Justin McCarthy and Justin McCarthy

Justin McCarthy and Justin McCarthy are June Cork Persons of the Month

Awards Scheme Honours Significant Cork Family

Justin McCarthy Sr. and Justin McCarthy Jr. are Cork Persons of the Month in honour of their contribution to sports and media. Cork Hurling Icon Justin McCarthy and his son RTE Broadcaster Justin are the June Cork Persons of the Month.

Justin Sr., from Rochestown, had a playing career that spanned nearly 30 years, including a 10-year stint with the Cork Senior Hurling team. Known as a cerebral, versatile and stylish midfielder, McCarthy got his first taste of competitive hurling with Capuchin College in Rochestown where he took part at under-14, under-15, and under-16 levels. At the age of 17, he lined out for Rochestown’s junior hurling side and earned one appearance with Carrigdhoun divisional side where he scored two points.

After one year with Rochestown, McCarthy transferred to Passage in 1964, spending 20 years with the club from 1964-1980 and 1987-1991. Despite being driven by McCarthy’s talent, drive and tenacity, Passage never achieved success during this period, coming heartbreakingly close to winning the Cork Intermediate Hurling Championship in 1976 where they eventually came up short by one point to Newtownshandrum. He also spent one season following his first spell with Passage as a player-manager for Shamrocks, leading them to a South East Junior Hurling Championship medal in 1981.

Whilst Justin’s club career is noteworthy for its longevity and being emblematic of McCarthy’s dogged perseverance, his inter-county career is more akin to gold-plated, star-studded brilliance. Quickly rising through the minor, under-21 and intermediate ranks, McCarthy made his senior hurling debut for Cork against Galway in the 1964 Munster Senior Hurling Championship.

Over a ten year period hurling at the senior grade at inter-county level, McCarthy won one All-Ireland Senior Hurling title and three Munster Senior Hurling Championships. This, back when the Munster Championship was a do-or-die affair. McCarthy’s inter-county career reached a crescendo is 1966, where in one legendary season he won a Munster Under-21 Hurling Championship, a Munster Senior Hurling Championship, an All-Ireland Under-21 Hurling Championship, an All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship and, to cap it all off, became the then-youngest winner of the Hurler of the Year award.

Following his playing career, McCarthy held a variety of coaching and managerial posts across the country. He provided coaching lessons to the Antrim hurling team as they went on to do a double at intermediate level in 1970, winning both an Ulster Intermediate Hurling Championship and an All-Ireland Intermediate Hurling Championship.

He coached Cork across two periods from 1975-1976 and 1984-1985, where he won three Munster Championships in 1974, 1985, and 1986, and an All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship in 1984. This All-Ireland win is one Corkpeople are particularly proud of, it being the centenary year final played at Semple Stadium, Thurles where almost 60,000 saw Cork tough it out against Offaly in a hotly contested first half before dismantling them in the second to win on a 3-16 to 1-12 scoreline.

He took the brave and then-unprecedented decision to coach his native county’s rivals Clare from 1977-1980, winning two National Hurling Leagues in the process and running Cork close in two Munster Championships.

Continuing the trend of managing would-be kingslayers, McCarthy took the reins of Waterford in 2001. Here, he was a thorn in the side of Cork on a number of occasions, beating the Rebels out by a point in 2002, and in 2004 – in one of the greatest ever games of small ball – Waterford persevered to beat Cork by 3-16 to 1-21 in a Munster Final of incredible intensity.

In 2007, he led Waterford to their first National Hurling League title since 1963 and beat Cork twice, first in a 5-15 to 3-18 Munster Championship classic, and then again in a 2-17 to 0-20 All-Ireland Quarter Final. A pioneer in setting his sights outside his native county to pursue managerial success, McCarthy paved the way for other cross-border managers such as Anthony Daly, Davy Fitzgerald and Henry Shefflin. Justin also released his biography some years ago “Hooked – A Hurling Life.”

His son, Justin McCarthy is a broadcaster and journalist, best known for presenting This Week on RTÉ Radio One, Ireland’s longest-running radio news programme.

He is an alumnus of both St. Peter’s Community School in Passage West and University College Cork, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature in 2000. Since then, he has had a variety of roles in the media industry both locally and nationally.

Justin Jr. cut his teeth in the local radio space. He began his career working as a journalist with both of Cork’s most prominent radio stations in the form of 96 FM and Red FM, respectively. He then spent a year as a senior reporter covering crime, politics, industrial relations, and general news for Independent News Network, a news agency that provided national and international news to local radio stations across the country.

After spending the early period of his career focussed on local radio, he made the transition to national radio when he became Political Correspondent for Today FM. In this role, he was based in Leinster House and covered prominent political and economic stories across a near 10-year period. During his time working with Today FM he was awarded the News Reporter of the Year award at the Phonographic Performance Ireland Radio Awards. In total, he holds five PPI and IMRO radio awards for news reporting and broadcasting.

In 2013, Justin moved to RTÉ to take up a role as a Multimedia Journalist, part of which involved acting as a reporter for Morning Ireland. He acted as a member of RTÉ political staff for two years before moving to his current role as presenter of This Week in September 2018. Here, he has played a vital role in providing analysis and commentary on political and current affairs in Ireland and further afield. Justin”s  career is characterised by an enduring curiosity, a devotion to truth, the promotion of civil discourse and a commitment to public service broadcasting.

“The McCarthy’s are truly one of Cork’s most famed families. Across sport and the media, both Justin Sr. and Jr. have provided the people of Cork with decades of entertainment, commitment, stimulation and inspiration. It is my hope that this Cork Persons of the Month Award goes some small way towards showing the city’s and county’s thanks for the immense service they provide to sporting and civic life. In the future, we hope to occasionally highlight Cork families in our awards scheme and the McCarthy’s are the first that our Judges have chosen’’ said Awards Organiser, Manus O’Callaghan.