Tom Cashman comes top of the class as best city hurler since 1972

Battle of the Bridge competition drew over 15,000 votes as 32 of the best players either side of the River Lee were pitted against each other
Tom Cashman comes top of the class as best city hurler since 1972

Cork hurling legend Tom Cashman drives the sliotar down the field in 1984. Picture: INPHO

TOM Cashman, a stylish and four-time All-Ireland winning hurler on the pitch and gentleman off it, has been crowned the best city hurler of the last 50 years by The Echo's readers.

We started out with 32 brilliant players from either side of St Patrick's Bridge at the outset of our fun competition looking back at the modern history of city hurling and it came down to a final between two southsiders: Cashman and Gerald McCarthy. Big names like Jimmy Barry-Murphy, Seán Óg Ó hAilpín, Patrick Horgan, Ger Cunningham, Wayne Sherlock, Tony O'Sullivan and Charlie McCarthy, were eliminated as the tournament progressed.

Brilliant former Cork hurling half-backs Dermot McCurtain, Johnny Crowley, and Tom Cashman with the Liam McCarthy Cup. Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE
Brilliant former Cork hurling half-backs Dermot McCurtain, Johnny Crowley, and Tom Cashman with the Liam McCarthy Cup. Picture: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE

The Rockies versus the Barrs head-to-head battle drew great interest in our online poll that saw over 15,000 votes cast, with Cashman coming out on top after a tight final. Tom Cash and Gerald Mac would both have been worthy winners, given their sustained excellence across a lengthy period at inter-county, their brilliance in club colours and their subsequent contribution to hurling as managers. 

To underline their calibre, the pair were in the starting 15 when a Cork Hurling Team of the Millenium was announced in 2000. 

Cashman comes from a family steeped in Blackrock; his father Mick was a brilliant goalkeeper in the 1950s and '60s while his uncle Jimmy Brohan also shone for club and county. His younger brother Jim was an excellent player too of course, anchoring the double-winning Cork team of 1990, while his nephews John and Niall Cashman and Alan and Gavin Connolly are at the forefront of the Rockies' modern renaissance. 

Tom collected eight Munster medals at senior level to go with his four All-Irelands, along with two league baubles. He was a three-time All-Star, twice the Munster final Man of the Match, and captained his county to ultimate glory in 1986. 

Tom Cashman lifting Liam MacCarthy.
Tom Cashman lifting Liam MacCarthy.

He was also dual Cork underage star, picking up silverware in hurling and football, winning a minor double in 1974 as a 17-year-old, and won it all with Blackrock too, including the 1979 All-Ireland. Extremely skillful, a great reader of the game and a beautiful striker of the ball, Cashman hurled up a storm at midfield in the late 1970s, and briefly at wing-forward, before settling into the half-back line.

 

Manager Tom Cashman talks to Joe Deane in the 2001 Munster championship. Picture: INPHO/Patrick Bolger
Manager Tom Cashman talks to Joe Deane in the 2001 Munster championship. Picture: INPHO/Patrick Bolger

Cashman stayed involved after his inter-county retirement in 1988 at the age of 31, most memorably as a selector alongside JBM for the 1999 All-Ireland and 2000 Munster triumph, before a year as bainisteoir in 2001.

The Cashman legacy continues on Church Road to this day and clearly the Leeside hurling faithful have not forgotten Tom's contribution either. 

The full list of 16 northside and 16 southside players at the start of the Battle of the Bridge was:

THE BATTLE OF THE BRIDGE

1. Paddy Barry (St Vincent's) v Wayne Sherlock (Blackrock);

2. Graham Callanan (Glen Rovers) v Fergal Ryan (Blackrock);

3. Christy Coughlan (Na Piarsaigh) v Shane O’Neill (Bishopstown);

4. Denis Coughlan (Glen Rovers) v Pat Moylan (Blackrock);

5. Barry Egan (Delanys) v Dermot McCurtin (Blackrock);

6. John Fitzgibbon (Glen Rovers) v Gerald McCarthy (St Finbarr's);

7. John Gardiner (Na Piarsaigh) v Charlie McCarthy (St Finbarr's);

8. Pat Horgan (Glen Rovers) v John Horgan (Blackrock);

9. Patrick Horgan (Glen Rovers) v Ronan Curran (St Finbarr's);

10. Tomás Mulcahy (Glen Rovers) v Ger Cunningham (St Finbarr's);

11. Seanie McGrath (Glen Rovers) v Ray Cummins (Blackrock);

12. Paul O’Connor (Na Piarsaigh) v Johnny Crowley (Bishopstown);

13. Martin O’Doherty (Glen Rovers) v Tom Cashman (Blackrock);

14. Seán Óg Ó hAilpín (Na Piarsaigh) v Jim Cashman (Blackrock);

15. Setanta Ó hAilpín (Na Piarsaigh) v Alan Browne (Blackrock);

16. Tony O’Sullivan (Na Piarsaigh) v Jimmy Barry-Murphy (St Finbarr's).

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