Whenever the Cork hurlers want to get their message across in matters relating to the dislike of their bainisteoir or their latest plans to go on strike they normally turn to the Irish Examiner for publicity so who better than that paper’s GAA writer Michael Moynihan to guide us through a turbulent 12 years on Leeside.
Moynihan is the man with the insider knowledge and knows more than most about what makes the players tick and why and how they have clashed with and gotten the better of their county board.
The tale throws in away back in 1996 when the Rebels were on the wrong end of a record hammering by Limerick in the Munster championship. 3-18 to 1-8 was the final score in a game recalled in detail by luminaries such as Joe Deane and Seán Óg Ó hAilpin. The progression of the team immediately after that is diagnosed in detail by Moynihan and he gives the background to the sudden upsurge in fortunes that saw Cork take the Liam McCarthy cup just three years later on a miserably wet day at Croke Park – "Raindrops as big a sliotars," says Ó hAilpin.
The success wasn’t built on and by 2002 the players were on strike, seeking to improve their conditions and ensure the future of the sport was on a good footing. They took on the county board and won. It was uphill all they way after that with plenty of Munster and All-Ireland success; the only low-point being Deane’s cancer scare.
By late 2007 player power was back in Cork with another strike cloud hanging over the county. But that’s the way they are in the Rebel county – standing up for what they believe in. Who’s to say strike action will not be a regular feature of Cork hurling? Certainly they are the only county side with a book written about them that includes 'Labour Relations Commission' as an index entry.
'Blood Brothers' is an excellent book by a well informed writer that may find an audience amongst Cork fans rather than the average fan up and down the country.