Limerick hurlers David Reidy right and Paddy O'Loughlin, left, with students of Charleville CBS
RIVALRIES always run deepest where two counties collide.
There was plenty of banter in Charleville CBS Secondary School on Friday when former pupils – David Reidy and Paddy O’Loughlin – brought the Liam MacCarthy Cup back to their alma mater.
Úna Griffin, principal, kindly allowed all the County Limerick boys in the school to wear their jerseys for the occasion.
“All other students had to wear their uniforms but there were a few rogue Cork jerseys! It all added to the banter and atmosphere. In fairness to them, they stood in for a photograph with David and Paddy and the cup. It was a really nice celebration,” said Ms Griffin, who joked that the local border is worse than the one dividing the north and south of Ireland.
“I said Brexit my eye. There is more hassle here on the Cork - Limerick border than anywhere else!” she smiled.
However, Friday’s celebrations could have been very different if Nickie Quaid hadn’t pulled off that wonder save in the All-Ireland semi-final against Cork.
“Nickie went to school in Mannix College which has closed since. He was eager to bring the cup back to Charleville because it is where he went to school but he had work and wasn’t able to come,” said Mr Grifiin, who is a Cork city lady married to a man from Newtownshandrum.
There was a very warm welcome for Dromin-Athlacca’s David and Kilmallock’s Paddy. Staff even had buns with green and white icing spelling out “Charleville CBS welcomes Liam MacCarthy”.
Some students even questioned her ‘Rebel’ ancestry as the school rolled out the ‘green’ carpet.
“I told them I am excited by this. It is a celebration of two lads who went to school here and won All-Ireland hurling medals. It is not that often it happens. We have had Pat Mulcahy in the past but it has been a while. Maybe this year it will be Tim O’Mahony and Darragh Fitzgibbon - who knows. To win an All-Ireland medal is a fantastic achievement for any young man and to be fair to Paddy and David they are both very grounded.
“They spoke to the boys about nutrition, the boxing training they did, what they do during the build-up to games and answered all the boys’ questions about their favourite venue, toughest player they have marked etc. The were very open and really got into it,” said Ms Griffin.
There was a mixture of cheers and boos when James Riordan, PE and English teacher from Templeglantine, asked what it was like to beat Cork? Indeed, it was David who put the final nail in Cork’s coffin with his sublime point from the sideline. He had just returned from injury while Paddy has put in some stellar displays in the league and won a Fitzgibbon Cup with UCC.
But the rivalry is only when Limerick and Cork are playing. Paddy spoke about his friendship with school friend and former Charleville CBS Harty cup teammate - Cork star Darragh Fitzgibbon, who is a first cousin of Doon’s Richie English. They both study in UCC and share a house in Cork.
Similarly, current students Ben Herlihy, of Castletown Ballyagran and Cormac O’Brien, Newtownshandrum, are in the Limerick and Cork minor set-ups
“In a school like Charleville CBS with different clubs and different counties it is almost inter-county school hurling. It adds a real extra level to it compared to a school in Cork city or Limerick city. Charleville CBS is very unique in that sense,” said Ms Griffin. The principal said David and Paddy really enjoyed the day.
“When they were going they kept saying, ‘Thanks a million’. Where you went to school is during your formative years so it is lovely to be acknowledged in that environment. They were both genuinely delighted to be recognised in their old school,” she said.
To the best of Ms Griffin’s knowledge, David and Paddy are the first Limerick past pupils of Charleville CBS to bring the Liam MacCarthy Cup to the school. Let’s hope they are back again soon!
See page 31 of L2 for more