Fourteen months ago Glenariffe’s Caolan O’Connor, who is a bio medical student, moved to Cork at part of his placement to take up a position with Stryker, who are a medical devices company based in Cork city. Caolan travelled up to play with Glenariffe as often as he could but it obviously wasn’t feasible to train with his Oisin team mates, so he went along to St Finabarr’s in Cork and ask if he could train with them.
This season he went a step further and joined the Barr’s for the Cork League campaign and has been a regular on the starting 15 al season. The team is managed by Cork goalkeeping legend Ger Cunningham and one day after training he told Caolan that he had a jersey in the attic that he had swopped with an Antrim player after the 1986 All Ireland SHC semi-final in Croke Park, that famous game when Antrim scored 1-24 against the Rebels, but unfortunately conceded 7-11 to lose by just five points.
When Cunningham brought the jersey to training the next day he gave it to Caolan and told him he felt it would mean more to an Antrim man to have it than sitting in his attic. However Caolan was curious to find out more about it and when he did a bit of research he discovered it was worn on that August day in 1986 by the late Danny McNaughton, who had scored two points in the game, despite being marked by the great Cork defender Dermot McCurtain.
Caolan would liked to have kept the jersey, but he knew that there was someone else that it would mean much more to, Danny’s widow Anne Marie, so on Thursday he and his mum Christine called around to Tavnahan Crescent to hand it over.
It goes without saying there were a few tears shed as Anne Marie took possession of the famous shirt. She was taken aback not only with getting the jersey, but also by Caolan’s thoughtfulness and generosity of spirit in seeing the bigger picture.
A copy of the 1986 match programme