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Cork Independent


The GAA Review of the Year: Part 1

Wednesday, 12th December, 2018 4:45pm

There is no doubt that as the 2018 season began we wondered what it would bring, with changes to both intercounty hurling and football championships.

Hurling did not disappoint, it was without doubt the best we have ever seen, full of drama right to the very end.

The same could not be said of the football. For Cork it all ended badly and tamely it must be said, while from a long way out Dublin looked unbeatable, and they justified that tag, and are now on the hunt for the five-in-a-row.


On the club scene there was a Duhallow double as Kanturk and Knocknagree made it to Croke Park for their respective All-Ireland Finals.

CBC exited the Dr Harty Cup at the semi-final stage and the Allianz National Leagues got underway with a Páirc Uí Chaoimh double-header.

Tipperary won the football clash and in hurling Cork just get the better of Kilkenny, and the 96FM/C103 Sports Star winner was Pearse Murphy, the Adrigole clubman retired after 22 years as Cork County Board Treasurer.



There was mixed results in the national leagues; the hurlers struggled to win games, as the footballers picked up a couple of wins to keep their hopes of promotion just about alive. Nemo Rangers were taken to extra-time in their All-Ireland semi-final with Ulster champions Slaughtneill but then blew the Derry side away to book a St Patrick’s Day date with Corofin.

There was joint winners of the 96FM/C103 Sports Star award with the captains of All-Ireland champions, Lorcan O’Neill of Kanturk and Knocknagree’s Matthew Dilworth were the recipients.



In the end the Cork footballers win over Meath in Navan kept them in Division 2 of the National League. The hurlers went under to Tipperary, which meant a relegation play-off against Waterford which was won, and Division 1A status was retained.

No joy for Nemo Rangers who were literally blown away by Corofin in the All-Ireland Club Final and their wait for a seventh title goes on, not a bad complaint to have, though.

Cork won the Division 2 of the National Camogie League, and with Linda Collins outstanding throughout the campaign, the Courcey Rovers player was the winner of the 96FM/C103 Sports Star award.



Cork did and it made for a hectic schedule as the championships in all grades and codes got underway.

No real surprise in football but a big win for St Nick’s who, with goals from Glen Kennefick and David Dooling, saw off Kiskeam to banish any threat of relegation.

Same story in hurling although Newcestown’s win over the ‘Barr’s could have been termed a surprise. One club that was extremely busy were Valley Rovers who played five games between hurling and football and won all five and in recognition of this Jack Walsh, a dual player, was the recipient of the 96FM/C103 Sports Star award.

The Cork minor footballers had an easy win over Waterford, but their championship aspirations were once again ended by Kerry in the next round.

The Kingdom, with ease, retained their provincial and All-Ireland titles. At least the Munster Council have changed the format for the 2019 championship, and Cork should at least get a few more games.


The new look Munster Hurling Championship got underway with a bang as Cork, with late points by Dean Brosnan and Mark Ellis quickly followed by a goal of sheer quality by Seamus Harnedy, defeated Clare in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

On the same day Limerick beat Tipperary, so the pressure was on the Premier County.

A week later Cork had Tipperary on the rack in Thurles, but in keeping with their tradition, they battled back to force a draw. Would it be enough, though, as Clare got the better of Waterford in Ennis. With Tipp and Waterford struggling, and the latter’s problems compounded as Walsh Park was deemed unsuitable for their games, leaving Waterford with no home advantage for their games.

Round 3 was as dramatic as you could ever imagine. Over 30,000 watched as a 14 man Limerick secured a priceless draw in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, while Tipperary and Waterford also drew in the Gaelic Grounds, on the day of the goal that should never have been allowed.

It all meant that Tipp and Waterford were on the brink of elimination, and Cork, Clare and Limerick were in pole position to advance.

Cork sat out Round 3, as Limerick and Clare had wins over Waterford and Tipperary, confirming their season was over, and so too was the reign of the respective managers, Derek McGrath and Michael Ryan.

Cork, without even playing, had more or less qualified for the Munster Final, which they duly did by beating Waterford in the final round and were to face Clare who defeated Limerick.

In tandem with the Senior Championhip, the minor hurlers also played and despite a winning start, Cork failed to advance from the group stages.

With all the focus on hurling, Ronan McCarthy took his footballers to Thurles on a Saturday evening for a tricky looking tie against a fancied Tipperary side. In the end, though, it was an emphatic victory for Cork, who played their best football all year to win comfortably, to set up a Munster Final meeting with Kerry.

The 96FM/C103 award winners for these months were footballer Ruairi Deane and hurler Darragh Fitzgibbon.

Frank Murphy


The purchase and subsequent redevelopment of Páirc Uí Rinn, giving us two county grounds of excellent standard and the envy of many.

There has also been down days or weeks as is the case with most organisations, but I would suggest more good then bad.

There are, of course, many other achievements that had Frank's stamp on and Cork as a county are in a far better place as a result of his stewardship.

On a personal level I have had many dealings with Frank, in my position as a club runaí and in my role with 96FM/C103. At all times I have found him courteous and helpful, sure we have a few robust debates, but when these were completed, it was business as usual.

I always found him fair in any dealings I had with and I look forward to that continuing. I wish him well in his retirement, but feel sure should his advice and help be required, it will be forthcoming.

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