Gerald McCarthy (hurler)

Gerald McCarthy

McCarthy accepting the Liam MacCarthy Cup in 1966.
Personal information
Irish name Gearóid Mac Cárthaigh
Sport Hurling
Position Midfield
Born (1945-09-12) 12 September 1945
Cork, Ireland
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Occupation Trophy maker
Years Club
1963–1979 St. Finbarr's
Club titles
  Football Hurling
Cork titles 1 4
Munster titles 0 3
All-Ireland titles 0 2
Years County Apps (scores)
1964–1979 Cork 41 (4–55)
Inter-county titles
Munster titles 9
All-Irelands 5
All Stars 1

Gerald McCarthy (born 12 September 1945) is an Irish retired hurler and manager who played as a midfielder for the Cork senior team.[1]

Regarded as one of the all-time great players for Cork, McCarthy joined the team during the 1964–65 National League and was a regular member of the starting fifteen until his retirement after the 1979 championship. During that time he won five All-Ireland medals, nine Munster medals, three National League medals and one All-Star awards. An All-Ireland runner-up on two occasions, McCarthy captained Cork to the All-Ireland title in 1966.

At club level McCarthy was a two-time All-Ireland medalist with St. Finbarr's. In addition to this he has also won three Munster medals, four county hurling championship medals and one county football championship medal.

In retirement from playing McCarthy became involved in team management and coaching. After managing St. Finbarr's he later served as coach, trainer and manager of the Cork and Waterford senior hurling teams.

Playing career


McCarthy played his club hurling and Gaelic football with St. Finbarr's and enjoyed much success during a golden age for the club.[2]

He made his debut straight out of the minor ranks in 1963 and immediately became a regular fixture at midfield. After losing the championship decider to Glen Rovers in 1964, "the Barr's" were back for a second successive final the following year. University College Cork provided the opposition, however, a youthful St. Finbarr's team powered to a 6–8 to 2–6 victory. It was McCarthy's first championship medal. A subsequent 3–12 to 2–3 trouncing of Waterford's Mount Sion gave him a Munster medal.

After surrendering their titles the following year and losing the final to Glen Rovers in 1967, St. Finbarr's bounced back in 1968. McCarthy gave a great display at midfield and collected a second championship medal following a narrow 5–9 to 1–19 defeat of Imokilly.

After an absence of six years, a period which also saw McCarthy serve a one-year ban from the game, St. Finbarr's returned to the top table of Cork hurling once again. In spite of being regarded as underdogs against Blackrock, Con Roche gave a masterful display in helping the Barr's to a 2–17 to 2–14 victory. It was McCarthy's third championship medal. Newmarket-on-Fergus were the opponents in the subsequent provincial decider A low-scoring 0–7 to 0–3 victory gave McCarthy his second Munster medal, however, the game was tinged with sadness for St. Finbarr's as an horrific shine-bone injury brought Bernie Scully's career to an end. The All-Ireland final on St. Patrick's weekend saw St. Finbarr's take on the Fenians of Kilkenny. St. Finbarr's ability to get goals at crucial times proved to be the difference in the 3–8 to 1–6 victory. It was McCarthy's first All-Ireland medal.

In 1976 the St. Finbarr's footballers reached the county final for the first time in a decade. McCarthy was at wing-back for the 1–10 to 1–7 defeat of St. Michael's and added a football championship medal to his collection.

The following year McCarthy enjoyed his final successes with the St. Finbarr's hurling team. A 1–17 to 1–5 trouncing of north side rivals gave him his fourth and final hurling championship medal. A comfortable 2–8 to 0–6 defeat of Sixmilebridge in a replay after a nerve-wracking draw, gave McCarthy his third Munster medal. He later lined out in the All-Ireland club final with Rathnure, the Wexford and Leinster champions, providing the opposition. The first half was a disaster for St. Finbarr's as a gale-force wind resulted in the Cork side trailing by 0–8 to 0–1. The second thirty minutes saw "the Barr's" take control with Jimmy Barry-Murphy scoring the deciding goal. A 2–7 to 0–9 victory gave McCarthy a second All-Ireland medal.

McCarthy retired from club hurling in 1979.


McCarthy first came to prominence on the inter-county scene as a member of the Cork minor hurling team in 1963. He spent two years in that grade, however, Cork's championship hopes ended at the hands of Tipperary in both years.

