Monday 22 January 2018

where are they now?

TIM CROWLEY

(Former Cork hurler)

THERE was a reason why Tim Crowley from the football stronghold of Newcestown in West Cork became an All Star hurler and a midfield mainstay in Cork's golden era in the 1970s. "I went to boarding school, in St Finbarr's, Farranferris," he explains.

"It was a hurling school and we won the Harty Cup and the All-Ireland colleges in 1969, and that got me on to the Cork minor team, which won the All-Ireland in 1969 and 1970. Kevin Kehilly was a colleague of mine, and he went to Hamilton school in Bandon, which was a football school, and he excelled for many years in the Cork football team."

Back then, St Finbarr's, North Mon, Chríost Rí and St Colman's gave Cork a strong hand at colleges level and this fed into success at minor and under 21 level. An under 21 All-Ireland followed in 1973 for Tim, but he had to wait for his chance at senior level.

"The competition for places was fierce," he recalls. "The ultimate was to get on the Cork team and, in 1977, Pat Moylan, who was a star in the 1976 All-Ireland win, broke his ankle, and that's how I got in."

He stayed in the team until 1985, winning All-Irelands in '77, '78 and '84, National Leagues in '80 and '81, the Railway Cup in '81 and his All Star award in '82.

"I got in at midfield, but I also played at half-forward and centre-forward. Cork used to rotate that way."

He considers himself fortunate to have played with so many great hurlers. "I always believe that to win you need excellent forwards, and we had Ray Cummins, who brought a new dimension to full-forward play, and Seánie O'Leary and Gerald McCarthy, who are up there with the best that ever played."

Since Tim's era, Cork's dominance at colleges level has disappeared, but he sees hopeful signs. "This year Rochestown and Hamilton in Bandon did well in the Harty, and that's a hopeful sign, and in the present team, there are city players like Damien Cahalane (St Finbarr's), Alan Cadogan (Douglas), Pat Horgan (Glen Rovers), and two from my own club, Bishopstown, Shane O'Neill and Pat Cronin, so things are looking up."

Retired from Coillte, Tim, who won a junior football All-Ireland in 1972, was part of the management team at Bishopstown for a number of years when they got to the county final. His daughter Miriam took on the sporting mantle and was on the Ireland hockey team that almost qualified for the Olympics.

Of today's game with Waterford, Tim says: "I think Cork should win. They have a few new players, good players, who will hopefully improve the team."

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