Friday, 29 July 2011 12:01

Christy Ring: Famous Cork Hurler From Cloyne

Written by

Hurling Categroy:

 

Christy Ring of Cork hurling fame was born on 30th October 1920 and died on 2nd March 1979.

 

Ring Played Without Back Doors

Since the emergence of two famous Kilkenny hurlers (both forwards) in the modern decades, DJ Carey and Henry Sheflin, several pundits who never played at the highest levels of hurling, have put Carey and Sheflin ahead of Ring in the pecking order of Ireland's greatest ever hurlers.

The Kilkenny masters played in an era when the hierarchy at Croke Park decreed that back doors were far more important than front doors for financial income and doubtless Christy Ring, Mick Mackey and Eddie Keher and a gallery of many more great hurlers, would have excelled to a much greater degree had they enjoyed the luxury of any back doors.

Comparisons are probably impossible but no hurler in his own playing time reached such epic proportions of greatness on and off the field as Cork's own Christy Ring.

 

 

Summary Of Christy Ring Career:

1937: First chosen for Cork as last sub (No. 26) for All Ireland minor hurling final v Kilkenny at Killarney. He was aged 16 years 11 months. Christy sat next to Cork minor colleague, Tony Slattery, on the bus from Cork to Killarney and sat silently for the entire trip admiring the countryside.

His minor club was St. Endas, Midleton as Cloyne had no minor team.

Cork minor debut v Limerick 22nd May 1938 in Munster minor hurling championship

Debut junior hurling v Tipperary at Dromcollogher, Co. Limerick 18 th June 1939 - club - Playing with Cloyne

1939 - senior hurling debut as sub - N.H.L. v Limerick at Limerick - his club was Cloyne

1939- First chosen on Cork senior hurling team on 22nd October v Kilkenny - N.H.L. - club was Cloyne

1963- Retirement aged 43 from inter county hurling after tournament game V Waterford at Fermoy.

1967- Retirement aged 46 from Cork county senior hurling championship after game V U.C.C. at Pairc Ui Chaoimh, Cork.

A Hurlers Hurler

We hear of Christy’s skills and he had them in abundance. It can equally be said that hundreds of hurlers had the same skills, the same ability to strike the ball over the bar or to the back of the net, the ability to hit equally well on both sides, on the ground, in the air, on the run, with timing, and with great accuracy.

 

But Christy was unique- a remarkable man. It was impossible to isolate his genius. Where did he differ and what was his greatness?

He wasn’t a sprinter and his speed could be matched by many lesser players.

He had tremendous endurance, his energy never seemed to sap, but so many other players had similar qualities.

 

Off the field he was an ordinary man or was he?

With laser blue eyes he could probe the depths of a players weaknesses and inconsistencies and averted eyes couldn’t prevent his honest appraisal. It was certain that frailties would be uncovered.

 

His life was totally committed to hurling and yet, in a train journey he was sure to start a sing song, with his arms round two colleagues, the Cork songs coming forth triumphantly, relaxing himself, relaxing all his company.

 

And still he was apart, an individual, a reserved man, he knew himself and where he was going, a man, who in any company, off or on the field was never prepared to lower the standards that he himself set.

 

His preparations in the dressing room and attention to detail before a game was also unique. His togs were always the proper size and immaculately white.

 

The lacing of his boots was a ritual. Starting with the lower eyelets he inserted both ends of the lace, on in each eye, crisscrossing and interlacing until he reached the top.

Tightening at intervals with those wrists of steel, that flashed the hurley with such devastation. When the top was reached the lace was brought round the ankle twice. A further tightening then and the knot was tied.

 

When both boots were properly laced the work was tested by standing in the middle of the floor, jumping off the ground and retested again in the same way. The boots were then undone if the test was not to his satisfaction and he was never satisfied until perfection was achieved.

 

Then with eyes flashing, hurley caught in the middle and with a fully outstretched hand, he asked each player for his best. This enthusiasm permeated the players and the thousands who came to see him when he cantered so immaculately fit on to the field of play.

 

He was fearless on the field. He always achieved high standards and when he wasn’t brilliant, he was always great. He was a worker and an opportunist, but he achieved his reputation through individual efforts rather than from the opportunities created by his colleagues.

 

I am certain he never lost a night’s sleep because of a game the following day. When other players were sampling tea and toast before a game, Christy always did justice to a good meal – butterflies were not on his menu!

Where was his greatness then?

* The ability to bounce from a standing position and befuddle any number of opponents.

* The ability to strike a ball with his feet off the ground.

* The uncanny balance displayed when he soloed and struck the ball without shortening his hurley and with the same force as if from a standing position.

* The personal satisfaction displayed when a score was made.

