Lord mayors play some lovely hurling over Liam MacCarthy Cup

Jocular spat between first citizens of Cork and Limerick lays ground for clash of the ash

The Rebels may have drawn first blood in the contest to claim the Liam MacCarthy Cup when Cork Lord Mayor Cllr Colm Kelleher requested the return of the trophy but the Shannonsiders have hit back in fine form with a stinging riposte from Mayor of Limerick Cllr Daniel Butler.

Cork's First Citizen had upped the ante by writing to his Limerick counterpart requesting the return of the Liam MacCarthy Cup to Leeside, pointing out Cork's claims to the trophy, given that Liam MacCarthy had strong ancestral ties to the Rebel County.

“I believe that you have something that belongs to us. He’s about 16 inches high, silver and goes by the name of Liam. Sadly, Liam was lost to us back in 2006 and after many years of searching, we almost found him again in 2013.

"Down the years, there have been sightings of him in Kilkenny, Galway, Tipperary, Clare for some reason and now I believe Limerick," said Cllr Kelleher as he went on to explain that Liam's father, Eoghan, hailed from Ballygarvan in south Cork.


But Cllr Butler was having none of it and enlisted the help of the Irish Mammy to make his case for Liam MacCarthy remaining on the banks of the Shannon for another year as he predicted Limerick would see off the Rebel challenge in Croke Park.

“Unfortunately, there are a number of glaring inaccuracies in it (Lord Mayor Kelleher’s letter) that cannot be left stand and which may be difficult for a Corkonian to accept,” began Cllr Butler in a whirlwind start that showed he was well up for the exchanges.

Clever riposte

"To begin with, Liam MacCarthy was a native of London whose mother Brigid hailed from the hurling heartland of Bruff in Co Limerick. Brigid was a huge Limerick hurling fan and, as you know yourself, Mammies are always right and there is no supporter like a Limerick supporter.

“Far be it that we would take something belonging to someone else but I must point out that Limerick were the first recipients of the Liam MacCarthy Cup in 1923 – for the 1921 All-Ireland so Liam is back home and is very comfortable on Shannonside.

“Liam is indeed so comfortable, that he has stayed for two of the past three years. While I can imagine how anxious you are to see Liam again, I am certain we will give you a very clear answer on Sunday and let you have a look at him before he returns to Limerick. Luimneach Abú!” he concluded.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times