In the draw for the intermediate championship of 1967, Carrig were paired with Glen Rovers. It was a tough draw not made to look any easier by Carrig’s mixed league form in the spring. They beat Eire Og in Carrig on their first outing, 5-9 to 1-5, on a day when the visitors introduced a teenage Mick Malone. However, that was their only victory before the Championship.
Cobh beat them by a point, 1-12 to 3-5, though Carrig made an encouraging fight back from seven points behind at the break. They also lost narrowly to Ballymartle, 6-9 to 6-6, with a young Pat O‘Connor making a big impression on his first appearance. In the weeks before the championship they lost to Midleton, Kilworth and Cobh in challenge matches, but on the day of the championship they summoned a big performance from somewhere.
Carrig’s match was the second on a double bill at the Athletic Grounds on the last Sunday of June. In the main attraction the Glen beat UCC by three goals in the senior championship before a crowd of 9,504. All of the drama, however, was reserved for the next match.
The Examiner reports: “Carrigtwohill sorely tempted the gods at the Cork Athletic Grounds yesterday and were nearly caught out at the end of their intermediate hurling championship game against Glen Rovers. Carrigtwohill played their game in patches because they had this extraordinary capacity to come up with delightful spells of hurling when goals seemed to come, not one at a time, but in handfuls and yet each time they did this they relaxed and allowed Glen Rovers back into the game.“
At one stage in the first half Carrig led by 3-1 to 0-4, but were only on level terms at the break. The Glen took the lead early in the second half before Carrig unleashed another volley of goals. Still, the Glen came back and were two points up in the closing stages, before the match settled finally at a draw, 7-5 to 6-8. “Star performer for Carrig,” reported the Examiner, “was their centre-forward Tom Browne who had two great goals. Michael John Roche, Pat O’Brien, Eamon Barry and corner back Seanie Barry were among their best.“
Carrig: Dave O’Keeffe, Michael Barry, John Barry, Seanie Barry 0-1, Donie McCarthy, Johnny O’Roirdan, Neilus Kidney 0-1, Tommy Jeffers, Eamonn Barry, Michael John Roche 2-0, Tom Browne 2-3, Pat O’Connor 1-0, Ollie O’Connor, Paddy Roche, Pad O’Brien 2-0.
In the replay two weeks later Carrig didn’t get going until it was too late. Playing with the wind the Glen led by 3-5 to 1-2 at half-time and just to fireproof their advantage the Glen introduced a Cork senior, Andrew O‘Flynn, at halftime. Carrig, though, didn’t go down without a kick.
“It was a transformed Carrig side which took the field in the second half,” reported the Southern Star. “Within ten minutes of the resumption John O‘Connor, Michael John Roche and Tom Browne tacked on points to narrow the gap. Carrig were hurling more fluently and a goal at this stage would have changed the entire pattern of the game. Unfortunately for the Carrig men that score never came, although the Glen had some hair-raising escapes as Carrig piled on the pressure in the third quarter.” O’Flynn set up the decisive goal for the Glen near the end and they pulled away to win by eight points, 4-9 to 1-10.
Carrig: Dave O’Keeffe, Michael Barry, John Barry, Seanie Barry, Johnny O’Roirdan 0-1, John O’Connor 0-1, Donie McCarthy, Tommy Jeffers 0-1, Eamon Barry, Michael John Roche 0-1, Tom Browne 0-6, Pat O’Connor, Neilus Kidney, Paddy Roche, Pad O’Brien 1-0.
With the exit of the intermediates the Junior Bs picked up the baton. They began with a narrow victory over Midleton and followed that with an 11-6 to 1-1 win over St Catherines. Dungourney were favourites for the championship and Carrig met them in the semi-final. The match ended in a draw but for the replay Carrig were without one of their better players, Tony Ahern, who was suffering from the after-effects of his vaccination in preparation for a trip to America. In the event Dungourney won easily, 4-6 to 2-4.
Carrig: Ollie Healy, Seanie Hegarty, Leo Kidney, Pad Cotter, Denis O’Connor, Denis O’Keeffe, Billy Kidney, Tim O’Connor, Hubert Fouhy, Davy Sheehan, Donal Barry, Michael Savage, Michael ‘Fox’ Sheehan, Michael Sheehan*, *Rossmore.
