Cork’s band of brothers flying the family flag
Family connections and the GAA go hand in hand, though the Cork hurlers and footballers really are brothers in arms this season.
Right around the country, sets of brothers are the cornerstone of the club game in particular, vital to the survival of the GAA in some parishes.
At inter-county level we have seen many examples of brothers lining out together in championship action.
At the very highest level, 26 sets of brothers have won All Stars between both codes, while in 2007, Darragh, Tomas and Marc O’Se created history when they were honoured on the same team at that season’s gala event.
This season will see a number of families watching on in earnest as brothers embark on another season that will begin with Spring home.
Nowhere is this more evident then down on Leeside.
Eoin and Alan Cadogan
Eoin Cadogan has resumed his role as a dual player this season after concentrating solely on the big ball last season and is one of the most recognisable players in the country.
A decorated player in both grades up through the ranks, the Douglas man made his senior football bow in 2007 against Donegal and represented Ireland during the International Rules Series in 2011.
A top class defender in both codes, Jimmy Barry-Murphy will be delighted to have Cadogan back in the hurling ranks for the coming campaign as he looks to put an injury-plagued 2013 behind him.
At 20, Alan is seven years his brother’s junior, but he too has an impressive underage career in Cork colours, playing in both codes and picking up U-21 Munster medals in 2012 and 2013.
More attack-minded that Eoin, Alan made his League debut against Limerick recently and will look to profit from Barry-Murphy’s willingness to give youth its chance.
Colm, Kevin and Brian O’Driscoll
With more GAA clubs than any other county to choose from, for three brothers to be part of the Cork set-up is a remarkable feat.
The trio were named in Brian Cuthbert’s initial National League squad, not that any of the O’Driscoll clan are strangers to pulling on a Cork jersey.
Members of the Tadhg MacCarthaigh club in West Cork, all three have represented the Rebels with distinction at underage level.
The eldest of the trio, Colm first tasted success with the Rebels with All-Ireland U-21 success over Down in 2009, where his last-gasp exploits earned him the man-of-the-match award.
Heading towards injury-time the Rebels found themselves two points down when the Down goalkeeper Gavin Joyce could only park a shot, where O’Driscoll pounced to seal a dramatic All-Ireland for a side that included Noel Galvin, Aidan Walsh, Ciaran Sheehan, Mark Collins, Colm O’Neill and younger brother Kevin.
Kevin made his Cork debut back in 2011 and appeared off the bench in last night's impressive victory over the Dubs at Croke Park. A Munster medallist at minor level, he has added Munster and All-Ireland success at U-21 (2009) and Junior (2012) grades - alongside Colm on both occasions - to earn his place in the squad.
Composed on the ball with a range of passing, he was an integral part of the UCC side that claimed Sigerson three years ago, with a man-of-the-match display against Jordanstown.
At home in a number of positions from wing-back up to wing-forward, he will be keen to stake his claim during the rest of the league campaign.
19 year-old Brian often operates more often than not from the half-back line and followed his brothers in claiming a Munster U-21 medal in 2012. The UCC student is a powerful player in possession and noted for surging runs from defence, while also comfortable with 45s.
He made his League bow in the victory over Westmeath last month.
John and Lorcan McLoughlin
Lorcan, the younger of the McLoughlin siblings, is perhaps better known to a wider audience after the hurler’s march to the All-Ireland Final last year.
The midfielder was man-of-the-match in the semi-final victory over the Dubs and was a key figure throughout the season.
A talented footballer also, he as an U-21 All-Ireland medal, hurling was going to be his number one sport and says one of his proudest achievements was an All-Ireland Vocational Schools medal with Colaiste Trease, Kanturk. He scored 2-10 out of a team total of 2-15 that day, including a sideline cut and after starring for the intermediates, was drafted into the senior set-up in 2010.
John at 25 is a year older and the carpenter made his senior debut with the footballers during McGrath Cup action four years ago, but has had to bide his time since.
He has Munster and All-Ireland medals at junior and U-21 level and Cuthbert has given him opportunities to shine during the victorious McGrath Cup campaign and started the opening two National League victories at corner-back.