More Rebel retirements as Quirke and O’Neill call it a day 8 years ago

More Rebel retirements as Quirke and O’Neill call it a day

New Cork football manager Brian Cuthbert will have a new look squad as Alan Quirke and Pearse O’Neill have become the latest Rebels to call time on their inter-county days.

Following in the footsteps of Graham Canty, Paudie Kissane and Noel O’Leary, the two men have called it a day with Cork, with both citing the 2010 All-Ireland victory as the highlights of their respective careers.

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Valley Rovers man Quirke joined the Cork senior panel in 1999 and as well as the All-Ireland success, collected six Munster titles, four National Football Leagues and represented Ireland in the International Rules Series. The shot-stopper revealed he had known that 2013 would be his last year with Cork.

“I thought about it long and hard while I was in the Lebanon on Army duty and I knew coming back last May that it was my last season one way or the other,” he told The Examiner.

“My mind was made up by January or February last year. I’m very happy with my decision.”

O’Neill first joined the panel in 2006 and the Aghada clubman was best known for his ball winning and barnstorming runs through the middle, either from midfield or the half-forward line. He won an All Star in 2009 and has thanked in particular his fellow clubman Conor Counihan and previous manager Billy Morgan for their support.

As well as landing Sam, Quirke says he has one other notable moment from his time in a red jersey that he will cherish.

“2008 was another very enjoyable year for us,” he recalled.

“We lost badly in the All-Ireland the year before, then we had the strike and because of that, we played with a lot of abandon in 2008, and the Kerry game, when we came back from eight points down at half-time, was unforgettable. I’ll take that to the grave.”

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Two more Cork servants that have worn the jersey with distinction.