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Cork county hurling team

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nickname(s):The Rebels
The Leesiders
The Blood and Bandage
County board:Cork GAA
Manager:Kieran Kingston
Home venue(s):Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Cork
Recent competitive record
Current All-Ireland status:Munster (SF) in 2020
Last championship title:2005
Current NHL Division:1A (4th in 2020)
Last league title:1998
First colours

The Cork county hurling team represents Cork in hurling and is governed by Cork GAA, the county board of the Gaelic Athletic Association. The team competes in the three major annual inter-county competitions; the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship, the Munster Senior Hurling Championship and the National Hurling League.

Cork's home ground is Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Cork. The team's manager is Kieran Kingston.

The team last won the Munster Senior Championship in 2018, the All-Ireland Senior Championship in 2005 and the National League in 1998.

Cork is regarded as one of "the big three" in hurling, with Kilkenny and Tipperary completing the trinity. The county currently lies second in the all-time roll of honour in terms of All-Ireland SHC titles, having won its 30th in 2005. Cork has won the Munster SHC title 51 times, more than any other team in the province. Cork also lies second in the National League roll of honour, after winning its 14th title in 1998. In 1944, Cork won a fourth consecutive All-Ireland SHC title, a record which stood for 65 years until Kilkenny equalled it in 2009.

Cork also competes in the Waterford Crystal Cup and contributes players to the Munster Railway Cup team for an annual inter-provincial series of games.


Early years

In the early days Cork had been one of the few teams that was interested in fielding a hurling team in the very first All-Ireland championship in 1887,[citation needed] however, a dispute over which team should represent the county led to Cork not taking part at all. The county entered a team in 1888 and went on to win their first All-Ireland title in 1890 when Aughabullogue beat Castlebridge of Wexford.

In the early years of the competition the various county champions represented their county in the All-Ireland series, however, this changed in 1892 when Cork contested, and won, their second All-Ireland final with a team consisting of the best players from the various clubs in the county. Further All-Ireland titles in 1893 and 1894 meant Cork became the first team to win a three-in-row. This record would stand until it was later equalled by Kilkenny and Tipperary. Between 1901 and 1905 Cork appeared in five successive All-Ireland finals, however, victory only came in the form of a two-in-a-row in 1902 and 1903. Following this, Cork's hurlers waited sixteen years before their next All-Ireland win in 1919. A further five All-Ireland finals were contested by Cork between 1926 and 1931 with victory coming on four occasions.


By one important measure the Cork team of the 1940s is regarded as one of the two greatest teams of all-time.[original research?] They are one of only two teams to win four All-Ireland hurling titles in-a-row (the other being the Kilkenny team of 2006 to 2009). Many of the team's detractors,[who?] however, have questioned the worth of these championship victories as Cork lost the 1941 Munster championship and overcame a Dublin team, and an Antrim team who only got into the final because Kilkenny and Tipp could not play due to an out break of foot and mouth disease.[citation needed] The story of this Cork team's success is bookended by defeats in two All-Ireland finals, those of 1939 and 1947. The former has come to be known as the "thunder and lightning final".[citation needed] On the day before World War II broke out, Cork faced a Kilkenny side who were playing in their fourth final in five years. The game saw both sides remaining level for much of the game. Just as the game reached its climax a crack of thunder interrupted the play and the rain bucketed down. Kilkenny emerged victorious by a single point.[citation needed]

In 1941, an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the midlands forced Tipperary and Kilkenny to withdraw from the competition. As a result, Cork faced Limerick in the Munster final, and defeated them, before beating Dublin in the All-Ireland decider for one of the handiest championships ever won.[citation needed] Following the All-Ireland final Cork played Tipperary in the delayed Munster final and lost, thus becoming the very first All-Ireland champions but provincial runners-up. For these reasons Cork's first win of four in-a-row is often dismissed by their opponents.[citation needed]

In 1942 Cork defeated Tipperary in the Munster final and silenced their critics,[citation needed] before going on to claim their second consecutive All-Ireland title by again defeating Dublinn. In 1943 Cork were repeat Munster champions and qualified for the All-Ireland final where their opponents were expected to be Kilkenny. Kilkenny however, were defeated by Antrim, a junior team, in the All-Ireland semi-final. Cork went on to record a victory over Antrim in the final and claim a third consecutive All-Ireland victory. In 1944, Cork repeated as Munster champions, defeating Mick Mackey's Limerick side in the decider. They defeated Galway before beating their old enemy Dublin in the final. Cork set a record of four All-Ireland titles in-a-row that has never been equalled.[citation needed]