The minor hurlers went out in the first round to Youghal, 3-7 to 2-3. The team is not available but the panel included:
Denis Murnane, Joe O‘Mahony, Denis O‘Shea, Jimmy Collins, Denis Healy, Ollie Healy, Bobby Keating, James Roche, Michael McCarthy, Denis Healy, Peter Seymour, Jerry O‘Connell (Terrysland), Ray Kelly, John Kelleher, Hubert Fouhy, Davy O’Donovan, Val Carey, Seanie McCarthy, Pa Keane.
Though Carrig endured a lean year, a couple of the stars enjoyed recognition in the Cork jersey. Tom Browne scored 3-2 for Cork against Clare in the opening of a pitch in Cloughduv and was introduced as a sub during the championship match against Waterford. Cork were reigning All Ireland Champions but that day Waterford caught them.
With Eddie O’Riordan a selector and Seanie Barry playing corner back, the Cork intermediate hurlers won the Munster
Championship, beating Limerick in the final. They later reached the All Ireland final, where London beat them by four points. Former Cork greats Willie John Daly and Mattie Fouhy took the field again for a Cork All Stars selection against a Tipperary All Stars in a charity match. Playing from memory, Fouhy starred at half back and Daly scored 1-2 from wing forward.
Off the field the wheels of the club turned with ever greater speed. A fund raising variety concert was held at the end of March, witnessed by The Southern Star: “A very successful and highly entertaining concert was recently presented by the Carrigtwohill GAA club at the Muintir na Tire parish hall. It was an all local effort in which school children from St Marys Boys National School and St Aloysius Girls school participated.”
“A group of young ladies which included sisters Mary and Margaret Mannion, sisters Mary and Betty O’Connor, West End, Veronica O’Sullivan, Ellen McSweeney both of Main Street, Mary O’Keeffe, Marie Fitzgerald and Chrissie Fitzgerald, provided an excellent chorus group. Three different sketches of local interest provided many a laugh. Solo items were provided by Garret O‘Keeffe, Davy O‘Keeffe, Willie John Curran and Miss Mary Mannion.”
Later in the year the club held its first festival. For ten days of May the parish was distracted by clock golf, races, tug of war, hurling tournaments, a most glamorous mother competition and seven dances.
In the draw for the 1968 intermediate championship Carrig enjoyed better luck than the year before with a first round against Rathluirc (Charleville). Carrig duly beat them in the first week of April, though the performance was less convincing than the 2-11 to 2-1 scoreline might suggest.
“Carrigtwohill made rather heavy work of defeating a poor Rathluirc side,” reported the Examiner. “Though the losers enjoyed equal territorial advantage they missed a number of good scoring chances and were trailing as a result throughout the hour.” Carrig led by 1-5 to 1-0 at half time and won the second half by the same margin.
Carrig Scorers: Paddy Roche 1-3, John O’Connor 0-4, Tim O’Connor 1-0, Denis O’Keeffe 0-2, Mick Sheehan 0-1, Pat O’Connor 0-1.
Later in the month, on April 21st, the club’s new pitch and dressing rooms were officially opened under Johnny Roche’s chairmanship, after 12 years of preparation and development. It was one of the club’s proudest moments, and one of its greatest contributions to the community from which it sprang. The cost of the whole project, including the land purchase, was £2,000, a princely sum at the time. The GAA President Seamus O’Riain performed the official opening of Pairc Sheamus de Barra, named in honour of one of the club’s greatest administrators Jim Barry.
An older brother of Tom, Din and John ‘The Runner’, Jim came on as a sub when Carrig won the senior county championship in 1918 and exerted a significant influence as a mentor on the successful senior teams of the 1920s and 1930s. His biggest contribution to the club, however, was arguably in administration. In an era of less rigid structures Barry was one of the people who had the vision and the drive to take the club forward.
