JBM leaves Cork with his reputation intact
We always speak well of the dead, both the literal and metaphorical varieties, in this country. But there was something genuine about the note of admiration which marked the obsequies for Jimmy Barry-Murphy's inter-county career last week.
That's because ever since the St Finbarrs man burst on the scene as a teenage skinhead, rattling in two goals for Cork in the 1973 All-Ireland football final, he displayed flair, class and devil-may-care panache without ever giving the impression of untoward egotism.
It was an almost impossible feat to pull off but JBM specialised in the impossible. And, though it might not seem like it now, I think his second spell as Cork hurling manager will come to be seen as one of his finest achievements. The chalice he was handed wasn't just poisoned, it had acid smeared on the outside, yet he managed to restore some of the old faith and confidence to a depressed and divided following.