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O’Neills deal with Cork’s unusual request

When we wrote about the possibility of a number 9 England goalkeeper shirt a few days ago, little did we realise that a similar modern-day example was about to take place, albeit in a different code.

Generally, in the Irish sports of Gaelic football and hurling, which are 15-a-side, goalkeepers wear 1 or 16.

However, there is a greater transferability of skills from goal to outfield than in football, so there have been notable examples of players switching. In 2010, for example, Darren Hughes of Monaghan played outfield in the Ulster final wearing number 1, having been selected as the goalkeeper when the team was announced.

From time to time, a sub goalkeeper will come on outfield, with two shirts prepared for him – already this summer, it has happened with Tipperary footballer Kevin O’Halloran and Kilkenny hurler Richie Reid, but last Thursday night provided a new, heretofore unseen, instance of the trope.

Cork took on Waterford in the Munster Under-21 Hurling Championship and they won as centre-forward Declan Dalton (number 11) scored with a penalty deep into injury time, as illustrated in the header picture.

Dalton has played a lot of his career in goal – he was situated there for Cork’s minor (under-18) team two years ago. Patrick Collins, the sub goalkeeper on the senior team, is still under-21 though and so Dalton was used as an attacking option.

With no other specialist goalkeeper in the squad, if Collins were to be injured or sent off, Dalton would go between the sticks. That meant that, on Thursday, outfielder Eoghan Healy came on wearing 16, while kit manufacturers O’Neills were asked to produce a red-and-white hooped number 11 goalkeeper shirt.

Thankfully for Cork fans, nothing happened Collins, and they progressed to the final against Limerick in a fortnight They will hope that in that game Dalton will once again be able to focus on his outfield exploits.

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O’Neills deal with Cork’s unusual request