Related to a hurler
It’s conceivable that at some point in Sunday’s proceedings five sets of siblings could be on the field of play: for Cork, twins Ben and Jerry O’Connor, Seán Óg and his brother Aisake Ó hAilpín; while for Waterford there’s Seamus and Declan Prendergast, Ken and Eoin McGrath, Dan and Maurice Shanahan. Noel and Tomás Connors would also have been on the list, had Tommy not left the panel not so long ago. Still, it would surely be some sort of record at this level, no?
The last of the three draws between Cork and Waterford in the Munster championship was in 1989 (the previous ones being in the ’31 Munster final and ’65) when they finished 0-18 apiece in the semi-final. Waterford, captained by Shane Aherne and with Pat Murphy bagging a hat-trick, won the replay, just as the Decies did after the 2007 All-Ireland quarter-final finished all-square. Most bookies are offering 10/1 on Sunday’s match ending even-steven. Not that the GAA would be encouraging the referee to blow it up at the first sight of stalemate in these straitened times…
Two men who could be in close proximity again on Sunday go back a long way. Dónal Óg Cusack was on goal for Midleton CBS when they beat a Lismore CBS side spearheaded by Dan Shanahan in the 1994-’95 Harty Cup final at Fermoy. The Big Fella’s stuck a few past him since.
Jimmy Barry-Murphy won seven Munster senior titles on the trot: 1973 and ’74 in football and ’75 to ’79 inclusive in hurling. Some going. Till one considers Ray Cummins, who collected 11 on the spin between both codes from 1969 to ’79, three of them in football. One of the first hurlers to wear a helmet, he came out of retirement for the 1982 Munster final. A 31-point pummelling later, we wished he hadn’t.
Four former GAA Hurlers of the Year will be involved at Semple Stadium this Sunday: Tony Browne (1998), and Dan Shanahan (2007), and Seán Óg Ó hAilpín (’04) and Jerry O’Connor (’05). Cork have had ten winners of the award over the years, Waterford just the two. All Stars-wise, Cork are way ahead with 101 to Waterford’s 23. However, they’ve only won one (Ben O’Connor two years ago) since 2006.
Eleven of the Waterford starting XV against Cork in 2004 are still involved with Sunday’s squad, but just one of the 14 reserves that day (full-back against Clare, Liam Lawlor) is part of the current panel.
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