In 1964 McCarthy joined the Cork under-21 team. His first two seasons ended with first round exits from the championship, however, his appointment as captain of the team in 1966 coincided with an upturn in Cork's fortunes. He won a Munster medal that year as Cork trounced Limerick by 5–12 to 2–6. The subsequent All-Ireland final ended in a draw as Wexford recorded 5–6 to Cork's 3–12. The replay also ended all square – 4–9 apiece. At the third time of asking Cork emerged victorious with a huge tally of 9–9 to 5–9. This victory gave Cork their first All-Ireland title in this grade and gave McCarthy a coveted All-Ireland medal while also the honour of collecting the cup.

McCarthy made his senior debut for Cork during the 1964–65 National Hurling League, however, it was 1966 before he made his championship debut in a Munster quarter-final draw with Clare. McCarthy remained on the starting fifteen for the rest of the season and also took over the captaincy from Peter Doolan. A subsequent 4–9 to 2–9 defeat of Waterford gave him his first Munster medal. This victory allowed Cork to advance directly to the All-Ireland final where arch-rivals Kilkenny provided the opposition. "The Cats" played with the wind in the first-half but only led by two points at the interval thanks to a Colm Sheehan goal for Cork. Sheehan scored a second after the break while John O'Halloran netted Cork's third goal to defeat an Eddie Keher-inspired Kilkenny by 3–9 to 1–10. Not only was it a first championship for Cork in twelve years, but it was McCarthy's first All-Ireland medal while he also had the honour of collecting the Liam MacCarthy Cup.

After surrendering their titles the following year, Cork had to wait until 1969 for further success. A 3–12 to 1–14 defeat of Wexford in the decider gave McCarthy his first National Hurling League medal. The subsequent provincial decider pitted Cork against reigning champions Tipperary. A 4–6 to 0–9 victory gave Cork a first defeat of Tipp since 1957 while it also gave McCarthy a second Munster medal. Once again this victory paved the way for an All-Ireland showdown with Kilkenny, however, the team suffered a setback before the game when midfielder Justin McCarthy broke his leg in a motorcycle accident. In spite of this Cork led at the interval and looked a good bet for the victory, particularly after Kilkenny forward Pat Delaney left the field on a stretcher. The Rebels were still to the good coming into the last quarter, however, Kilkenny scored five unanswered points in the last seven minutes to win by 2–15 to 2–9.

In spite of the All-Ireland defeat, Cork regrouped during the 1969–70 National League. It was a successful campaign for the Rebels as an aggregate 5–21 to 6–16 defeat of New York gave McCarthy his second National Hurling League medal. The subsequent championship campaign saw McCarthy win his third Munster medal as Tipperary were accounted for by 3–10 to 3–8. Cork later qualified for the All-Ireland final with Wexford providing the opposition in the very first eighty-minute championship decider. The game saw a record 64-point score line for both teams as Cork's Eddie O'Brien scored a hat-trick of goals to give Cork a considerable lead. At the full-time whistle Cork were the winners by 6–21 to 5–10, giving McCarthy his second All-Ireland medal.[3]

After missing Cork's National League decider victory over Limerick in 1972, McCarthy later won a fourth Munster medal following a 6–18 to 2–8 thrashing of Clare. The subsequent All-Ireland decider saw Cork face Kilkenny. The Rebels dominated the early exchanges and went eight points clear after a long-range score from wing-back Con Roche in the 17th minute of the second half. Remarkably they didn't score again. Kilkenny took control with Pat Henderson a key figure at centre-back and Eddie Keher cutting loose up front. They were level after a Frank Cummins goal and went on to win by eight points.[4]

Two years later in 1974 McCarthy won a third National League medal as Cork defeated Limerick on a huge score line of 6–15 to 1–12.

The following year McCarthy was captain of the team for a second time and won his fifth Munster medal following a 3–14 to 0–12 defeat of reigning provincial champions Limerick.

1976 saw McCarthy win a sixth Munster medal as Limerick were bested once again. The subsequent All-Ireland final saw Cork face old rivals Wexford. In one of the worst starts to a championship decider, Cork were 2–2 to no score in arrears after just six minutes. The Rebels fought back to level matters by half-time, however, it was the long-range point-scoring by Pat Moylan that turned the game for Cork. A 2–21 to 4–11 victory gave McCarthy his third All-Ireland medal.