When the East Cork board was formed in 1924 he was elected as its first vice-chairman; with Carrig he held every significant office in a lifetime of service. He died in 1945, a young man in his mid-50s. In the programme to commemorate the pitch opening Eddie paid this tribute: “The field which we open today is dedicated to one of Carrigtwohill‘s greatest sons. This man did more than any other to place on the GAA map the club he so dearly loved. The members of the club hope that this field will keep alive his memory forever.”
A challenge match between Cork and Waterford was the centre piece of the day but Waterford fielded a seriously weakened team and Cork thrashed them, 6-14 to 1-6.
Carrig’s form was encouraging in the lead-up to the second round against Ballinhassig. Without half a dozen first choice players they beat Cloyne 6-12 to 4-6 in the final of an intermediate tournament hosted by Carrig.
In the championship, though, Carrig were the victims of an upset: “Ballinhassig surprised friend and foe alike with the quality of their performance against a strong Carrigtwohill,” reported the Examiner. “They did so by battling back against wind, sun and rain in the last ten minutes to win decisively (4-11 to 4-6) after losing a substantial first half lead. For such a young side the winners showed considerable maturity and played their best hurling when Carrig drew level half way through the second half. Carrig tired badly in the last six minutes when the effort of staying with their younger opponents told on them.”
“Ballinhassig started well but their half time lead of seven points did not look at all secure with a strong wind to face in the second half. When a long range John O‘Connor free was finished to the net by Paddy Roche shortly after half time Carrig really had their tails up. Carrig hurled well enough in the first half to suggest that they would win when they had the advantage of the wind in the second half, but they never moved as well after the change of ends.”
“They got the breaks and the scores to bring them level, but then somehow ran out of steam, faltering when they should really have been pouring it on and they allowed Ballinhassig to regain the initiative and run out decisive winners. Carrig were well served by goalie Davy O‘Keeffe, centreback John O‘Connor, a good centre-fielder in Pat O’Connor and quality forwards in Tom Browne and Paddy Roche.“
The team is unavailable but the panel included: Davy O‘Keeffe, John O’Connor, Seanie Barry, Hubert Fouhy, Michael John Roche, Anthony Kelly, Pad O‘Brien, Tom Browne, Donal Buckley, John Barry, Mike Sheehan*, Denis O’Connor, Johnny O’Riordan, Donie McCarthy, Pat O’Connor, Denis O’Keeffe, Tim O’Connor, Mick ‘Fox’ Sheehan, Billy Kidney, Davie Sheehan, Paddy Roche, Bobby Keating. *Rossmore
From that point the season never picked up again. In the Liam Breathnach Cup, which in those days was open only to teams beaten early in the intermediate and senior championships, Carrig lost to Ballincollig by 5-8 to 4-5, While in the junior B championship Carrig lost to White’s Cross in the first round, 3-12 to 4-7.
The U-21s went out to Cloyne in the semi-final of their championship, 3-14 to 3-5. They recovered well from an early deficit to be within just two points with 15 minutes to go; however a Cloyne goal shortly afterwards accelerated the match beyond Carrig’s reach.
Carrig: Ollie Healy, Donie Collins, Michael Sheehan*, James Roche, Noel Cotter, Donie McCarthy, Bobby Keating, Denis O’Keeffe, Joe O’Mahony, Denis O’Connor, Hubert Fouhy, Michael ‘Fox’ Sheehan, John Healy, Denis John Murnane, Raymond Kelly. *Rossmore
The minor championship was played on a league basis and though we only have records of a defeat to Youghal (in which Carrig recovered from 18 points down to lose in the end by two) and a victory over Cloyne, Carrig didn‘t do enough to qualify from their group. Hubert Fouhy made the Cork minors and did well coming on as a substitute against Limerick, but was dropped from the panel for the next round and that was Cork’s last match.
The Carrig panel known to us included: Hubert Fouhy, James Roche, Bobby Keating, Davy O’Donovan, Patrick Keane, Ollie Healy , Sean McCarthy, Jimmy Collins, David Keane, Tommy O’Leary, Bobby Sheehan, Seamus Cummins, Michael McCarthy, Seamus Cotter, James Barry.
