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John Kerins: Rated As One Of Cork's Greatest Ever Football Goalkeepers
The St. Finbarr’s clubman is rated as probably Cork’s greatest ever football goalkeeper and his senior football era between the posts, ran from 1984 when he made his debut in the 1983/84 National Football League against the mighty Kerry. His last posting between the posts for Cork was in 1994.
John also played hurling as a goalkeeper and lined out with Cork minors against Tipperary in the 1980 Munster championship. He also played in the early 1980’s as goalie for St. Finbarrs but primarily for the intermediate hurling team. Born on the 19th July 1962 John took up a career with the gardai and rose to the rank of detective garda until his untimely death at the young age of 39 on 21 st August 2001. John Kerins was an integral part of the Cork team that enjoyed Cork’s greatest ever football success. He won six Munster titles, two All-Ireland titles and twoAll Stars at senior level.
In the annual pilgrimage to Cork/Kerry Munster senior football finals prior to 1987, Charlie Nelligan, the Kerry goalkeeper of many years, was a key component of their historic successes and John Kerins would emulate the great Kerryman. When Cork took command in Munster in 1987, it was the Cork net minders instant reaction to a late, late Kerry goal at Pairc Ui Chaoimh, that shaped Cork’s football destiny.
With Kerry unexpectedly leading by one point after the dramatic late goal, John Kerins found the temperament to execute a mighty fast kick out to a colleague, who then found another colleague further up the field. Kerry backtracking were waiting for the final whistle and fouled a Cork player about 30 yards from their own goal. Larry Tompkins duly sliced the posts to give Cork a deserved replay at Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney. The replay was achieved only by John Kerins immense belief, that Cork could still find time to score. He set up a glorious period of Munster supremacy over Kerry that lasted until 1991.
John Kerins will also be remembered for his prime role, when Cork won back to back All Ireland senior football titles against Mayo 1989 and Meath 1990. That was also the year Cork won the double. His place kicking was superb in accuracy and distance. This often proved on many occasions to be Cork’s first line of attack when John regularly found a colleague almost 70 yards away with a precise kick from his goal line. With his club St. Finbarrs, he won an All Ireland senior club medal in football in 1987 and played his last senior match for the club v Clonakilty in the 1994 Cork senior football semi final. He will be recalled as one of the greatest ever gaelic football goalkeepers of the 1980’s and ‘90’s decades and his inclusion in our All Ireland Hall Of Fame Online Gallery, will ensure that the great Barrsman’s memory will be preserved for current and future generations of Cork sporting fans.
The 1989 and 1990 All Ireland finals were the silver lining for John’s career and the 1987 and 1988 All Ireland final defeats by Meath were the downsides of a glorious career. The All Ireland club football final of 1987 witnessed John lining out for St. Finbarss against Clann Na Gael of Roscommon. The Cork side emerged victorious on a scoreline of 0 – 10 to 0 – 07.
Inter county Roll Of Honour - FOOTBALL
All Ireland Senior Football Medals: 1989/90
All Ireland Senior Club Medal: 1986
All Ireland U21 Football Medal: 1981 (sub goalkeeper)
Munster Senior Football Medals: 1987/88/89/90/93/95
Munster U21 Football Medal: 1981 (sub goalkeeper)
Munster Senior Club Football Medal: 1986
Munster Minor Football Medal: 1982
Cork Co. Senior Football Medals: 1986
National Football League Medal: 1989
All Star Footballer: 1987 & 1990
Composed by Derry JF Doody