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Michael Shields (footballer)


Michael Shields (footballer)

Michael Shields
Personal information
Irish nameMícheál Ó Siail
SportGaelic football
PositionFull Back
Born (1986-06-08) 8 June 1986 (age 28)
Cork, Ireland
Height6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
2004-St. Finbarr's
YearsCountyApps (scores)
2006-Cork21 (0-2)
Inter-county titles
Munster titles2
All Irelands1
NFL4 (3 Div 1 1 Div 2)
All Stars2

Michael Shields (born 8 June 1986) is an Irish sportsperson. Born in Cork, he plays Gaelic football with his local club St. Finbarr's and has been a member of the Cork senior inter-county team since 2006.

Playing career


Shields plays his club Gaelic football with the famous St. Finbarr's club on the south side of Cork city. He first came to prominence on the club scene at underage levels, however, he enjoyed little success with the St. Finbarr's minor or under-21 teams.

In 2007, after fifty years of playing in the top flight of the county senior football championship, St. Finbarr's were relegated to the intermediate level. This grade of football didn't pose any problem to Shields's side, as they reached the final in 2008. St. Vincent's provided the opposition on that occasion, however, 'the Barr's' were held to a draw. The replay a week later was more conclusive. St. Finbarr's won by 2-13 to 0-14, giving Shields a county premier intermediate championship winners' medal.[1]

Minor and under-21

Shields first came to prominence on the inter-county scene as a member of the Cork minor football team in 2004. That year Cork qualified for a Munster final showdown with arch-rivals Kerry. That game ended in a 0-9 apiece draw.[2] Cork lost the second game by three points. In spite of this Cork were still in with a chance of claiming the All-Ireland title. A 1-9 apiece draw was the result of their All-Ireland quarter-final game against Laois. Shields did not participate in the replay which Laois won.

In 2005 Shields joined the Cork under-21 football team. He made his debut in a Munster quarter-final victory over Kerry. He lined out in the subsequent semi-final trouncing of Clare. Shields played no further part in the under-21 championship seasons. Cork went on to win the Munster title but lose the All-Ireland semi-final to Galway.

In 2006 Shields had established himself on the starting fifteen of the Cork under-21 team. He lined out in the provincial decider that year against Waterford, however, the Decies were no match for 'the Rebels'. A 4-14 to 1-6 touncing gave Cork the victory and gave Shields a first |Munster under-21 winners’ medal on the field of play. Cork later maneuvered through the All-Ireland series and reached the All-Ireland final against Mayo. That game was a close affair, however, at the final whistle Cork were defeated by just two points.[3]

In 2007 Shields was in his last year as a member of the Cork under-21 team. He lined out in the provincial decider that year against Tipperary and a high-scoring and exciting game developed. Cork won by 3-19 to 3-12 and Shields added a second Munster under-21 winners’ medal to his collection. Cork later reached the All-Ireland final against Laois. Another close and exciting game of football developed as neither side took a decisive lead. Colm O'Neill and Daniel Goulding combined to score two goals and to help Cork to a narrow 2-10 to 0-15 victory. It was Shields's first All-Ireland winners’ medal at under-21 level.[4]


After impressing in some challenge and McGrath Cup games in 2005, Shields was handed his senior championship debut in the 2006 Munster final against Kerry. That game ended in a 0-10 apiece draw. The replay saw a much fresher Cork team surprisingly defeat Kerry by 1-12 to 0-9. James Masters proved the hero of the day, as he scored 1-7.[5] Shields had secured his first Munster winners’ medal in the senior grade. The quirks of the championship saw Cork face Kerry again in the subsequent All-Ireland semi-final for the third time in five seasons. In a similar pattern to previous encounters Cork failed to beat Kerry at Croke Park. A 0-16 to 0-10 resulted in Cork being knocked out of the championship.[6]

In 2007 Cork were out to atone for their defeats by Kerry the previous year. Both sides met in the provincial decider for the third year in succession. Cork gave a good account of themselves, however, Kerry could not be beaten and Shield's side went down on a 1-15 to 1-13 score line.[7] Cork later did well in the subsequent All-Ireland series and finally qualified for the All-Ireland final after an eight-year absence. In a cruel twist Kerry were the opponents. While the first-half was played on an even keel, 'the Kingdom' ran riot in the second-half and a rout ensued. Goalkeeper Alan Quirke came in for much criticism after conceding some easy goals. At the full-time whistle Cork were trounced by 3-13 to 1-9.[8]

The following year Shields missed the start of the championship because of his Australian sojourn. He returned in time for Cork's All-Ireland quarter-final meeting with Kildare. He came on as a substitute in that victory. Cork faced Kerry once again in the subsequent All-Ireland semi-final, however, after a thrilling draw and a replay Kerry were the team that advanced to the championship decider.

In 2009 Shields was installed as Cork's first-choice full-back. After a defeat of Kerry in a replay of the Munster semi-final, Cork subsequently faced Limerick in the Munster final. Cork were the red-hot favourites going into the game, however, Limerick put Cork to the pin of their collars. After a slow start 'the Rebels' settled and eventually secured a narrow 2-6 to 0-11 victory.[9] It was Shield's second Munster title. Cork later defeated Donegal to set up an All-Ireland semi-final meeting with reigning All-Ireland champions Tyrone. In 2010 he was Captain of the Cork team that won the National Football League Div 1 Tile with a won over Mayo in the final at Croke Park.


Shields has also lined out with Munster in the inter-provincial series of games, however, he has enjoyed little success. He first lined out with his province in 2006 when Munster were drawnt to play Connacht in the semi-final. That was an exciting game that featured a period of extra-time. In the end victory went to the westerners by 1-15 to 2-10.

Shields was included on the Munster panel again in 2007. That year Munster reached the Railway Cup final against Ulster, however, the northern province emerged victorious by 1-12 to 1-8.[10]

Australian rules

In November 2007, following a successful three-week trial[11] with top level Australian rules football club Carlton, Shields signed a two-year international rookie contract,[12] becoming the third Cork native to sign with the club, joining former hurlers Setanta and Aisake Ó hAilpín. After the first half of the season, however, he decided to return to Ireland in July 2008, saying he "missed home" and Australian rules football "wasn't for him". [13]


He helped his school Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh from Bishopstown to win the Corn Uí Mhuirí title in 2005 the first in the schools history.


He has also started with UCC in the Sigerson Cup, he played in the 2010 final but was on the losing side it DCU.


St. Finbarr's
Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh


Preceded by
Darran O'Sullivan
National Football League Final (Div 1)
winning captain

Succeeded by
Graham Canty

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