Wayne Sherlock v Paddy Barry: Vote for Cork's best city hurlers

In the Battle of the Bridge, the Echo is asking you to pick your favourite players since 1972 north and south of the River Lee
Wayne Sherlock v Paddy Barry: Vote for Cork's best city hurlers

Have your say in The Battle of the Bridge.

WITH your help, we’re looking to pick the best hurler from either side of St Patrick's Bridge from the last 50 years of action.

The Echo has pitched some of Cork’s finest hurling stars from the northside and southside of Cork city together for a series of fun head-to-head battles. Your votes will decide who goes through and you can see the full list of 16 northside and 16 southside players here.

Today's match-up is Paddy Barry v Wayne Sherlock.

PADDY BARRY (St Vincent's)

In comparison to northside rivals, Glen Rovers and Na Piarsaigh, St Vincent’s would not be as decorated but that should not diminish the contribution that this proud club has made to the GAA on Leeside.

One of its most famous sons was Paddy Barry, the holder of two All-Ireland senior medals from the ‘60s and early ’70. Barry was the last line of defence in the 1966 All-Ireland final when Cork came in from the cold to claim their first title since 1954.

He was a key figure in a campaign that is still fondly remembered by the much older generation and the final victory over Kilkenny has stood the test of time.

Waterford corner-forward Danny Mahon, Mount Sion, tussles with Cork keeper Paddy Barry, St Vincent's.
Waterford corner-forward Danny Mahon, Mount Sion, tussles with Cork keeper Paddy Barry, St Vincent's.

Four years later, Barry wore the number one jersey again as Cork regained the title against Wexford. Barry wore the captain’s armband on the glorious Sunday 52 years ago and again his contribution was immense.

Taking the MacCarthy Cup back to the great northside hurling home of St Vincent’s was one of the great stories from an era long past.

He was a big presence in those Cork teams and his captaincy in ’70 was a major milestone in Vincent’s history. He was a hugely reliable presence between the sticks, strong under the incoming high ball and he gave great confidence to those in front of him.

Barry gave great service to Vincent’s, a club with a strong beating heart and he represented that club with great distinction wherever he played, and he is a holder of a Cork County IHC medal.

Back in those days, the city divisional side Seandún challenged very strongly in the Cork County SHC, reaching a couple of semi-finals and a side that nobody took for granted at the time and Barry was a key figure.

He featured regularly as Cork’s number one between the years 1965 to 1974, vying with the Glen’s Finbarr O’Neill for the jersey.

When Cork played Waterford in the 1974 Munster SHC, Barry was sent off down in Walsh Park, but the good times certainly outweighed any bad ones and his contribution to his club, Seandún and to the red jersey is still fondly remembered.

Captaining Cork to win the McCarthy Cup was, without doubt, the highlight of a career that was full of positivity. And doing it with Vincent’s meant that his place in the history of that club is forever secured.

WAYNE SHERLOCK (Blackrock)

WHEN Kieran Murphy of Sarsfield’s came on to the Cork senior panel in the early 2000s, he had to get up to speed quickly as the training matches were of such a high intensity.

“I remember in one of those games I was marked by Wayne Sherlock,” he said “and he gave me a bit of a lesson. When I was coming off, I was talking to Seánie McGrath and he said, “Don’t worry about it, Sherlock destroys us all!”

The encapsulation of a player who did his job with the minimum of fuss, Sherlock didn’t come from a GAA background but soon began to shine in the Blackrock under-age structure and earned call-ups to Cork sides.

A key member of the teams that won All-Ireland U21 titles in 1997 and 1998, he was among several young turks given their chance by Jimmy Barry-Murphy for the breakthrough 1999 season, a rock of solidity in the right half-back position. That same year, he helped Blackrock to end a 13-year wait for a Cork SHC title.

Blackrock's Wayne Sherlock in action. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Blackrock's Wayne Sherlock in action. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

While Cork failed to immediately build on that success for several reasons, Blackrock did and Sherlock was again integral as they won the Seán Óg Murphy Cup again in 2001 and 2002, with Sherlock nominated as Cork captain after the ’01 triumph.

When Cork made it back to the steps of the Hogan Stand under Dónal O’Grady in 2004, Sherlock was imperious at right corner-back, earning an All-Star award that year. While surgery in the early part of 2005 meant that he wasn’t a starter that year, he remained an important member of the panel as the Liam MacCarthy Cup was retained.

He retired in 2007, still shy of his 30th birthday, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that his absence was felt in the years that followed. 

In recent times, he has been involved with Blackrock teams as well as serving as a selector when Cork won All-Ireland U20 championships in 2020 and 2021. He is now a senior selector under new manager Pat Ryan.

As a player, he kept it simple and backed himself.

“As the years went on, you were given videos and DVDs of players; but to be honest, I never, ever looked at one of them,” he said.

“In my head, I felt that if I focused on it too much – whether a guy pucked off his left or right or whatever – you’re nearly overthinking it and second-guessing."

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