IMOKILLY completed a unique treble on Sunday against Glen Rovers.
Here we look at the post-match talking points.
: When Fr O’Neill’s won the Cork Premier intermediate hurling title 10 days ago, joint manager Dave Colbert remarked this is a ‘Golden Age’ for the club. You could apply that statement now to the entire hurling landscape of east Cork where the game is prospering all over.
Sunday’s senior county final victory for Imokilly for the third time in succession is the icing on the cake, involving players and mentors from a spread of 12 clubs.
Players from different grades too performing at the highest level.
Russell Rovers and Carraig na bhFear will contest the junior A hurling championship final early next month – another all-east Cork showdown. Already, Midleton are crowned Premier 1 minor hurling county champions.
For good measure, the Premier 1 U21 hurling championship has yet to be finalised but the reigning champions are Fr O’Neill’s who played out a memorable final against Midleton last December.
As it stands, four major Cups will be touring around east Cork this winter.
Imokilly were favourites coming into Sunday’s final having been unbeaten in the Cork senior championship in the past three years. Clubs like Midleton, Sarsfields and St Finbarr’s were safely negotiated in recent months, leaving the way for Glen Rovers to try and create an upset.
Many punters felt, if any team could do that, it could be the men from Blackpool. We now know they came up just short after a mighty effort. Four points was the losing margin but they were still in the hunt deep in injury time and searching for an equalising goal. Substitute Shane O’Regan Óg secured the clinching point for Imokilly in the seventh minute of time added on.
There is no doubt, Seamus Harnedy’s goal before half-time was key to the outcome. No blame should lay with Glen Rovers’ goalkeeper Cathal Hickey for this, he is an exceptional custodian. Okay, his short puckout led to the green flag, but these scenarios are part and parcel of the game.
The truth is, the Glen would not be in the final only for Hickey. He made excellent saves all year, none more so than against Newtownshandrum in the quarter final. He was superb that evening; lining out with a hand injury to boot.
Glen Rovers will fly the flag here. You have to go back to 2009 for Cork honours when Newtownshandrum completed their great run in the Munster club championship.