Five All-Ireland titles in-a-row was beyond this Cork team,[tone] as they were defeated in the 1945 Munster final. They returned in 1946, however, winning back their Munster crown and defeating Kilkenny in the All-Ireland final. Cork player Christy Ring, at the age of 25, collected his fifth All-Ireland winners medal. In 1947 Cork were playing in their sixth All-Ireland final of the decade. In what has been described as the greatest All-Ireland Hurling Final of all-time[by whom?] Cork were defeated by a single point. This defeat brought an end to the run of success of the Cork team of the 1940s.


Between 1949 and 1951 Cork had met Tipperary every year in the Munster final. Each year Tipp had won and went on to claim the All-Ireland title. By 1952 Cork had an extra motivating factor because they realised that if Tipperary beat them again, they would almost certainly win a fourth consecutive All-Ireland title and equal the record set by Cork in the 1940s. At the start of the 1952 championship Tipp were hot favourites to retain their All-Ireland crown. It looked like the same old story in the Munster final as Cork conceded a goal after just three minutes of play. A goal for Cork from Mossie O'Riordan was the turning point of the match, however, and Cork ended Tipp's hopes of four in-a-row with a scoreline of 1-11 to 2-7. Christy Ring, who had again proved instrumental in the victory, was shouldered off the field with blood streaming down his face and a bandage around his head. Cork went on to narrowly defeat Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final before hammering Dublin in the final.

In 1953 Cork set out to defend their title. They defeated their old rivals Tipperary in the Munster final and set up a meeting with Galway in the All-Ireland decider. The game would go down in history as the dirtiest All-Ireland final ever played. Galway believed that the physical route was the best way to upset Cork and it did. In a low scoring game Cork won by a single point, however, the battle didn't stop at Croke Park. Later that night some of the Galway players arrived at the Gresham Hotel where Cork were staying. A fight broke, with Christy Ring getting a punch in the face and falling down some steps. The melee ended just as quick as it had begun. In 1954 Cork were the favourites to complete another three in-a-row. They defeated Tipp again in the Munster final, before storming past Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final. The Corkmen then advanced to play Wexford in one of the most eagerly anticipated All-Ireland finals ever. Wexford were hotly tipped to spoil Cork's quest for another treble, however, on the day Cork's defence were on top form. They won on a scoreline of 1-9 to 1-6, with Christy Ring becoming the first player to win eight All-Ireland medals.

In 1955 Cork were beaten by Clare in the opening round of the Munster championship, however, they returned for one final swansong in 1956. They regained their Munster crown, courtesy of a hat-trick by Christy Ring, and set up another All-Ireland final showdown with Wexford. It was another classic encounter but sides at their peak. The turing point of the game came when Wexford were two points up. Their goalkeeper, Art Foley, saved a great shot by Christy Ring and cleared the ball. Within seconds Nicky Rackard scored a goal to win the game for Wexford. The final score was 2-14 to 2-8. Ring had been denied his ninth All-Ireland medal. In a show of solidarity Bobby Rackard and Nick O'Donnell of Wexford shouldered Ring off the field. It would be Cork's last All-Ireland final appearance for ten years.

Another three-in-a-row

In 1966 Cork came from nowhere to win their first Munster title in a decade and advanced to an All-Ireland final decider against Kilkenny. None of the Cork team had ever played in Croke Park before, however, for Kilkenny it was like their home stadium. There was even speculation that Christy Ring, the age of 45, was about to come out of retirement to play for Cork, however, this didn't happen. While Kilkenny were the favourites Gerald McCarthy captained one of the youngest Cork teams ever to victory. Kilkenny had their revenge over Cork in 1969, however, in 1970 Cork captured the Liam MacCarthy Cup with a massive win over Wexford.

The 1970s was to be a glorious decade for Cork's hurlers. In 1975 Cork won their first Munster title since 1972. It was to be the first of five Munster Championship victories in-a-row. An All-Ireland semi-final loss to Galway raised certain doubts over Cork's ability. They silenced their critics in 1976 when Cork faced Wexford in the All-Ireland final. After 8 minutes Cork were in severe trouble, having conceded two goals and two points. It looked as if the game was going to be a repeat of the 1956 final, however, Cork fought back to win what has been referred to as Pat Moylan's All-Ireland final.