Imokilly reached the senior county final in 1968 but were beaten narrowly by St Finbarrs, 5-9 to 1-19. Johnny O’Riordan at left corner back was the only Carrig player on the team. Johnny, affectionately known as ‘Jawser‘, is the only player in the history of the club to have played in minor, junior, intermediate and senior county finals; Mattie Fouhy, Willie John Daly, Sean Twomey and Billy O’Neill played in three of those four in 1948 and 1949, but they never played in a minor final.
Johnny’s only county medal is from the junior final of 1966, but he served the club with distinction, playing on until 1983 when he finally retired at 38 years of age, 22 seasons after he first joined the junior panel.
It seems that 1968 was the year football became established on a permanent footing in the club. Down the years Carrig had occasionally fielded a team, but it amounted to dabbling. In 1950, when the parish hall was built, the Schedule of Administration listed Michael Kirby, Main Street as representing the Committee of Carrigtwohill Football club, with Dan Fenton the hurling equivalent. But the only record we have of football in the 1950s is Carrig’s short junior campaign of 1956.
Good footballers from Carrig who wanted to take the game seriously tended to join Glanmire. Others played for Owenacurra Rovers, a team from Lisgoold and Leamlara. A few even went to Killeagh in the mid-1960s. Throughout the 1960s, however, the game had been growing in the parish.
Peader Seymour had begun to promote the game in the school and in 1959 an U-14 team was entered for the first time. They created a stir by beating Glanmire in the East Cork semi-final, but some mix-up over the fixture for the final against Youghal caused Carrig to forfeit the match. Football’s cause was further helped inadvertently by a terrible accident in the schoolyard; a pupil, Mikey McCarthy, was caught by the band of a hurley and lost his eye causing hurling to be stopped in the schoolyard for a time.
By 1967 there were as many as 11 Carrig players on the Owenacurra Rovers team. It was time for Carrig to go out on their own. The only record we have of football matches for 1968 are two junior B league defeats. Glanmire beat Carrig by 1-11 to 1-2, though, in the Carrig notes in the Southern Star, the team was applauded for its courage under extreme pressure. In the other match Carrig started well against Carrignavar with points by Donie McCarthy and Ollie O‘Connor but were beaten in the end, 2-6 to 0-3.
The panel included: Willie Jagoe, Bobby Keating, Donie Buckley, Michael Sheehan, John Barry, Denis O‘Connor, Johnny O’Riordan, Pat O’Connor, Tim O‘Connor, Denis O‘Keeffe, Donie McCarthy, James Roche, Pad O’Brien, Seanie McCarthy, Davy Sheehan, Ollie O‘Connor, Joe O’Mahony, Pad O’Brien.
In 1969 Carrig drew Nemo Rangers in the intermediate Championship and the portents were good when Carrig beat them by 3-8 to 1-5 in a league game in March. In Carrig’s two previous league matches they suffered heavy defeats to Kilworth and Newtownshandrum, conceding 17 goals in the process. Only 13 players turned up for the Nemo match which meant club secretary Eddie O’Riordan and Willie Jago lining out in the full forward line; still, Carrig won.
Carrig kept up the momentum in their next league game against Castletownroche, winning by 3-5 to 2-4. A couple of days before the championship match against Nemo, however, one of the club’s greatest servants Sean Twomey passed away. Carrig tried and failed to get the match against Nemo called off as Twomey was due to be buried that day. He was laid to rest on the morning of the Nemo match and, unsurprisingly, Carrig were well beaten, 2-14 to 4-0.
Two minutes silence were observed in honour of Twomey before the throw-in, but the match seemed such a trivial pursuit: “Everybody was down,” said Michael John Roche, “nobody was tuned into the match at all. Everybody was on a low. The match was the last thing anybody wanted.”
For the record Carrig trailed by 1-6 to 2-0 at half time, with Pad O’Brien and Pat O’Connor getting Carrig’s goals. Nemo pulled further clear after the break and only a late brace of goals from Denis O’Keeffe took some of the bare look off the scoreline.
