CHARLIE McCarthy is regarded as one of the greatest Cork hurlers of his era.
Small but skillful, tough but fair, he was a fan favourite as a lethal goalscorer in Rebel red, netting 24 championship goals, and for St Finbarr's. He won every trophy on offer across a career that took him from the surprise All-Ireland-winning Cork team in 1966 to three-in-a-row captain in 1978.
This month he received a lifetime sporting achievement award by being named December Cork Person of the Month. His name now goes forward for possible selection as Cork Person of the Year at a Gala Awards lunch on January 27 next at the Rochestown Park Hotel.
Charlie McCarthy won five All-Ireland medals with Cork and captained the All-Ireland winning team in 1978. He is a revered figure in Cork hurling as he is in his beloved St Finbarr’s club. This year the Barrs club won the county championship after 29 years.
The last time they won it in 1993 Charlie McCarthy was coach.
He was one of the great corner-forwards for club and county, winning five Cork All-Ireland medals, nine Munster medals, four National Hurling Leagues and captained Munster to a win in the Railway Cup back in 1978. He also won three All-Star awards.
In 2001, to celebrate 30 years of the All-Stars, he was named at right-corner forward in the Supreme All-Star team.
Across a 15-year inter-county career, he scored 24-149, a tally that puts him fifth on the all-time Cork scorers list and a record of more than a goal every two games.
He made his senior debut for Cork in 1966 and won senior and U21 All-Ireland medals that year. That was a special year as it was Cork’s first senior All-Ireland since 1954. Gerald McCarthy captained that youthful Rebel side.
Charlie started his career in 1958 with the Redmonds U15 team and five years later transferred to St Finbarr’s senior team. After that he was quickly discovered as a rare sporting talent and picked for the Cork minor hurling and football teams, then U21, and on to the Cork senior teams.
A dual minor in 1964, he scored 3-1 in the All-Ireland hurling final win over Laois and almost achieved a double but the footballers lost out to Offaly.
With the Barrs, he won five senior county titles, four Munster wins and two All-Ireland Championships. In 1993 he also managed the Barrs to a Sean Óg Murphy win.
After retirement from hurling, Charlie became involved with team management and coaching for club and county. In 1985, along with Johnny Clifford, he led the Cork minor hurlers to Munster and then All-Ireland glory. Three years later, when Clifford was forced to resign as senior manager due to health reasons, McCarthy was appointed.
“When a sportsman’s name and skills remain in the public mind after 40 years, you know you are dealing with a very special person indeed.
"Charlie McCarthy is such a person and he was always known as a gentleman on and off the field," said awards organiser Manus O’Callaghan.