January 11, 2001
Cork's GAA fraternity has been plunged into the mourning by the death of Paddy Barry of Sars', one of the greatest hurlers ever produced by the Rebel County.
During the course of an inter-county career which spanned almost two decades, Paddy won three All-Ireland, four Munster championship and two National League medals, gaining a reputation as a forward of the highest calibre in the process.
He first donned the red jersey in 1946 on a minor team which surrendered a big lead in the last quarter of the Munster final and eventually finished two points behind Tipperary.
Eligible for minor duty again in '47, he earned a call-up to the senior panel also that year, scoring 3-1 in his debut game against Wexford in the league at Wexford Park.
Cork went on to win the league in the '47/'48 season, with a goal from Paddy at a critical stage in the second-half doing much to pave the way for victory over Tipperary in the final.
Waterford beat Cork in the '48 Munster final, and Tipperary emerged as the leading power in the game over the next three years.
But Cork foiled Tipp's bid for a record-equalling four-in-a-row in 1952 before going on to fashion a narrow win over Galway and a decisive victory over Dublin in the All-Ireland series.
Paddy captained the '52 team, and he remained a key figure in attack as Cork went all the way again in '53 before completing the three-in-a-row in '54 when Wexford were beaten in a memorable final, a victory which allowed Christy Ring to collect a record eighth All-Ireland medal.
Cork had faced a very stiff test from Tipperary in the Munster final that year, and it was a last-minute goal from Paddy Barry which allowed them to shade the issue by 2-8 to 1-8.
With Tipperary and Waterford dominating the scene in Munster during the late fifties and early sixties, Paddy made his last appearance in an All-Ireland final on the team beaten by Wexford in 1956.
But he continued to adorn the inter-county stage until 1964, although his career was to end on a very sour note when, having been coaxed out of retirement, he was replaced before the final of the Munster final against Tipperary that year.
By then, however, his place among the all-time greats of hurling was already assured.
Winner of four Railway Cup medals with Munster, he was also a leading light during Sarsfields county senior hurling triumphs of '51 and '57.
And he had completed his 23rd year without missing a championship game at club level when he finally decided to call it a day in 1968.
A crafty and immensely skilful player and and exemplary sportsman, Paddy earned the respect and admiration of friend and foe alike, and in the book Giants of the Ash by Brendan Fulham, legendary Tipperary defender John Doyle described him as one of the most difficult opponents he had ever encountered.
The late great Phil Grimes of Waterford also paid Paddy huge tribute in the same book by selecting him at left corner-forward on his ideal hurling team.
Resident in Fermoy for many years, Paddy was the recipient of the prestigious Carrigdhoun/Acton's 'Legends of Cork GAA' hurling award in 1997.
Courtesy of The Southern Star
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