Carrig (not in order of position): Davy O’Keeffe, Anthony Kelly, Donie McCarthy, Donal Barry, John O’Connor, Pat O‘Connor, Hubert Fouhy, Paddy Duggan, Johnny O’Riordan, Michael Sheehan*, Davy Sheehan, Noel Cotter, Pat O‘Brien, Michael ‘Fox’ Sheehan, Tom Browne.
Sub: Michael John Roche. *Rossmore
In the middle of July the U-21’s were beaten heavily as well, this time by Midleton, 6-12 to 3-2 but the year didn’t end with these defeats. The fireworks hadn’t even started. Carrig had upgraded their second team to junior A despite being beaten in the first round of the junior B a year before. The decision aroused a certain amount of controversy in the club at the time but it proved to be an inspired gamble as the junior As went all the way to the East Cork final.
Their run began with an easy win over Castlemartyr, 4-6 to 1-3; in the next round they surprised Midleton with a great performance and won by four points, 6-6 to 6-2. Shanagarry Rovers were Carrig‘s opponents in the semi-final. Shanagarry had never made it to an East Cork final and Carrig were favourites to win but in the event they had to come from five points down with ten minutes to go to force a replay.
A last minute goal from Seanie Barry completed the comeback: “We staged a mighty recovery that day,” said Barry, “and if a couple of the Rovers players held their heads they would have won. A ball broke loose around the 21 and two of them tried to take me instead of concentrating on the ball, but I was quick to spot an opening and Danny Fitzpatrick (Shanagarry goalkeeper) had no chance with the equalising goal.”
The replay took place a week later but this time Carrig were never under pressure and won easily, 6-8 to 2-3: “The game was most disappointing,” reported the Southern Star, “failing to produce anything like the standard of play witnessed in the drawn game the previous Sunday. In the opening stages the teams seemed evenly matched but, in the period before half-time, Carrig fully availed of a number of defensive lapses by Rovers and went in leading 3-8 to 0-2 at the short whistle.”
“The Rovers had the advantage of a strong breeze in the second half but could make absolutely no impression and Carrig continued to increase their lead until the last few minutes when Shanagarry added 2-1. After these scores tempers frayed and two players were sent to the line for rough play.”
The final against Bride Rovers was played at Riverstown a week later. This time Carrig were underdogs against the reigning champions, led by Seanie Barry, an All Ireland medallist with Cork in 1966. Carrig, however, were magnificent in the face of adversity. Bride Rovers led by 1-4 to 0-1 early on and despite two soft Carrig goals Bride Rovers remained ahead at half time. Bride Rovers were still ahead coming into the final quarter but then Carrig got the bit between their teeth.
“Carrig’s traditional spirit came to their aid at this stage,” reported the Southern Star, “and two goals by Paddy Roche
brought them back into the game and with minutes remaining they levelled the scores. A point from a free put Rovers ahead once more but Carrig again fought back to level with a great point from Mikey McCarthy and then with a last minute 70 just failed to put their nose in front. The full time whistle sounded after that.“
The replay didn’t take place for a month, allowing Carrig to catch their breath before what was to be their sixth game of the championship. Donal Barry and Seanie Hegarty were available for selection again after suspension, but four weeks wasn‘t enough time for Donal Buckley‘s injury to heal and Tim O‘Connor was forced to pull out at the last moment with an illness. In the swings and roundabouts Willie Savage agreed to come out of retirement to play full back.
Carrig got a dream start to the replay with a goal from Paddy Roche in the first minute, but Bride Rovers took a grip on the match after that and led by 1-9 to 1-2 at half time. After the break they quickly added 1-3 without reply: “Carrig looked in dire straits,” reported the Southern Star, “but how excellently they recovered from this 13 point deficit. A point from Tommy Jeffers was followed by goals by Paddy Roche, Seanie Barry and yet another from Neilus Kidney. Carrig were flying and only three points in arrears.”
With a goal and a point Bride Rovers seemed to have weathered the storm, but Carrig came back again: “There was still plenty of fight in Carrig even though time was ebbing fast. Tommy Jeffers and Seanie Barry had a goal each to leave just three points between the sides with minutes to play. In an all out final rally Carrig appeared to have scored the equalising goal as the hall looked to have crossed the line before the goalie pushed it out. The umpires, however, didn’t think so.”
