Luke Connolly, Brian Hurley and Steven Sherlock up with best Cork club football forwards of all time

Donncha O'Connor, John Hayes and Colin Corkery are the sharpshooters to catch up with on Leeside
Luke Connolly, Brian Hurley and Steven Sherlock up with best Cork club football forwards of all time

Nemo Ranger's Luke Connolly shoots from Ballincollig's Evan Cooke during the Bon Secours Premier SFC semi-final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

DINNY ALLEN, the victorious All-Ireland winning captain in 1989, began the weekend in fourth position on the all-time scorers list in the Premier Senior Football Championship. 

He ended it in fifth place, with the likelihood that it will not be long until he is bumped down to seventh on the list. We have some serious sharpshooters amongst us at present.

Castlehaven’s Brian Hurley kicked eight points against St Finbarr’s, albeit on a losing cause, which brought him to 279 points and counting, one point clear of Allen’s total.

Meanwhile, Luke Connolly’s 1-6, which he registered in their semi-final victory over Ballincollig, brought him to 270, just eight shy of his clubmate, while Steven Sherlock is now on 266 and counting, after his own 1-6 against the Haven.

Castlehaven's Michael Hurley congratulates St Finbarr's Steven Sherlock. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Castlehaven's Michael Hurley congratulates St Finbarr's Steven Sherlock. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Allen scored 30 goals and 188 points in the black and green of Nemo Rangers in an illustrious career that began with a 2-6 salvo scored during a Nemo rout of Cobh, on a scoreline of 6-18 to 1-8 at Riverstown on 10 May 1970. He kicked his last championship score over 21 years later when bagging a goal in Nemo’s 2-12 to 0-5 quarter-final victory over Glanmire, which took place on June 23, 1991.

For the record, the top three on the list, still ahead of Hurley, are Donnacha O’Connor (on 385 points), John Hayes (on 346) and Colin Corkery (on 313).

It is worth noting that James Masters (267) got passed in the all-time list this week by Connolly.

There is no sign of O’Connor or Hayes hanging up the boots yet, so those totals could yet increase, but you would expect Hurley, Connolly and Sherlock to be scoring heavily in the championship for many years to come yet.

Sherlock is only 25 years of age, Hurley is 29 and Connolly 30, so the likelihood is that ultimately it will be the Barrs sharpshooter who has the highest championship total of the trio once they all eventually hang up the boots, even if they are all well short of O’Connor’s incredible figure right now.

Of course, it has to be acknowledged that today’s forwards have a serious advantage over scorers from yesteryear, as the current structures are conducive to allowing forwards kick big totals every year. They are guaranteed at least three games, with the likes of the Barrs, Castlehaven and Nemo usually expected to get five or six days out.

And while Allen is unlikely to lose much sleep over dropping from fourth to seventh in the all-time Cork club scoring list, he is also likely to see an outright record that he holds on his own go before too long, that of the greatest goal scorer in Cork club football history.

GOAL-DEN

Those 30 goals he garnered for Nemo left him well clear of clubmate Paul Kerrigan and Carbery Rangers’ John Hayes' 19-goal totals, but another Capwell sharpshooter is now within sight of Allen’s total.

When Luke Connolly banged in two goals on August 13 to help Nemo to a 3-13 to 1-16 victory over Castlehaven in the group stage of the county championship it brought him to within three of Allen’s total. 

He failed to find the back of the net in the subsequent ties against Clonakilty and Carbery Rangers, but the penalty he slotted into the top corner of the Ballincollig net on Sunday at Páirc Uí Chaoimh brought his green flag total to 28, so he’s now very much within reach of Allen’s total.

The St Finbarr’s defence will certainly be hoping he will not be matching, or indeed, surpassing the total in this calendar year, as they will be looking to shut him out in the upcoming county final, but if not you would imagine there is a good chance the record could go in 2023. 

Connolly’s first goals for Nemo were scored in 2012 so he has reached that figure in double quick time, the seven green flags he scored in the 2020 club championship certainly helped to bolster his stats considerably.

These stats will not be a consideration once the ball is thrown in for the all-city final between Nemo and the Barrs, but they do tell us one thing, that both sides possess a match-winning sharpshooter each, and whichever side restricts their opponent’s main attacker will have gone a long way towards getting their hands on the Andy Scannell Cup.

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