* His fearlessness on the field.

* The strength of his body and the power of his stroke – the ability to play well in all positions.

* The total confidence in his own ability.

* The committed approach to each contest.

* His magnetism as a personality on the field.

 

I honestly don’t know and I am doubtful if the camera could dissect his worth.

Even hurlers themselves cannot pinpoint his superiority, but they are unanimous he was the greatest and they do not give praise lightly.

 

He was a writer’s hurler, a commentator’s hurler, a supporter’s hurler, but, most of all, he was a Hurler’s Hurler.

(this tribute was written by unknown author)

 

Club & County Roll Of Honour:

Christy played in 10 All Ireland senior hurling finals despite Cork's inability to win a Munster senior hurling championship from 1956 to 1966 and when Cork won in 1966 Christy Ring was not on the panel.

A glimpse at the 10 All Ireland finals statistics:

1941: Croke Park - Sunday 28th September -  Cork 5 - 11  Dublin  0 - 06

1942: Croke Park  - Sunday 6th September -   Cork  2 - 14  Dublin  3 - 04

1943: Croke Park  - Sunday 5th September -   Cork  5 - 16  Antrim  0 - 04

1944: Croke Park -  Sunday 3rd September -   Cork  2 - 13  Dublin  1 - 02

1946: Croke Park -  Sunday 1st September -    Cork  7- 05  Kilkenny 3 - 08

1947: Croke Park -  Sunday 7th September -    Kilkenny  0 - 14  Cork 2 - 07

1952: Croke Park -  Sunday 7th September -    Cork  2 - 14  Dublin 0 - 07

1953: Croke Park -  Sunday 6th September -    Cork 3 - 03  Galway  0 - 07

1954: Croke Park - Sunday  5th September -    Cork  1 - 09  Wexford 1 - 06

1956:  Croke Park - Sunday 23rd September -  Wexford  2 - 14  Cork  2 - 08

 

Statistics & Honours 1937 to 1967

 

Year

 

         Honour

 

Year

 

      Honour

1937

All Irl Minor Hurling Medal

1952

 

All Irl Senior Hurling Medal

Munster Senior Hurling Medal

1938

 

All Irl Minor Hurling Medal

Munster Minor Hurling Medal

Cork Co. Minor Hurling Medal

East Cork Minor Hurling Medal

(with St. Endas

Midleton)

1953

All Irl Senior Hurling Medal

Munster Senior Hurling Medal

National Hurling League Medal

Railway Cup Hurling Medal

Cork Co. Senior Hurling Medal

1939

Cork Co. Junior Hurling Medal

East Cork Junior Hurling Medal

(with Cloyne)

1954

All Irl Senior Hurling Medal

Munster Senior Hurling Medal

Cork Co. Senior Hurling Medal

Cork Co. Senior Football Medal

1940

 

National Hurling League Medal

1955

Railway Cup Hurling Medal

Highest Scorer Of The Year

1941

All Irl Senior Hurling Medal

Munster Senior Hurling Medal

Cork Co. Senior Hurling Medal

1956

Munster Senior Hurling Medal

1942

 

All Irl Senior Hurling Medal

Munster Senior Hurling Medal

Railway Cup Hurling Medal

1957

Railway Cup Hurling Medal

1943

All Irl Senior Hurling Medal

Munster Senior Hurling Medal

Railway Cup Hurling Medal

1958

Railway Cup Hurling Medal

Cork Co. Senior Hurling Medal

1944

All Irl Senior Hurling Medal

Munster Senior Hurling Medal

Railway Cup Hurling Medal

Cork Co. Senior Hurling Medal

1959

Railway Cup Hurling Medal

Cork Co. Senior Hurling Medal

Hurler Of The Year

1945

Railway Cup Hurling Medal

Cork Co. Senior Hurling Medal

1960

Railway Cup Hurling Medal

Cork Co. Senior Hurling Medal

1946

All Irl Senior Hurling Medal

Munster Senior Hurling Medal

Railway Cup Hurling Medal

1961

Railway Cup Hurling Medal

1947

Munster Senior Hurling Medal

1963

Railway Cup Hurling Medal

1948

National Hurling League Medal

Railway Cup Hurling Medal

Cork Co. Senior Hurling Medal

1964

Cork Co. Senior Hurling Medal

1949

Railway Cup Hurling Medal

Cork Co. Senior Hurling Medal

1966

(age 46)

Munster Club Hurling Medal

1950

Railway Cup Hurling Medal

Cork Co. Senior Hurling Medal

1967

 

 

Cork Co. Senior Hurling Medal


Last modified on Thursday, 13 July 2017 16:54
Previous Next Play Pause