Alan Browne

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Alan Browne
Personal information
Irish name Alain de Brún
Sport Hurling
Position Forward
Born Blackrock, County Cork
Occupation Auctioneer
Club(s)
Years Club
1992-present Blackrock
Club Titles
Cork titles 3
Inter-county(ies)
Years County Apps (scores)
1995-2003 Cork 22 (9-17)
Inter-county titles
Munster titles 3
All Irelands 1
NHL 1
All Stars 0

Alan Browne (born 1974 in Blackrock, County Cork) is an Irish sportsperson. He played hurling with his local club Blackrock and was a member of the Cork senior inter-county team from 1995 until 2003.

Playing career[edit]

Club[edit]

Browne played his club hurling with the famous Blackrock club in Cork and has enjoyed much success. Afater failing to collect and silverware at minor or under-21 levels, Browne lined out in his first senior county final in 1998. Imokilly provided the opposition on that occasion and a tense game developed. At the full-time whistle, however, Imokilly were the champions for the second year in-a-row by 1-10 to 1-15. In 1999 Blackrock reached their second consecutive county final. That game turned into a rout as the collegians were trounced by 3-17 to 0-8. It was Browne's first county senior championship winners' medal.[1]

After surrendering their title in 2000, Blackrock were back in a third county final in four years in 2001. Imokilly once again provided the opposition, however, Browne proved the hero and single-handedly defeated the opposition. He contributed 3-8 of Blackrock's tally of 4-8, while the east Cork divisional side could only muster 2-7.[2] It was a second county championship winners' medal for Browne. 'The Rockies' later represented Cork in the provincila club championship and even reached the final. Ballygunner provided the opposition on that occasion, however, Browne's side fell easily by 2-14 to 0-12.[3]

In 2002 Blackrock continued their dominance of the club championship and reached the final once again. North Cork side Newtownshandrum provided the opposition as the old order were challenged by the new kids on the block. Browne proved the goal-scoring hero again as Blackrock won by 1-14 to 0-12.[4]

In 2003 Blackrock set out to become the first team in twenty-one years to win a three-in-a-row of club championship titles. All went to plan as Browne's side reached a fifth county final in six years, with Newtownshandrum providing the opposition for the second consecutive year. 'The Rockies', however, were now in decline and 'Newtown' recorded a significant 0-17 to 0-9 victory.[5] It was Browne's second defeat in a county final. Blackrock have since failed to reach the final of the club championship. In 2011 Alan Browne officially retired from club hurling.

Inter-county[edit]

Browne's hurling skills at club championship level brought him to the attentions of the Cork inter-county selectors and he was soon picked for the county under-21 team. In 1995 he won his sole Munster under-21 winners' medal as Cork defeated LImerick by 1-18 to 3-9.[6] Cork, however, fell in the All-Ireland semi-final against Galway.

Browne's move onto the Cork senior team was a natural progression. He made his senior championship debut against Kerry in 1995, however, it was an unhappy time for the Cork hurlers.

Three years later in 1998 Browne tasted success at senior level for the first time as Cork defeated Waterford to take the National Hurling League title.[7] It was a welcome return to the big time for Cork; however, success in the championship was slow in coming. Between 1995 and 1999 Browne played in every championship game for Cork and only ended up on the winning side on two occasions.

In 1999 Cork were back in their first Munster final since 1992 and Browne was listed as a substitute. Clare, the team that had won three of the last four provincial titles, together with two All-Ireland titles, provided the opposition and were very much the favourites going into the game. A score line of 1-15 to 0-14 gave Cork the victory and gave Browne his first senior Munster title on the field of play, after he came on mid-way through the match.[8] Cork later defeated Offaly in one of the games of the year to set up an All-Ireland final meeting with arch-rivals Kilkenny. Browne, however, failed to make the starting fifteen again. A wet and windy day meant that the classic game that everyone expected failed to materialise. Both sides shot seventeen wides over the course of the seventy minutes as a young and inexperienced Cork came back from five points down to win by 0-13 to 0-12. Browne entered the game in the second-half and chipped in with a point. It was Cork’s first senior All-Ireland title since 1990 and it was Browne's first.[9] The victory was all the more special for Browne as his brother John was also on the team. They both followed in Richard Browne's footsteps, their brother, who won an All-Ireland medal in 1986.[10]

In 2000 Cork were the favourites to retain their All-Ireland title. The team got off to a good start by retaining their Munster title, however, Tipperary put up a good fight. Browne's personal tally that day was three points as Cork won by 0-23 to 3-12. Cork’s next game was an All-Ireland semi-final meeting with Offaly. While Cork were expected to win the game without breaking a sweat Offaly caught Browne's side on the hop and recorded a 0-19 to 0-15 win.

While the Cork hurling team should have gone from strength to strength as a result of a solid foundation at minor and under-21 levels the opposite happened. Embarrassing defeats in 2001 and 2002 saw the Cork hurling team reach rock bottom and call a players' strike just before Christmas in 2002. Had the strike failed it could have meant the end of his and his teammates' careers, however, in the end the county board relented and met the demands. Although still amateur sportsmen the Cork senior hurling team were treated as professional athletes.

In 2003 Cork’s players were vindicated in taking a stand as the team reached the Munster final for the first time in three years. Furthermore, Browne was appointed captain of the team for the year. Waterford provided the opposition on that occasion as one of hurling’s modern rivalries began in earnest. An exciting game resulted between the two teams; however, victory went to Cork by 3-16 to 3-12. It was Browne's third Munster medal and it gave a signal that Cork were back.[11] Browne's side were hot favourites going into the subsequent All-Ireland semi-final against Wexford, however, it was far from a walkover. In one of the most exciting games of the championship both sides finished level: Cork 2-20, Wexford 3-17. Both sides met again six days later with Cork making no mistake and taking the spoils on a score line of 3-17 to 2-7. This win set up an All-Ireland final meeting with Kilkenny. In another thrilling game of hurling both teams were level for much of the game, exchanging tit-for-tat scores. A Setanta Ó hAilpín goal steadied the Cork ship, however, a Martin Comerford goal five minutes from the end settled the game as Kilkenny went on to win by 1-14 to 1-11.[12]

Browne retired from inter-county hurling following this defeat.

Provincial[edit]

Browne also lined out with Munster in the inter-provincial hurling championship where he played alongside his championship rivals from Tipperary, Limerick, Clare and Waterford. He first played for his province in 1996. Browne collected his first Railway Cup winners' medal that year, albeit as a non-playing substitute, as Munster trounced Leinster by sixteen points. Four years later in 2000 he was a full member of the team. That year he won a second Railway Cup title, his first on the field of play, as Leinster were beaten once again. A third winners' medal quickly followed in 2001 as Connacht were accounted for.[13]

References[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Wayne Sherlock
Cork Senior Hurling Captain
2003
Succeeded by
Ben O'Connor