John Martin – Cork revival
CHRISTY Ring once likened Cork hurling teams to mushrooms, only half joking that they popped up overnight. But even Jimmy Barry-Murphy’s last crop of All-Ireland winners in 1999, although they came out of nowhere in terms of senior success, had a fair number of underage All-Ireland medals in their pockets.
Most of them were crafted by JBM himself in the minor teams of the mid-90s. Not this time though. The current team being put together by JBM will have to wait a few more years to earn their MacCarthy Cup stripes, however a semi-final in his first year in charge just two seasons after their humiliation by Kilkenny at the same stage will count as satisfactory progress for Barry-Murphy.
And that’s not to say that Sunday’s semi-final against Galway is a foregone conclusion. It is Galway after all, but even allowing for some legendary Tribe unpredictability, Cork are at least a couple of seasons away from the tag of serious contenders – a list that contains just three counties at the minute.
Galway are just about included on that list this year, alongside the obvious pair, but the results this year have shown that the gap between serious contender and potential contender is not easily bridged, despite the chasing pack closing in.
The full story is in the current issue of Gaelic Life, published on Thursday August 9. Buy your copy now in your local newsagent, or you can purchase the online version – for only 90p – by clicking here