On Saturday afternoon there will be two intercounty matches played in Cork’s Páirc Uí Chaoimh. The county’s footballers face Meath at 3.0 and the hurlers will play Galway two hours later. The games take place to commemorate the playing career of the late Teddy McCarthy, who died last June.
The only player to win All-Ireland medals in both codes in the same year, he went down in history in 1990. The choice of opponents reflects the counties who contested that year’s finals against Cork.
On Sunday September 2nd, Cork defeated Galway in a thrilling final. Regarded as underdogs, the team, managed by Canon Michael O’Brien had to recover from a seven-point deficit in the 43rd minute with Galway outplaying them. By the end of the match, Cork had scored five goals to win 5-15 to 2-21.
Teddy McCarthy, playing at centrefield, scored 0-3 from play and raised his game in the second half, which along with the arrival of Cathal Casey from the bench, gave Cork vital supremacy in the sector.
Two weeks later, the football final presented the possibility of a double in the centenary year of Cork’s achievement in winning both in 1890. The feat had not been recorded since Tipperary in 1900.
On this occasion, Cork were the defending champions but had previously lost twice in finals to opponents Meath. Unlike the hurling, this was not a high-scoring spectacle.
Cork won by 0-11 to 0-9 despite having full forward Colm O’Neill sent off four minutes before half-time. Reduced to 14 men they not only ‘held out’ but looked the better team.
This time, McCarthy lined out at left wing forward, making one magnificent high catch but it was a disappointing match, punctuated by 72 frees. By the end he had joined seven other Cork players, who had won All-Ireland medals in both hurling and football – including former taoiseach Jack Lynch and Jimmy Barry-Murphy.
Thirteen players from other counties had also achieved the same distinction.
On Saturday, the day will begin with a function for the Cork players from 1990, who will be introduced to the crowd at half-time in the respective matches.
Specially commissioned memorial trophies will be presented to the winners of both matches.
• Match tickets are priced €20 and €17 (OAPs & students) and are available to purchase on https://gaacork.ie/teddymac. All under-16s are free. Proceeds go to the Teddy McCarthy Memorial Fund.