Immediately after this Paddy Roche was set up for the equaliser, ball in hand when he was fouled. Seanie Barry‘s free was blocked on the line and from the rebound a Carrig effort was again stopped on the line. Bride Rovers broke up field for a point and Carrig had to admit defeat at last (3-17 to 6-4) after six hectic championship matches.
Carrig: Jerry Hurley, Pad Cotter, Willie Savage, Seanie Hegarty, Billy Kidney, James Roche, Neilus Kidney, Tommy Jeffers, Denis O‘Connor, Seanie Barry, Ollie O’Connor, Mikey McCarthy, Mick Sheehan, Paddy Roche, Bobby Keating. Sub: Donal Barry for the injured James Roche in the second half.
The draw for the intermediate championship in 1970 paired Carrig with Midleton. Already the year had a focus. Before a ball was pucked, however, the club mourned the unexpected death in his early 40s of one of its stalwarts Val Deasy. Val’s distinguished playing career started in the 1940s and continued into the 1960s. At different times he was heavily involved in the running of the club; more than that, Willie Savage can remember a time when Val and Johnny Roche were holding the club together.
One incident sticks in his mind: “It was early in the year and the club was going bad. To try to get things going they organised a challenge match against the Cork minors out in Fermoy. They came and asked me would I play. I hadn‘t much mind for it at the time and anyway I told them that my boots were in pieces. Never mind that, Val said, and he persuaded me to play. That night he arrived into the dressing room with a brand new pair of boots for me. He wouldn’t take a penny for them but you could be sure they came out of his own pocket. That was the kind of fella he was.”
Carrig’s intermediates had a great start to the year. A challenge match victory over Brian Dillons was followed by a succession of league wins. The was against Nemo Rangers, Carrig’s conquerors in the 1969 championship; a couple of goals from Pad O’Brien helped Carrig to a 4-7 to 2-4 win. O’Brien doubled his tally to four goals in 9-3 to 4-7 win over Tracton. John O’Connor, with 1-5, was top scorer in Carrig’s next league victory over Brian Dillons, 5-12 to 2-6. When the championship match against Midleton came round on the first Friday of May Carrig couldn‘t have been in better shape.
Carrig were favourites and played like it: “We played above ourselves that night,” says Michael John Roche. “We had a big following, much bigger than Midleton, and they really roared us on. Midleton were shocked, they didn’t know what hit them. Going back years Midleton had a mental blockage about playing Carrig in the championship.” The sides were level at 0-1 each after quarter of an hour, but then a succession of points by Seanie Barry and John O’Connor along with two goals by Paddy Roche accelerated Carrig into a 2-6 to 1-1 lead at half time. A goal after the break lifted Midleton’s spirit for a while, but a Donie McCarthy goal broke it again. By the end Roche had got his third goal and Carrig were easy winners, 4-8 to 2-3.
Carrig: Dave O’Keeffe, M Sheehan*, Johnny O’Riordan, James Roche, Hubert Fouhy, Pat O’Connor, Denis O‘Keeffe, Tom Browne, Seanie Barry, Davie Sheehan, Michael ‘Fox’ Sheehan, John O’Connor, Donie McCarthy, Paddy Roche, Pad O’Brien. *Rossmore
On the first Sunday of July Carrig met Mallow in the quarter-final at Fermoy. For a long time it looked like it would be a stroll as Carrig surged 6-2 to 1-4 ahead at the break. During an amazing second half, however, Mallow recovered to take the lead and Carrig were hard pressed to win by five points in the end, 10-3 to 7-7.
Carrig: Davy O’Keeffe, M Sheehan*, Johnny O’Riordan, James Roche, Hubert Fouhy, Pat O’Connor, Denis O‘Keeffe, Seanie Barry 0-2, Davy Sheehan, Michael Fox Sheehan, Tom Browne 3-0, John O’Connor 1-1, Michael John Roche, Paddy Roche 2-0, Pad O’Brien 4-0. *Rossmore
The semi-fìnal against Castletownroche, however, ended in tears: “The game was played in glorious sunshine and in front of a large attendance,” reported the Examiner, “but it never produced the expected excitement and at times the hurling deteriorated to a very disappointing level. Within ten minutes Castletownroche had opened up a 3-1 to 0-0 lead and by half time this had been extended to 6-7 to 0-2. At this stage many of the Carrig supporters were drifting away. Although Carrig had second half goals from Paddy Roche and Mick Sheehan it made little difference to the final outcome, (8-15 to 4-5).”
