After 14 years of service; Newtonshandrum’s Ben O’Connor has called time on his inter-county career with Cork.
Alongside his twin brother Jerry; the two were leaders of a revolutionary style of hurling which relied greatly on accurate hand passing and high octane support play. It was a style which was to lead to the twins playing their part in three All-Ireland wins over six years (1999, 2004 and ’05) for the Rebels with Ben captaining the ’04 side.
“The twins” as they came to be known enjoyed unprecedented success with their club, Newtownshandrum as well. At just 16, they led the parish to an intermediate county title and four years later; the big breakthrough; a senior title. Four years further on - in 2004; came the pinnacle; a senior All-Ireland club title.
As Cork’s hurling style became more conservative; thus Ben and Jerry’s influence waned with eventually Jerry retiring late last year, followed by his twin Ben now. Both left quietly and with no big announcement.
In 51 inter-county games; Ben O’Connor scored 8-224 from his right wing-forward berth. That’s nearly five points per game. He won three All-Irelands, one National League title, two All-Star awards and one Railway Cup. Statistics don’t begin to tell the story of what the O’Connor twins brought to hurling; together, they were one of a kind.
Ben will continue to work with his father Bernie at their hurley manufacturing plant in Newtownshandrum.