Monday 19 February 2018

Duhallow in a hurling frenzy

Willie O’Connor, Kanturk
Willie O’Connor, Kanturk

John Tarrant

CORK'S winning march in the All Ireland hurling series is capturing the imagination, none more so than in North Cork.

CORK'S winning march in the All Ireland hurling series is capturing the imagination, none more so than in North Cork.

The summer of 2013 has represented a shift in power with the demise of fancied contenders Kilkenny, Tipperary and Galway to be replaced with the likes of Cork's dramatic rise in fortunes who stand just 70 minutes away from lifting the Liam McCarthy Cup on Sunday, September 8.

Easier said than done, for either Clare or Limerick hold their own incentive of savouring a sweet outright triumph, too. Central to Cork's march to Croker next month is a key Duhallow involvement.

Traditionally more associated with football, Duhallow is well represented on the starting team with Anthony Nash and Lorcán McLoughlin (Kanturk), William Egan (Kilbrin) and panelist Mark Ellis (Millstreet).

With flags and bunting on the rise across North West Cork, Duhallow Junior Board chairman Richard Murphy hailed the input of players from the barony on the big hurling days in Limerick, Thurles and Croke Park.

"For many years we have promoted the game within the division, particularly at underage level. Credit to the clubs for the tremendous work undertaken, coaching at underage with many of the players sampling success at club level", he said.

And the Duhallow official hailed the voluntary efforts of coaches on articulating the quality of the game.

"We have taken the cream from the clubs and put them together in divisional teams, from juveniles up to minor and U21 level. The teams and managements have delivered, reaching four county U21 finals, many of the players developing the character to play at inter county level such as Anthony, William, Lorcán and Mark ", he said.

The feelgood factor is sure to generate unprecedented interest amongst fans in search of big match tickets. With each club in the country allotted tickets, clubs from the participating county will be unable to meet demand yet the Duhallow chairman called for fans to be patient.

"Its going to be an unique occasion. People will want to get to Croke Park to see quality hurling, savour the occasion and cheer on Cork. We will need many more tickets than our official allotment. But usually at the end of the day, people and clubs make out from contacts throughout the country. Hopefully, we can all get there and enjoy a special occasion", he said.

Meanwhile, Newmarket historian Andy O'Connor relates its all of 35 years since the last Duhallow player to win an All Ireland senior hurling medal.

"Newmarket's Jerry Cronin was sub 'keeper in 1977/78. He would have made the 1980 team only that his job as an engineer took him to work in the Middle East before returning and winning a Limerick Co. SHC medal with Claughan", he said.

Overall Jerry won five All Ireland medals and figured on county minor, u21, junior and senior teams.

"Up to 2013, no Duhallow player has started in an All Ireland senior hurling final. That will change, the second Sunday in September promises to be a wonderful game to watch and a special occasion", said Andy.


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