“We had an attitude problem that day,” remembers Michael John Roche. “We had beaten them earlier in the year in a tournament match in Castletownroche and once we beat Mallow we thought we had the county won.” That was effectively the end of the year. The junior hurlers went badly in the league, losing heavily to Dungourney, Castlelyons and Midleton. Defeat in the championship was heavy too, 3-15 to 3-4 against Watergrasshill.
Carrig junior panel: Billy Kidney, Pa Keane, Ollie O‘Brien, Bobby Keating, Patsy Spillane, Johnny O’Brien*, Donie Buckley, Pad Cotter, James Roche, Neilus Kidney, Mikey McCarthy, Mick Sheehan**, Billy Jago, Tommy Jeffers, Tim O’Connor, Donal Barry, Denis O’Connor, Seanie Barry. * Banshane, * * Rossmore.
At the 1971 county convention Cork voted to support the removal of the ban on playing and attending ‘foreign games’, by the slender margin of 211 to 203; Carrig voted in favour of retention. In the days other important business Carrig were drawn against Brian Dillons in the first round of the intermediate championship.
The match was played in Cobh on a desperately bad day at the end of April. “lt was raining cats and dogs,” says Pat O’Connor “Carrig wanted the game called off but Brian Dillons wouldn’t agree so we were half-mad going out.” Brian Dillons felt the wrath of Carrig‘s anger and were easily beaten, 4-8 to 1-3. Glen Rovers, however, were a different proposition in Riverstown on the 18th of June. It was an astonishin1g match. Within a minute Carrig were 1-1 to 0-0 ahead and after 15 minutes that lead stretched to eight points. The next ten minutes though belonged to the Glen and without a score from Carrig the city team stole into a 3-5 to 3-3 lead. Carrig, however, responded and 1-2 by Mick Sheehan restored them to the lead before the break, 4-5 to 3-5.
“Glen had their chance in the second half,” reported the Examiner, “but they had no answer to the Carrig spirit, which first saw Seanie Barry come into his own at midfield. Glen showed some signs of their first half rally when they had the first two points of the second half. Carrig now realised they had a fight on their hands and went about regaining their dominance of the game in thrilling style in the next 15 minutes. Sheehan was in inspiring mood and was picking off points from all angles. Glen’s total of only four points in the second half against Carrig‘s seven left Carrig with a comfortable two goal lead, (4-12 to 3- 9).”
Carrig: Davy O‘Keeffe, Mick Barry, John Barry, Johnny O’Riordan, Donie McCarthy, James Roche, Hubert Fouhy, Seanie Barry 0-1, Davy Sheehan, Tom Browne, Michael John Roche 1-0, Pat O’Connor, Mick Sheehan, Mick ‘Fox’ Sheehan 1-10, Ollie O’Connor 2-1.
Blackrock were Carrig‘s opponents in the semi-final at Riverstown. Having missed the senior championship through injury, Ray Cummins was eligible to play for Blackrock but, in deference to his Carrig ancestry – his father Willie had played for Carrig from the 1930s to the 1950s – he declined to line out. Instead a future Cork star, Eamon O‘Donoghue, took his place at full forward. Carrig took it in their stride.
The conditions were a burden on both teams: “The game was played in sweltering heat,” according to the Examiner. “Because of the intense heat the game was listless and quickly took its toll on the stamina and speed of the players. What should have been a really exciting and lively contest turned out to be a long drawn-out struggle, with the contestants aching to have it over. Carrigtwohill, though, had the best of it offering strong, solid determined opposition to the more polished city side.”
Carrig led by 1-8 to 0-5 at half time and stretched ten points clear after half time. Blackrock finally responded with three goals, but Carrig countered with a goal of their own and held their nerve to win by four points, 4-14 to 5-7.
