Monday 25 September 2017

'I used to love wearing that blood red of Cork' - Tomás Ó Sé has shock admission about the Rebels

Cork's Dave Barry (14), Larry Tompkins (11) Tony Davis and Teddy McCarthy (9) in action against Meath's Mattie McCabe and P.J Gillic (8) in the 1988 All Ireland final
Cork's Dave Barry (14), Larry Tompkins (11) Tony Davis and Teddy McCarthy (9) in action against Meath's Mattie McCabe and P.J Gillic (8) in the 1988 All Ireland final

Harry Clarke

Tomás Ó Sé has made a startling admission that may come as a shock to those in his native, beloved Kingdom of Kerry. Tomás Ó Sé used to love wearing the Cork jersey!

In another compelling column in today's Irish Independent, Tomás analyses the current state of Cork football and argues that they should be emulating their hurling counterparts who enjoyed a memorable win over Tipperary last weekend.

Having won 10 of the last 14 Munster Under-21 titles, Tomás argues that the Rebels have the talent to put it up to the likes of Kerry yet for whatever reason they have consistently failed to deliver.

There was a time when things were different, when Cork were the dominant force down south and there was a time when Ó Sé chose the red of Cork over the green and gold of Kerry.

"When we were children in Ventry in the late '80s, there'd be four of us out the back, endlessly imitating the big dogs of the game," writes Ó Sé.

"Those dogs were Meath and Cork. They collided in three out of four All-Ireland finals between '87 and '90 and, at the time, nothing felt bigger. We'd be glued to the television whenever they crossed swords.

My uncle Páidí was a great man for swapping jerseys and he used have this huge trunk of them in the house in Ard an Bothair. And, whenever he wasn't around, we'd be like locusts in an orchard, pulling shirts of every colour out so we might re-enact whatever game we'd seen on television.

"Páidí would be vexed with our thieving and I often think that that trunk would be a real treasure trove today, if only he'd put a padlock on it.

"The jerseys might have shrunk a little from the washing machine, but they'd still be flowing on us like evening gowns as we bate balls off the gable wall, playing out our own All-Ireland finals. And strange as it might seem given our history of family and place, I used to love wearing that blood red of Cork.

"Why? Because they were a team of men. From Kerins to Cahalane to O'Brien to Counihan to Teddy Mac to Fahy to Barry to Allen and, of course, Tompkins, they had a ruthlessness about them. And with Billy Morgan on the line? Jesus, that team was one tough nut to crack.

"So even though, in my adult life, beating Cork became such a fundamental obligation, I grew up with a massive respect for what they represented.

"Some of the hardest opponents I ever faced in football were Corkmen. Graham Canty, Noel O'Leary, Nicholas Murphy, Alan O'Connor, Pearse O'Neill… big men, great footballers."

Read Tomás' full column in today's Irish Independent

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport