by a new Cork's Champion Supporters project.

The idea is to pay tribute to those who follow Cork teams through thick and thin, when All-Irelands are being secured but also when the season ends in disappointment.

The launch takes place on Friday week at 9pm in St Finbarr's club and the first two fans included in the Cork's Champion Supporters Hall of Fame are Tim 'Jonty' O'Leary, who passed in 2020, and Paddy Linehan, who died recently. 

Former Passage West player and lifelong Cork supporter, the late Tony Leahy, will also be honoured. He was involved for a number of years with Derry Doody in the SportsLife Tribute Shows, which were special nights celebrating sports legends that took place around Ireland until Covid intervened.

Doody explains: "It's a long-awaited project I've had in mind for several years. This project involves recognition and appreciation for those who are loyal to the core in supporting Cork teams. They are Cork's Champion Supporters of Longevity.

"The official launch for the Barrs Club is a concept by www.ScoreBoardMemories.com. 

"We are non-profit and this came about from a similar project I hosted at Randalstown, county Antrim, for a GAA coach who passed away at a young age from Covid.

I am amazed that the boardroom of Cork GAA in particular, never looked beyond their own top table to show true appreciation to Cork's army of Rebel supporters. 

"Cork GAA require oceans of goodwill and restoration of confidence with their Cork supporters and maybe there's much more support available with much more goodwill."

Cork and Kerry fans braving the torrential rain at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in 2008. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Cork and Kerry fans braving the torrential rain at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in 2008. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

They are now calling on all former and current Cork players to come to the famed Barrs Club on Friday, July 8 for the official launch.

"In Cork's journey through Munster and on to Croke Park in hurling and football, while all the teams were the stars of the show, supporters dish out their hard-earned cash for precious match tickets.

"The event will be complemented with a music recital by Jonty's cousin, Walter O'Leary on keyboards, Shane Murphy of Rebel Band on guitar and a host of guest performers. We'll be calling on the well-known Cyril 'The Bird' Kavanagh of Rebel Band, Ray Lucey, Pa The Piper and other really special guests."

Doody will make a commemorative memorabilia presentation to a family member of the late Cork supporters honoured in the Barrs on Friday week.

They hope this will the first of many successful events. 

Tom 'Bomber' Roche of Rebel Band fame will co-host and they plan to have a raffle with proceeds designated to Pieta House and Cancer Support. 

They are looking for spot prizes and ticket sellers, and anyone looking to get involved can email: allirelandhalloffame@gmail.com.

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