Carrig: Davy O‘Keeffe, Mick Barry, John Barry, Johnny O’Riordan, Donie McCarthy, James Roche, Pat Keane, Hubert Fouhy, Seanie Barry 1-2, Pat O’Connor, Michael John Roche 1-2, Davy Sheehan, Ollie O’Connor, Mick ‘Fox’ Sheehan 1-8, Tom Browne 1-2.
Carrig were through to their first intermediate final for 21 years and Nemo Rangers were waiting. Nemo were favourites and for 20 minutes it looked like they would crush Carrig. Dinny Allen slipped in for two goals and Nemo had 2-6 on the board before Carrig scored. “Probably the main reason for Carrigtwohill’s poor show in the first 30 minutes was their shaky backline,“ wrote the Examiner. “They offered no resistance in the main to the Nemo forwards who should have netted more goals.”
“A goal to either side just before the break left Nemo leading 3-7 to 2-0 at the interval,” continued the Examiner. “However, on the turnover, Carrigtwohill set out with dogged determination to wipe out the deficit and they quickly upset the polished performance of Nemo. In their attack Seanie Barry proved to be a star and an inspiration.”
The comeback was extraordinary. Mick ‘Fox’ Sheehan – who later that winter played for Cork in the National League won a succession of close-in frees with his boundless aggression and Barry crashed them to the back of the net. He got six goals in all so that a late goal by Tim O‘Connor was enough to put Carrig a point ahead. From a free around centre field though Nemo conjured one last chance. The brilliant Frank Cogan played it short to Billy Morgan who had got himself free in space and he put it over the bar to leave it 4-13 to Carrig‘s 8-1.
“Nemo ran us out of it that day in the first half,” remembers Pat O’Connor, “but we ran them out of it in the second half. We cleaned up around centre-field and played the second half in their half. The only problem was that we had nothing left for the next day. We were stuck to the ground.”
“I’ll always remember walking out of the pitch that day,” says Michael John Roche, “and hearing two fellas talking about the band. Weren’t the band brutal one of them said to the other. After the match they’d seen that‘s all they could talk about.”
Carrig: Davy O’Keeffe, Mick Barry, Johnny O’Riordan, Donie McCarthy, Pat O’Connor, James Roche, Pat Keane, Seanie Barry 6-1, Hubert Fouhy, Davy Sheehan, Tom Browne, Michael John Roche, Dick Hegarty, Mick Sheehan , Ollie O’Connor 1-0.
Sub introduced: Tim O’Connor 1-0.
Other subs: Anthony Kelly, Ollie Healy, Denis O’Connor, Michael Sheehan (Rossmore) and Jerry O’Connell.
The replay took place a week later but this time there was no drama, at least not on the scoreboard. Nemo won by 4-11 to 2-3, but it was a foul match with three sent off, two from Nemo.
“There were also two major flare-ups involving several players,” reported the Examiner, “and altogether the standard of sportsmanship portrayed was not fitting to the occasion. However, one cannot detract from Nemo’s win. After a somewhat shaky start they settled down to play some excellent hurling. Their overall hurling skills were too much for Carrigtwohill on this occasion.”
With the aid of the wind Nemo led by 2-8 to 1-1 at half time. Carrig got an easy goal just after the break and with Nemo a man down Carrig had a glimmer of a chance. Carrig though lost a man shortly afterwards and Nemo regained their composure to pull away. The Examiner nominated left half back James Roche as Carrig’s “man of the hour.” Seanie Barry, however, was subdued at centre field and Carrig’s chances were bound up with his performance. Defeat was hard but looking back at any time over the next three decades it would be seen as a good year.
Carrig: Davy O’Keeffe, Mick Barry, Johnny O’Riordan, Donie McCarthy, Hubert Fouhy, Pa Keane, James Roche, Pat O’Connor 1-0, Seanie Barry 0-1, Anthony Kelly, Michael John Roche 1-0, Tom Browne 0-1, Dick Hegarty, Mick Sheehan 0-1, Ollie O’Connor.
Sub introduced: Tim O’Connor.