Martin O'Doherty v Tom Cashman: 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
Martin O'Doherty v Tom Cashman: 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 Martin O'Doherty v Tom Cashman.

MARTIN O'DOHERTY (Glen Rovers):

IN the pantheon of hurling’s great full-backs, Martin O’Doherty would be regarded as one of the very best.

For club and county, he had few equals in a glittering career and he was one of the first great dual stars and he was certainly one of the greatest Glen hurlers of all time.

After the Glen’s county title-winning year of 1976, he was honoured with the Cork captaincy and in that three-in-a-row winning team of 1976, 1977 and 1978 he was an immense presence in the Cork defence.

He was regarded as one of the first great hurling full-backs, relying as much on his skilful ability alongside being a defender with a great physical presence. O’Doherty won every honour the game could offer, great success stories with the Glen, arriving on the scene in 1972 when the Blackpool team defeated Youghal in the county final of that year.

Martin O'Doherty received the Liam MacCarthy in 1977. 
Martin O'Doherty received the Liam MacCarthy in 1977. 

They subsequently went on to win the Munster club championship by defeating Roscrea in the final and that was followed up with victory over St Rynagh’s of Offaly in the All-Ireland final. He won a second All-Ireland club title in 1977 when the Glen defeated Camross in the final and by that time he was regarded as one of the country’s best defenders.

He was a winner in every grade that he played with the smaller ball but his football prowess was equally recognised.

He was a leader in the true sense of the word and in 1978 he was chosen at full-back on the winning Munster Railway Cup team.

In his time he marked with distinction players of the calibre of Joe McKenna, Tony Doran and our own icon, Ray Cummins and he always held his own. He was schooled in the great GAA academy of Críost Rí and won Harty Cup medals and Corn Uí Mhuirí at a time when that school was honours laden.

It would take a page on its own to list the honours that he collected in both codes but, whilst every honour was cherished, captaining Cork in 1977 and winning the county with the Glen in 1972 and 1976 would rank very highly in his highlights reel.

Truly, one of the great hurling defenders from that era or any era for that matter. His story will sit alongside any of the greatest Glen and Cork greats. Now domiciled in the USA, his legacy is set in stone, on and off the field, a true great.

TOM CASHMAN (Blackrock):

TOM Cashman has four All-Ireland medals – not exactly a unique haul in Cork but what sets the Blackrock man apart is that he played in three different positions across the victorious seasons.

Initially, he was midfield for the second and third legs of the 1976-78 three-in-a-row; then, in 1984 he was right half-back and in 1986 he captained the Rebels to glory from centre-back. Throw in a late 1970s stint at number 12 and his versatility is further underlined.

“I was in midfield with Tim Crowley in my first couple of years,” he said.

“Gerald would have been midfield with Pat Moylan the previous year and then Timmy and myself came in. About two years later, when John Fenton came in and made midfield his own, Gerald and Timmy and myself were the half-forward line! Once you could hurl, you could play anywhere, really.” 

Cashman, his Blackrock clubmate Dermot McCurtain and Crowley came on to the panel after Cork’s 1976 win and they immediately integrated themselves.

“When we came into the team, we were accepted straight away and we were told that we’d learn our apprenticeship with those guys and we did,” he said.

“In your first couple of years, to start off and win two All-Irelands was fantastic. 

The hope then was that the experience you’d gain from these guys could be passed on to the lads coming on in the 1980s. It was a great learning curve.” 

Prior to that, Cashman had won a minor All-Ireland double with Cork in 1974 as well as helping the county to U21 hurling glory in 1976 and winning the county SHC with Blackrock in 1975.

Despite his tender years, he displayed real maturity in the senior team – in 1977 and 1978, he was the Munster final man of the match and he ended both years with All-Star Awards. While Cork lost the 1982 and 1983 finals, he won a third All-Star in ’83 and was integral for the 1984 centenary win.

With the Rockies, further county senior titles were added in 1978, 1979 and 1985, the latter victory earning him the Cork captaincy for 1986. 

Tom Cashman with the All-Ireland in 1986.
Tom Cashman with the All-Ireland in 1986.

After an eighth Munster medal was secured, Cork made it to the All-Ireland final against Galway, whom they had lost to in the 1985 semi-final, but the tables were turned in the decider as Cashman won his fourth Celtic Cross.

Later, he would serve as a selector as Jimmy Barry-Murphy led Cork to win the 1999 All-Ireland and then he became manager after JBM’s departure.

As a player, his legacy was secured with selection on the Cork hurling Team of the Millennium.

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