A 4–15 to 4–10 defeat of newly crowned National League champions Clare gave him McCarthy a seventh Munster medal in 1977. The subsequent All-Ireland decider was a repeat of the previous year as Wexford stood in the way of a second successive title. Seánie O'Leary played the game with a broken nose after being hit in the face by a sliotar in a pre-match warm-up while the two oldest men on the team, Denis Coughlan and McCarthy, gave noteworthy displays. Martin Coleman made some miraculous saves in the dying minutes as Cork held on for a 1–17 to 3–8 victory. It was McCarthy's fourth All-Ireland medal.

In 1978 Cork set out to secure an impressive third successive All-Ireland title. The team go off to a good start with McCarthy won an eighth Munster medal following a 0–13 to 0–11 defeat of Clare in a dour provincial decider. This victory paved the way for Cork to take on Kilkenny in the subsequent All-Ireland final. The stakes were high as Cork were attempting to capture a first three in-a-row since 1954. The game, however, was not the classic that many expected. Cork were never really troubled over the course of the seventy minutes and a Jimmy Barry-Murphy goal helped the team to a 1–15 to 2–8 victory over their age-old rivals.[5][6] This victory gave Cork a third All-Ireland title in succession and gave McCarthy a fifth and final All-Ireland medal.

The following year Cork had the opportunity of capturing a record-equaling fourth successive All-Ireland. All went to plan as the Rebels secured a fifth consecutive provincial title following a 2–14 to 0–9 defeat of Limerick. It was McCarthy's ninth and final Munster medal. Age and the exertions of the three previous campaigns finally caught up with Cork in the All-Ireland semi-final and a 2–14 to 1–13 defeat by Galway brought the four-in-a-row dream to an end.[7]

The following month McCarthy captained Cork against Tipperary in the Christy Ring Memorial Fund game. It was his last outing for Cork as he retired from inter-county hurling following that game.


McCarthy also had the honour of being selected for Munster in the inter-provincial series of games. He made his debut with the province in 1968 and was a regular until his retirement a decade later.[8]

After being an unused substitute in 1968, McCarthy was included on the starting fifteen the following year. A 3–13 to 4–4 defeat of Connacht in the decider gave him his first Railway Cup medal on the field of play.

McCarthy was appointed captain of the team in 1969. A 2–15 to 0–9 trouncing of arch-rivals Leinster gave him his second winners' medal and the honour of collecting the Railway Cup.

In 1976 McCarthy was back on the team as Munster broke Leinster's dominance in the competition. A narrow 4–9 to 4–8 victory ended Leinster's hopes of a sixth successive title. It was McCarthy's third Railway Cup medal.

After defeat in 1977, McCarthy won his final Railway Cup medal the following year following a 0–20 to 1–11 victory over Connacht.

Early coaching career

St. Finbarr's

Following his retirement as a player McCarthy immediately became involved in team management when he was appointed coach of the St. Finbarr's senior hurling team in 1980. It was a successful season as a 1–9 to 2–4 defeat of Glen Rovers gave McCarthy his first county championship title as a coach. The Barr's later secured the Munster title following a narrow victory over Roscrea. McCarthy's side were subsequently defeated by a Ballyhale Shamrocks side featuring seven Fennelly brothers in the All-Ireland final.

McCarthy went on to guide St. Finbarr's to a famous three in-a-row of county championship titles with victories over Glen Rovers again in 1981 and Blackrock in 1982. St. Finbarr's almost made it a four in-a-row; however, Midleton defeated McCarthy's side in the decider of 1983. The following year McCarthy guided his club to a sixth consecutive county championship final. Surprise package Ballyhea provided the opposition on that occasion; however, victory went to St. Finbarr's on a score line of 1–15 to 2–4. It was the club's fourth championship in six years. McCarthy remained as coach until 1986.

Twenty years later in 2006 McCarthy was back coaching at St. Finbarr's, however, this time it was the club's senior camogie side. Success was immediate as the club captured their very first championship title following a defeat of Imokilly.


