At the Rochestown Park Hotel for the Cork 96FM C103 GAA Sports Star of the Month for December were joint winners Mark Collins, Castlehaven and Daniel Dineen, Cill Na Martra. Included are James McCarthy Manager Castlehaven; Geared Ó hEalithe, Roghnoir,, Cill Na Martra; Kieran McGeary, CEO Cork 96FM C103; Finbarr McCarthy, 96FM; Tom Tobin GM, Rochestown Park Hotel and Pat Horgan, Chairman Cork County GAA Board. Photo: Tony O’Connell

Joint winners of December sports award

It is rare in the 20 years of the 96FM/C013 GAA Sports Star awards in association with the Rochestown Park Hotel that there are joint winners but such was the case with the month of December.

Having won their respective Munster club football titles, it was only fitting that Cill Na Martra’s Danno Dineen and Castlehaven’s Mark Collins were honoured to acknowledge their achievements.

Unfortunately their bid for All-Ireland glory came up just short, the ‘Haven in the semi-final while Cill Na Martra were beaten in last Sunday’s final. That however should not take from what was an outstanding season for both clubs and the players themselves.

It was actually the 2nd time that Mark was honoured with a monthly award, and in accepting this one he paid tribute to the players: “It was a pleasure to be captain of such a great bunch who certainly gave it their all in every game, and while we didn’t get to the final, we can be very pleased with winning Cork and Munster titles.”

As for the drama of the Munster Final win over Dingle in a penalty shoot out in dreadful wind and rain: “Well it’s certainly one we won’t forget in a hurry but it was a great win, and one we enjoyed.”

Mark also paid tribute the management team - manager James McCarthy was in attendance - for their efforts not just this year but over the last few years and they finally got their reward the hard work deserved.”

Danno was still naturally a bit down after last Sunday’s heartbreaking loss, but like Mark was dwelling on the positives, “Sunday was hard to take but if someone said at the start of the year that a small village like us would end up in Croke Park, we would not have believed you, but it was some experience - just disappointed that we didn’t finish the job.”

Winning the county and Munster titles made for a very special year. “We came up short in a few big games in recent years but not so this season. We had great belief in ourselves and as a result we won some tight games which we might not have in the past.”

It was also great to have played 2 games in the Munster championship at their home ground. “That was brilliant and the work that the club done was absolutely incredible and it paid off, the entire parish rowed in to make it a day, indeed days to savour.”

On the plus side they have Senior A football to look forward to in the coming months. “That is really exciting and we are also hosting the Comórtas Peile Na Gaelthachta in June and that is going to make for another great few days.”

County Board Chairman Pat Horgan was fulsome in his praise for both recipients. “I want to sincerely congratulate Mark and Danno on being honoured, it is well deserved and of course for both clubs to go on and win Munster as well makes for a wonderful season. Of course you are disappointed at not going the distance, but that should not take from your excellent season, and I wish you both well for the coming season.”

Pat also paid tribute to the sponsors for their continued support of these awards and also 96FM/C103 for their coverage of our games.

Kieran McGeary of 96FM and Tom Tobin of Rochestown Park Hotel also congratulated both recipients and wished them success in the season ahead.

The overall winner will be announced at the gala banquet in the Rochestown Park Hotel.

Among the previous winners were Shane Beston of Ballygiblin; Dylan Foley of UCC; Willie Duggan of Mitchelstown CBS; Cork footballer Doireann O’Sullivan; Amy O’Connor, the Cork camogie captain, and Aghabullogue dual player Paul Ring.

Two other awards will be presented on the night the Kieran O’Driscoll Youth Award and the Donal Lehane Distinguished Career Award.

McGrath Cup Final

Cork v Kerry on Friday in Páirc Uí Rinn at 7pm

An early season meeting between these age old rivals that will have very little significance when they meet, hopefully, in the Munster semi-final later in the year.

Pre-season competitions are ideal for giving game time to players and see how they fare out at this level, and that is what both managers will be doing on Friday. Yes they would like to win, but the result will soon be forgotten.

Injuries and Sigerson Cup commitments will probably shape the starting 15 on both sides, but it’s ideal preparation for the Allianz National League which gets underway a week later. Cork face a tough away trip to Donegal in the opening round in what is a very competitive Division 2.

Harty Cup semi-final

In this their first year in 6 that they are back in the competition, Charleville CBS have surprised many by progressing to the last four. The manner in which, even with 14 players for a long time, they beat a fancied Midelton CBS in the quarter-final shows they are there on merit.

Nenagh CBS provide the opposition in Saturday’s semi-final in Cappamore at 2pm, and while they will once again go in as underdogs, they are well capable of causing another surprise.

Lidl Ladies Football NL Division 1

Cork v Galway on Sunday in Mallow at 2pm

A new year and new challenges for Shane Roynane and his management team even more so with a number of key players not available through injury or and at least 3 players opting out. Among them is Doireann O’Sullivan who will not be involved this season, and the Mourneabbey player has been a key performer over the years and is a huge loss.

A couple of others are gone travelling but a number will be back in time for championship.

This will give Shane the opportunity to try and develop a new team and additions to the panel will help, including the return of Sabdh O’Leary a very experienced forward who will be a big help.

This is a very tough division which includes Kerry, Meath and Dublin and Cork will be keen to get off to a winning start on Sunday.

Meanwhile, under new management the Cork minor camogie team begin their Munster Championship on Saturday when they play Tipperary in The Ragg, Thurles at 1.30pm.

Páirc Uí Chaoimh

There’s been much debate since Monday around the naming rights of Páirc Uí Chaoimh and certainly the possibility that it would change and the removal of the name of the man the stadium is called after annoyed a lot of GAA people.

The general consensus, one I share, is that the income generated by the deal is very welcome given the current financial position of the board. Taking away the name is one I would not agree with, and hopefully it might not come to that. A statement issued by the Executive during the course of Tuesday’s meeting, indicates that discussions continue with a potential partner. It will be interesting to see how it develops over the coming weeks.


Tadghie Drinan’s passing last week severed a long link with the GAA in the county particularly with his club St Finbarr’s whom he served with distinction over a long number of years in a variety of roles, including street leagues, Bord na nÓg delegate and in more recent years a driving force behind the club lotto.

Tadghie also acted as a Cork minor football selector with winning All-Ireland teams as they completed a 3 in a row 1967, ’68 and ’69.

For many years he was a key player in the selling and distribution of match programmes in Páirc Uí Chaoimh that generated much needed and welcome finance for Bord na nÓg Na Cathrach.

He was also a vice-president of Ballyhea GAA Club and also did enormous work for Redmond’s before joining the ‘Barrs.

Sincere sympathy to his family and all in St Finbarr’s, his presence at many venues in the county will be missed by all who knew a man that lived for the aims and ideals of CLCG.