BEAUTY is in the eye of the beholder.
Declan Barron or Donal Hunt as full forward on our Little Norah team? To some Hunt was the greatest footballer ever to emerge from West Cork – powerful, strong, didn’t know when he was beaten, won games literally on his own for club and division.
Barron was the prince of elegant footballers, grace and style, the best fielder we ever say, magic scores galore. The ideal team might have Barron at centre forward and Hunt at full forward but in this case one or the other must get the full-forward position.
We have picked a good few All-Star teams in our time but never have we dealt with such a wealth of talent as the West Cork junior championship threw up between 1949 and 1997.
Pickling 15 was, to tell the truth, an impossible task, but having challenged our readers to do it, then we have to oblige too.
Picking two midfielders from the ten outstanding players listed in that area almost proved beyond us. We make no claim that this team is better than any team picked by any reader but it is our personal choice after much soul-searching.
We finished the exercise by picking a second team that would provide one hell of a game for the first fifteen. The winning team will be honoured at the book launch in the West Cork Hotel on this Friday night at 8.30pm.
Little Norah All-Stars 1949 – 1997
1. Pat Cronin (Dohenys): He won three Little Norah medals in 1962, 1965 and 1967 as well as a county junior medal in 1966. Held the goalkeeping position in both football and hurling for Dohenys and Carbery.
2. Liam Grainger (Dohenys): His incredible career lasted from the early 1930s to the early 1950s, the highlight being a county junior in 1935 with Dohenys and three county senior with Carbery in 1937 and Clonakilty in 1946 and 1947.
3. Frank Kehily (Newcestown): The go-to man in the new Newcestown team of the 1960s. Little Norah medals in 1964 and 1967, a county junior in 1967 and a county senior in 1968 when he captained the all-star Carbery team.
4. Dan Murray (Darrara): Two Little Norah medals in 1954 and 1955, two county senior with his native Macroom in 1958 and 1962, as well as a great career in the red of Cork in the 1950s.
5. Tony Davis (O’Donovan Rossa): Little Norah medal as a teenager in 1982 that eventually led to an All-Ireland club senior medal in 1993. Two All-Ireland senior medals in 1989 and 1990 crowned a collection of medals that have never been equalled on the inter-county scene.
6. Kevin Kehily (Newcestown): Only one Little Norah medal in 1967 as a teenager but added a county junior that year and intermediate in 1971. Glittering inter-county career that culminated in an All-Star award in 1982. One of Cork’s greatest defenders of all time.
7. John Crowley (Dohenys): Little Norah medals in 1965, captain, and 1966 as well as county junior in 1966 and intermediate in 1972. Tough as nails, fit as a fiddle, won two county senior titles with Carbery in 1968 and 1971. Numerous inter-county medals with Cork.
8. Tom Moriarty (Clonakilty): Little Norah medal in 1949, one of Cork and Kerry’s greatest midfielders. Captained Clon to county senior in 1952; a tall, elegant, magnificent fielder. Won seven Munster senior medals with both Cork and his native Kerry and an All-Ireland in 1955.
9. Fachtna Collins (Ilen Rovers): Led Ilen as captain to their first Little Norah in 1996 and was an inspirational figure as they captured county junior and intermediate titles subsequently. Outstanding career at colleges, university, club, divisional and county levels. One of West Cork’s greatest.
10. Tony Murphy (Carbery Rangers): Little Norah medals in 1980, 1984, 1987, as well as senior medals with Carbery in 1968 and 1971. A living legend with Ross, winning numerous inter-county medals at various grades with Cork. Had few equals for class and style.
11. Dan Murphy (Ballinascarthy): The medals escaped him, playing in five Little Norah finals but winning none, but his contribution to Ballinascarthy and Carbery football from the 1950s to the 1970s was unequalled. A true living example for the love of the game.
12. Mick McCarthy (O’Donovan Rossa): From a Little Norah medal in 1982 to All-Ireland senior medals with Cork in 1989 and 1990, as well as with Rossas in 1993 as captain. Arguably the greatest scoring forward to emerge from West Cork, he lit up the GAA scene wherever he played.
13. Johnny Carroll (Dohenys): Little Norah medals in 1962, 1965 and 1966 as well as county junior in 1966 and county intermediate in 1971. Outstanding in the red shirt of Cork, winning various medals except senior All-Ireland, he was an inspiring player, impossible to hold.
14. Declan Barron (Bantry Blues): Little Norah medals in 1968, 1969, 1972 and 1985, as well as county junior in 1972 and intermediate in 1975. County senior with Carbery in 1971 and All-Ireland senior with Cork in 1973, to add to a large collection of inter-county silverware. Prince of high fielders, scorer of magical goals and recognised as one of Cork’s greatest.
15. Eamonn Young (Dohenys): Little Norah medals in 1962, 1965 and 1966 as well as county junior in 1966. Won three county senior medals with Collins in 1949, 1951 and 1953 and an All-Ireland senior in 1945. Arguably, the greatest footballer ever to wear the red shirt of Cork, his career lasted from the 1930s to the 1966.
Stand-by Little Norah Team: 1. Kieran Farr (Dohenys); 2. Owen Sexton (Kilbrittain), 3. Jackie Walsh (Bandon), 4. Mick Farr (Dohenys); 5. Robert Wilmot (Bandon), 6. Denis Bernard (Dohenys), 7. Dick Chute (Darrara); 8. Christy Collins (Castlehaven), 9. Fachtna Murphy (Ballinascarthy); 10. Dan Dineen (Bantry), 11. Seamus Davis (O’Donovan Rossa), 12. Jimmy Gabriel (Bandon); 13. Gene McCarthy (Carbery Rangers), 14. Donal Hunt (Bantry); 15. Dermot O’Donovan (O’Donovan Rossa).