In 1977 Cork were back in the All-Ireland final taking on Wexford for the second consecutive year. The game didn't start as quickly as the previous year, however, it was no less as exciting. Cork's captain, Martin O'Doherty, and the team's goalkeeper, Martin Coleman, were the heroes of the day, as Cork won on a scoreline of 1-17 to 3-8. The three-in-a-row was the major talking-point yet again and Cork didn't disappoint, returning to the All-Ireland final. This time their opponents were Kilkenny. They gave Cork a fright when they scored an early goal, however, an opportunistic goal by Cork's Jimmy Barry-Murphy sealed victory for the Leesiders. Sporting history was made. The possibility of completing a famous four-in-a-row looked extremely likely in 1979 when Cork captured their fifth Munster title. A defeat at the All-Ireland semi-final stage by Galway ended Cork's run of success, and brought an end to the careers of many of their most famous players.


Cork reclaimed their Munster Championship crown in 1982. It was the first of five Munster titles in-a-row. They reached the All-Ireland final that year but were defeated by Kilkenny. In 1983 Cork were defeated by "the cats" for the second consecutive year. 1984 was a special year for Gaelic games as it was the centenary year of the Gaelic Athletic Association. Having lost the previous two All-Ireland finals, Cork were even hungrier for success in 1984. The plan nearly came undone in the Munster final when Tipperary were up by four points with four minutes to go. One goal each from Seánie O'Leary and Tony O'Sullivan sealed victory for "the Rebels" and they advanced to an easy win over Offaly in the All-Ireland final at Semple Stadium.

In 1986 Cork were back in the All-Ireland final, this time facing favourites Galway. Cork scored four goals on that day and, in spite of a late goal by Galway's P.J. Molloy, Cork won the day on a scoreline of 4-13 to 2-15.


Four years later in 1990 Cork were again Munster champions before taking part in another final against Galway. Cork returned as the underdogs coming into the final. In one of the most high-scoring finals in years Cork re-emerged victorious with a scoreline of 5-15 to 2-21. The 1990s which started so well were to prove difficult for the Cork hurlers. After losing to Kilkenny in the All-Ireland final in 1992 it would take until 1999 for Cork to re-emerge as Munster and All-Ireland champions. Jimmy Barry-Murphy, coached the youngest Cork team ever to another All-Ireland victory.[citation needed]


While it was expected that the team would build on the success of 1999 the exact opposite happened.[original research?] After a defeat to Offaly in the All-Ireland semi-final in 2000 the team went into terminal decline.[citation needed] In 2002 the entire senior hurling panel took the unprecedented move of going on strike. The players, who had been seeking better conditions, refused to play or train with the county again until the dispute with the county board was resolved. The players demands included having their own doctor at all Championship, League, resolving disputes over travel arrangements and providing players with free gymnasium access. The strike was eventually resolved and all the demands were met, but not before the Cork footballers also went on strike in sympathy.

Following the strike the Cork hurlers came back stronger than ever,[original research?] winning three out of the next four Munster championships. Cork reached four consecutive All-Ireland finals with victories coming in 2004 and 2005. In 2006 Cork attempted to capture an elusive three-in-a-row, however, they were defeated by Kilkenny.

The Cork senior footballers and hurlers withdrew their services for almost 100 days from November 2007 until February 2008, during the 2007-2008 Cork players strike.

Current squad

Team as per Cork vs Kilkenny in the All-Ireland SHC semi final, 8 August 2021

No. Player Position Club
1 Patrick Collins Goalkeeper Ballinhassig
2 Niall O'Leary Right Corner Back Castlelyons
3 Robert Downey Full Back Glen Rovers
4 Seán O'Donoghue Left Corner Back Inniscarra
5 Tim O'Mahony Right Half Back Newtownshandrum
6 Mark Coleman Centre Back Blarney
7 Ger Millerick Left Half Back Fr. O'Neill's
8 Darragh Fitzgibbon Midfield Charleville
9 Luke Meade Midfield Newcestown
10 Conor Cahalane Right Half Forward St Finbarr's
11 Séamus Harnedy Centre Forward St. Ita's
12 Robbie O'Flynn Left Half Forward Erin's Own
13 Shane Barrett Right Corner Forward Blarney
14 Patrick Horgan (c) Full Forward Glen Rovers
15 Jack O'Connor Left Corner Forward Sarsfields
No. Player Position Club
16 Ger Collins Substitute Ballinhassig
17 Seán O'Leary-Hayes Substitute Midleton
18 Colm Spillane Substitute Castlelyons
19 Eoin Cadogan Substitute Douglas
20 Niall Cashman Substitute Blackrock
21 Damien Cahalane Substitute St Finbarr's
22 Billy Hennessy Substitute St Finbarr's
23 Shane Kingston Substitute Douglas
24 Alan Cadogan Substitute Douglas
25 Alan Connolly Substitute Blackrock
26 Declan Dalton Substitute Fr. O'Neill's

