Last Word Column by Sports Editor Kieran McCarthy
NEW, fresh and interesting angles ahead of football championship meetings between Cork and Kerry aren’t exactly in plentiful supply – but how about the former Kerry senior who played club football in Cork and would have lined out for the Rebels if he’d been approached?
In fact, according to a story that ran in the Irish Independent in October 2004, the Kerryman was on the verge of linking up with Billy Morgan’s senior panel.
But how close did he come to swapping green and gold for Rebel red?
Dingle native Jack Ferriter transferred to Bishopstown in 2004. He had moved to Cork city for work. In his first season, he showed just why he was held in such high regard. There was his eight-point haul in the county semi-final win against the Barr’s. Ferriter lit up that game and it re-emphasised why he was so highly-rated.
Here was the 1994 All-Ireland winning Kerry minor football captain, who also won All-Ireland U21 titles and was involved with the seniors. He was a top forward.
Living in Cork, working in Cork and playing his club football in Cork, it was then speculated that he would switch his allegiance to the Rebels.
‘Kerry player Ferriter looks set to join Cork,’ the headline claimed, suggesting he was on the verge of joining the Rebels for the 2005 season.
The story said: ‘Ferriter could be the answer to the prayers of Cork boss Billy Morgan, given the Rebels’ lack of fire-power which was there this summer.’
Turns out that the West Kerry man was never asked – but if he was, he would have said yes.
‘Nothing came of it,’ Ferriter told The Southern Star this week.
‘It was nothing but talk really. I didn’t get invited to train or asked to play a game. It was half-banter.
‘I was inside the locker room one day and Sean Murphy, who was a selector with Cork, said they might have an A versus B game coming up in the next few weeks. I said, “ya, I’d be interested.” And that was it. Nothing else happened after that.’
There was never any talk with Morgan or anyone else after that. But if the call did come, Ferriter wouldn’t have hesitated.
‘If I was asked directly I’d have gone in alright. James O’Shea had gone in before me and played a few league games. I would have gone for it too,’ the Kerryman said.
He wanted to play senior inter-county championship. As good as he was, and he played national league between 1996 and 1998, shoulder injuries knocked his momentum and there was also the quality of players ahead of him.
‘I never played senior championship with Kerry and that was always a disappointment,’ he says.
‘I played loads of games in the league but never the championship
‘I had bad shoulders, dislocations, and then trying to get ahead of Maurice Fitz, Johnny Crowley, Dara Ó Cinneide and these fellas was nearly impossible.
‘I would do well in training but I could never break through.’
Before the move to Cork came about, Ferriter had looked at moving to Galway for a job and and to play football. That never materialised. Instead, he moved to Cork and joined Bishopstown, and helped them to the 2004 county senior final where they were beaten by Carbery, 1-11 to 0-7.
Forty-three year-old Ferriter still lives in Cork. Home now is Rochestown and he works as a Personal Trainer at the Radisson Hotel and Spa in the city. He’ll be at this Saturday’s Munster final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, enjoying the chance to meet up with some old friends and team-mates from back home, but how different it could all have been if his switch to Cork had happened.
‘Look at Conor Cox in Roscommon and what he’s done this season. He has a Connacht medal in his back pocket. I don’t even think he’d be on the Kerry panel but look at him now,’ Ferriter says.
‘There’s nowhere like your own club but I just gone on with it. I had to move on, loads of players move on, even at county level.
‘I think you will see fellas moving more now to get games, to be honest.’