In 1982 McCarthy was back on the inter-county scene, this time as the trainer of the Cork senior hurling team. Under McCarthy's training regime Cork marched through the provincial championship and trounced Waterford in the final by 5–31 to 3–6. This victory allowed Cork to advance to the All-Ireland final seven weeks later where they were firm favourites to take the title. The game did not go Cork's way as two goals by Kilkenny's Christy Heffernan in a forty-second spell was followed by a third goal by Ger Fennelly. At the full-time whistle the final score was 3–18 to 1–15. McCarthy quit from the management team after this defeat in protest over his lack of input into the team selection.

In 1990 McCarthy returned to the Cork senior hurling team as assistant coach and trainer with Fr. Michael O'Brien. The Rebels faced reigning All-Ireland champions Tipperary in the provincial decider that year, however, Cork's chances were dismissed by Tipp manager Babs Keating. His statement that "donkeys don't win derbies" severely riled the Cork team, so much so that they won the Munster final convincingly by 4–16 to 2–14. The subsequent All-Ireland final saw Cork installed as underdogs against Galway. In one of the most open and exciting finals of the decade Cork steamrolled back from a seven-point deficit at half-time to win by 5–15 to 2–21.[9]

After losing their provincial and All-Ireland titles in 1991 McCarthy's side were back in the Munster final the following year. Limerick were the opponents on that occasion, however, Cork won by 1–22 to 3–11. The subsequent All-Ireland final saw Cork take on Kilkenny for the first time in almost a decade. Neither side could claim to be favourites going into the game, however, goals by D. J. Carey, John Power and Michael Phelan gave Kilkenny a 3–10 to 1–12 victory.

In 1993 Cork started well under McCarthy by winning the National Hurling League following a three-game saga with Wexford. Cork were later defeated in the early stages of the Munster championship. With that defeat the Cork backroom team resigned and it was widely expected that McCarthy would be appointed to the position of manager. An obscure rule regarding the make-up of the selection committee resulted in McCarthy being disallowed from taking the post with Johnny Clifford becoming manager instead.

Managing Waterford

McCarthy remained out of inter-county coaching for several years before returning as manager of the Waterford senior hurling team on 16 November 1996. In his first year in charge he introduced a new training regime and cut a number of players from the panel. Waterford later lost at home to Dublin and failed to win promotion from Division Two of the National League. In their opening game of the championship a Limerick team in decline beat them by six points and Waterford's campaign ended unceremoniously.

In his second year in charge McCarthy's side made significant progress in the National League and even reached the final. A 2–14 to 0–13 defeat by Cork was their lot in that game.[10] The provincial championship saw McCarthy's side defeat Tipperary for the first time in fifteen years and reach the Munster final for the first time in almost a decade. That game between Clare and Waterford surprisingly ended in a draw, however, a last-gasp Paul Flynn free which could have won the game went wide. Clare remained favourites to win on the second occasion; however, the replay was a tense affair. The match was played in exceedingly bad spirit as Clare's Brian Lohan and Waterford's Michael White were both shown red cards after a melee. A dirty game drew to its natural conclusion as Clare were the eventual winners. Waterford, however, still had a second chance for the All-Ireland title due to the "back-door" system. A ten-point defeat of Galway in the All-Ireland quarter-final set up an All-Ireland semi-final meeting with Kilkenny. Waterford, however, followed a great performance with a mediocre one and, in a game which was there for the taking, allowed the Cat' to win by just a single point on a score line of 1–11 to 1–10.

McCarthy remained on as manager of the team until 2001, however, he failed to build on the moderate success of the 1998 season.

Managing Cork

McCarthy was appointed manager of the Cork senior hurling team on 8 November 2006.[11] His appointment was seen as controversial from the start as Ger Cunningham, a selector under previous manager John Allen and the favourite for the job, was not even approached about the vacant post.[12]

Cork's opening championship game under McCarthy against Clare provided controversy even before the sliotar was thrown in. Both teams emerged from the tunnel at the same time and a huge melee erupted under the stand as players from both teams became involved.[13] Cork won that game, however, Seán Óg Ó hAilpín, Diarmuid O'Sullivan and Dónal Óg Cusack were suspended. Cork exited the championship at the hands of Waterford in an All-Ireland quarter-final replay.

