In goals with plenty of experience, Kerry Co-op’s chair Mundy Hayes takes the number-one jersey. Like Quaid in the Limerick goal, he’s had a good year and survived a big test in the last match that ensures he’ll keep the ball pucked out with pinpoint accuracy.
Not from a hurling stronghold but the Strathroy brothers, Cormac, Ruairi and Patrick, had a good year, claiming more than their fair share of liquid milk contracts. Always in the thick of the action, some call them troublemakers, but they are well able to move up the wing or play away further from goal. We need an old-fashioned, hardworking, jersey-pulling defence to keep a handle on the Limerick full-forward line of Gillane, Flanagan and Mulcahy.
We’ve gone for height and experience in the half-back line with left half-back, Dale Farm’s CEO Nick Whelan, centre-back Dairygold’s Jim Woulfe and right half-back ICOS chair Jerry Long. We’re hoping teak tough Long will neutralise the height and hurling skills of Limerick’s Gearoid Hegarty. Jim Woulfe is a safe pair of hands in centre-back with plenty of hurling and experience. He’s fit out after rebuilding Cork to take all the new milk. He won’t like taking on his beloved Limerick, but in fairness he’s helping Cork pay for Páirc Uí Chaoimh as well. Wexford native Nick Whelan has plenty of hurling in him and after a few years of Davy Fitz is likely to be flying fit. He’ll have to be at his best to keep a handle on Limerick’s sharpshooter Hennessy.
We’ve gone with a very mobile and youthful midfield. Dairy farmers Dara Killeen and Richard Starrett form an Aurivo partnership in midfield. Both won all-stars this year – Killeen taking the Macra FBD Young Farmer of the Year and Starrett taking the NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Award. Both are well capable of running up and down the pitch all day and they’ll need to be able to do that to keep a handle on Limerick’s Cian Lynch and Will O’Donoghue.
We’ve gone for height again on the half-forward line, with left half-forward Jim Bergin, centre-forward Carbery chair TJ O’Sullivan and right half-forward former Glanbia chair Henry Corbally. They average well over 6ft 2in. Corbally is probably the biggest surprise on the 2020 team. He came from nowhere to be nominated to sit on the Ornua board representing Glanbia as Ornua completes its governance transition. TJ O’Sullivan from Beara in west Cork is probably better known for his footballing prowess, but with west Cork co-ops dominating the milk leagues, we felt it was essential we bring a west Cork man into a scoring position. Left half-forward Jim Bergin has the height, experience and Kilkenny match-winning pedigree to catch a lot of ball and the fact he collects milk in almost 20 counties he knows how to move so we couldn’t overlook him. Kyle Hayes will have his hands full.
There is fierce competition in the full-forward line. We’ve gone for sharpshooters with pace, a touch of youth, huge experience and a never-say-die attitude. Left corner-forward is Mayo dairy farmer Sean O’Donnell, who recently claimed a place on the Aurivo board.
However, the award-winning farmer has been lighting up the west for a good number of years. Lakeland CEO Michael Hanley gets the nod for full-forward. If ever we need someone to hit the back of the net, it’s Hanley.
He’s pulled off some of the best moves in the last number of years so Hanley has the toolbox to deliver. Lakeland hasn’t been going as well for a number of years and with LacPatrick suppliers settling in, he has built up a big score in the top half of the country.
At right corner-forward is Dr Sean Brady – he was gone, back, gone to the dogs, and now is back again and into the board of Ornua representing Lakeland. His 50 odd years of experience in the sector will mean if he can’t match the Limerick corner-back for pace he’ll know the shortcut or at least how to pull him down. Any lad still in the game in his mid-70s is worth including.
Ornua’s John Jordan – not afraid to drop who needs to be dropped. This year he dropped eight persons from the Ornua board and brought in nine new faces.
The dairy team of 2020 is sponsored by Liffey Mills and the Mountmellick dairy farming giants, the Rochfords.
This pair pulled off the largest land purchase of the year, landing the top bid for 1,100 acres near Edenderry, Co Offaly. With that kind of a war chest, they won’t be found wanting for a few quid for the 2020 dairy team.
Between the pair they’re probably backed by every bank in Ireland. If they are caught with cashflow issues, they can call on Animal Health Ireland chair Mike Magan who was the ringleader behind Irish dairy farmers raising over €300,000 for Yemen.
Wexford’s John Murphy, the new Glanbia chair, will have plenty of goodies from Avonmore, Slimfast and Optimum Nutrition.
He might get lotion for a rub from Glanbia’s new plc chair Gaynor, who we understand has whiskey links.
ICOS CEO TJ Flanagan is knocking on the door for full backline inclusion.
IFA deputy president Brian Rushe could go in midfield but has more rugby skills than hurling.
Incoming Drinagh CEO Seamus Daly has experience but needs another year.
Dairy farmer John Payne was recently elected to the Aurivo board but Longford is not a hurling stronghold.
Tipperary ICMSA president Pat McCormack is very near the starting 15 but is lacking match fitness due to long-running COVID-19 Zoom sessions.
Unavailable for selection
Aurivo’s former CEO Aaron Forde (travelling), Aurivo’s former chair Pat Duffy (injured), Arrabawn’s CEO Conor Ryan (didn’t want to take part), Aurivo’s CEO Donal Tierney (again didn’t want to take part), ex Glanbia chair Martin Keane (unavailable), Kerry’s Frank Hayes (almost retired), Ornua’s Joe Collins (gone farming), IDIA’s Conor Mulvihill (decided he wouldn’t play against his beloved Limerick).