The greatest achievement in GAA history finally gets its due: Adrian Russell's The Double is a singular triumph. - Michael Moynihan
On 16 September 1990, Cork’s footballers ran out on the Croke Park pitch chasing immortality. The Rebel County hurlers, watching on from the Hogan Stand in suits, had won an unlikely All-Ireland a fortnight earlier; their thrilling final victory over Galway capped a hugely fun come-from-nowhere season. Now, if Billy Morgan’s footballers could overcome their rivals in Meath, they’d secure sporting history for the county; a Senior All-Ireland double.
After hitting a historically low ebb the previous year, the hurlers arrived with a bang led by a hurling fanatic priest. Fr Michael O’Brien built his by plucking players from relative obscurity, coaxing old stars back into action and trusting young guns to make a name for themselves.
Billy Morgan’s footballers, meanwhile, were a tight-knit, well-travelled side by the summer of 1990. A cast of strong characters, including Larry Tompkins, Niall Cahalane and Dave Barry, who trained hard and partied just as hard, they ended Kerry football's hopes, before running into the Meath machine. Cork were defending champions but questions remained: could they back it up when the pressure was piled on by the hurlers’ success?
In a long summer that saw the nation celebrate Ireland’s Italia ’90 success, Cork made its own sporting history. The Double is the story of how they pulled it off.