The appointment of Teddy Holland as manager of the Cork senior football team in October 2007 saw the Cork senior footballers withdraw their services. The players from the county's senior hurling team withdrew their services in sympathy. The strike continued until February 2008, which resulted in McCarthy's side withdrawing from the Waterford Crystal Cup as well as postponing their opening National Hurling League games against Kilkenny and Waterford. Cork were later forced to forfeit their league points after failing to fulfill these fixtures.[14] Cork's championship campaign saw the team surrender an 85-year-old home record against Tipperary before exiting the championship at the hands of Kilkenny in an All-Ireland semi-final.

Following this defeat McCarthy's two-year contract came to an end and it was expected that he would be replaced as manager, however, he was later re-appointed for a further two-year term by the Cork County Board, in spite of the majority of the players not wanting him to stay on. The players on the 2008 panel led by Donal Óg Cusack then refused to play or train under McCarthy.[15] (see 2008-2009 Cork players strike). McCarthy accordingly began the 2009 league campaign with a new squad, none of whom had been able to make the previous year's panel.[16]

On 10 March 2009, McCarthy eventually resigned after four months of severe pressure, having received death threats.[17][18][19]

Career statistics


Team From To National League Munster All-Ireland Total
Waterford 16 November 1996 10 June 2001 331911393152101442321952
Cork 8 November 2006 10 March 2009 1680831029513281411350



St. Finbarr's


St. Finbarr's


  1. "Gerald McCarthy". Hogan Stand website. 4 September 1992. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  2. "St. Finbarr's: a history". St. Finbarr's GAA website. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  3. Lewis, Simon (11 September 2011). "O'Brien hails Corbett's hat-trick heroics". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
  4. O'Sullivan, Jim (1 September 2010). "Classic All-Ireland SHC finals – 1972: Kilkenny 3–24 Cork 5–11". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
  5. Doyle, Angela (7 August 2008). "Another exciting chapter in Kilkenny-Cork saga". Kilkenny Advertiser. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
  6. "Cork's three-in-a-row 70s hurling teams honoured". Hogan Stand website. 23 March 2009. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
  7. "As Kilkenny aim for a historic five-in-a-row, the records show how hard it is to keep winning". Irish Independent. 2 September 2010. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
  8. "Railway Cup Hurling". Munster GAA website. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
  9. O'Sullivan, Jim (3 September 2010). "Classic final: 1990: Cork 5–15 Galway 2–21". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  10. Horan, Liam (18 May 1998). "Crafty Cork celebrate as Waterford waste chance". Irish Independent. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  11. "McCarthy confirmed as Cork boss". RTÉ Sport. 9 November 2006. Retrieved 27 September 2008.
  12. "Cunningham in the frame". Irish Examiner. 11 March 2009. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  13. "GAA to investigate pre-match scuffles". RTÉ Sport. 28 May 2007. Retrieved 27 September 2008.
  14. "Cork saga over as Holland departs". BBC Sport. 19 February 2008. Retrieved 27 September 2008.
  15. "Statement from 2008 Cork senior hurling panel". The Irish Times.
  16. Ewan MacKenna (1 March 2009). "Bridge Over Troubled Waters". Sunday Tribune. Retrieved 4 March 2009.
  17. "McCarthy steps down as Cork manager". RTÉ News. 10 March 2009.
  18. "McCarthy resigns as Cork boss after death threats". Belfast Telegraph. 11 March 2009. Retrieved 14 May 2009.
  19. Fogarty, John (22 February 2013). "McCarthy: With hindsight, I wouldn't have taken on Cork hurling post". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
Preceded by
Willie O'Neill
All-Ireland Under-21 Hurling Final
winning captain

Succeeded by
P.J. Ryan
Preceded by
Jimmy Doyle
All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final
winning captain

Succeeded by
Jim Treacy
Preceded by
Len Gaynor
Railway Cup Hurling Final
winning captain

Succeeded by
Tony Doran
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Peter Doolan
Cork Senior Hurling Captain
Succeeded by
Jack Russell
Preceded by
Len Gaynor
Munster Hurling Captain
Succeeded by
Ray Cummins
Preceded by
John Horgan
Cork Senior Hurling Captain
Succeeded by
Ray Cummins
Preceded by
Fr. Bertie Troy
Cork Senior Hurling Coach
Succeeded by
Johnny Clifford
Preceded by
Tony Mansfield
Waterford Senior Hurling Manager
Succeeded by
Justin McCarthy
Preceded by
John Allen
Cork Senior Hurling Manager
Succeeded by
John Considine
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