THERE is considerable enthusiasm in Midleton at the appointment of Ben O’Connor as the new manager of the club’s senior hurling team.
In the past the Magpies have tended to keep things in house and this is a significant move on their part.
The former Cork star comes with an impressive CV, having led Charleville to Croke Park last Spring in the All-Ireland club championship after their victories in the Cork County PIHC and Munster intermediate championship.
Midleton lost the county U21 final to Sars on Sunday, their second loss in two years in that competition but there is still a considerable platform to build on going forward and they will be one of the leading contenders for senior honours later on in the year.
A fully firing Conor Lehane will be central to Ben O'Connor's plans, but like Charleville the core of their team will be young and they've lifted two of the last three minor counties. In Tommy O'Connell and Sean O'Leary Hayes they possess two rising stars of Cork hurling while the likes of U21 forwards Garan Manley and Ross O'Regan have real potential.
For the championship, the Midleton seniors are drawn in Group 1 alongside Sars, Douglas and Ballyhea.
It's a tough section but with three of the four sides progressing to the knockout stages they'll still be expected to make inroads in 2020.