RET Player has since retired from the county team.
INJ Player has had an injury which has affected recent involvement with the county team.
WD Player has since withdrawn from the county team due to a non-injury issue.

Current management team

Updated to include changes made ahead of 2021 season:[1]

Managerial History

This is a list of people who have coached/managed the Cork senior hurling team in recent years.

Name Club From To All-Ireland titles Munster titles
Bertie Troy Newtownshandrum 1975 1980 1976, 1977, 1978 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979
Gerald McCarthy St Finbarr's 1980 1982
Johnny Clifford Glen Rovers 1982 1983 1983
Justin McCarthy
Fr. Michael O'Brien
1983 1985 1984 1984, 1985
Johnny Clifford Glen Rovers 1985 1988 1986 1986
Charlie McCarthy St Finbarr's 1988 1988
Con Roche St Finbarr's 1988 1989
Fr. Michael O'Brien Blackrock 1989 1993 1990 1990, 1992
Johnny Clifford Glen Rovers 1993 1995
Jimmy Barry-Murphy St Finbarr's 1995 2000 1999 1999, 2000
Tom Cashman Blackrock 2000 2001
Bertie Óg Murphy Sarsfield's 2001 2002
Dónal O'Grady St Finbarr's 2002 2004 2004 2003
John Allen St Finbarr's 2004 2006 2005 2005, 2006
Gerald McCarthy St Finbarr's 2006 2009
John Considine Sarsfield's 2009 2009
Denis Walsh St. Catherine's 2009 2011
Jimmy Barry-Murphy St Finbarr's 2011 2015 2014
Kieran Kingston Tracton 2016 2017 2017
John Meyler St Finbarr's 2018 2019 2018
Kieran Kingston Tracton 2020



  • First outfield hurler to wear a helmet in an inter-county game: Donal Clifford in the 1969 National Hurling League semi-final.[2]

Hurler of the Year winners


Team sponsorship

Cork was sponsored by O2 for 15 years. This arrangement ended on 31 December 2012.[3] In 2013, Chill Insurance announced it would sponsor Cork in a three-year deal.[4] Chill Insurance remained as sponsor for eight years until the end of 2020. Cork admitted in early 2021 that it had concluded a five-year deal with Sports Direct in December 2020, following public reports ahead of the intended launch.[5][6][7] Following publication, it was subsequently confirmed that all negotiations were held with Sports Direct's Dublin-based marketing division, with no involvement from the British part of the company or from Mike Ashley, the billionaire owner of an English association football club with links to the company.[8]

Head to Head Record

All Senior Championship Results since 2011 as of 8 August.

Team Province Pld W D L Win % Last Meeting
Colours of Clare.svg
Munster 9 7 0 2 78% 2021
Colours of Dublin.svg
Leinster 4 4 0 0 100% 2021
Colours of Galway.svg
Connacht 3 0 0 3 0% 2015
Colours of Kilkenny.svg
Leinster 3 2 0 1 67% 2021
Colours of Laois.svg
Leinster 1 1 0 0 100% 2011
Colours of Limerick.svg
Munster 7 2 1 4 29% 2021
Colours of Offaly.svg
Leinster 2 2 0 0 100% 2012
Colours of Tipperary.svg
Munster 7 1 1 6 12% 2020
Colours of Waterford.svg
Munster 8 5 0 3 63% 2020
Colours of Westmeath.svg
Leinster 1 1 0 0 100% 2019
Colours of Wexford.svg
Leinster 3 2 0 1 67% 2016


See also


  • Lewis, Simon (23 August 2012). "Sweetnam focus switches to rugby". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  • "O hAilpin retires from inter-county hurling". Irish Examiner. 2 November 2012. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
This page was last edited on 16 January 2022, at 01:21
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