Dalton, Harnedy and Lawton combine for 16 points from play as champs Imokilly send out a strong message

Dalton, Harnedy and Lawton combine for 16 points from play as champs Imokilly send out a strong message
Imokilly's Seamus Harnedy is tackled by Midleton's Luke Dineen, during their Cork SHC clash at Carrigtwohill. Picture: David Keane.

Imokilly 0-34 Midleton 4-16

COUNTY champions Imokilly sent out a strong message of intent at a packed Carrigtwohill last night registering a big score against Midleton in the Cork SHC third round — in a repeat of the 2018 final.

Fergal Condon’s side looked very sharp, putting on an awesome display of point-taking — they were in front at one stage in the second half by 14 points.

Midleton, to their credit, never gave up, and came up with a storming finale that will surely have left them thinking of what might have been. They flashed four goals in the final 10 minutes, incredibly reducing the margin to three points with five minutes to go. But champions die hard, and the divisional team — superbly led by Declan Dalton who contributed 15 points — finished confidently.

Imokilly were tuned in from the off. Twenty seconds was all it took for Brian Lawton to get them up and running. Midleton stayed with them (0-4 to 0-3) in the early stages, but a run of seven unanswered points and the titleholders were in full stride.

While Midleton responded somewhat coming up to the interval, they wouldn’t have been happy with their performance as the opening half belonged to Imokilly who led at half-time 0-15 to 0-8.

They continued to up the intensity after the restart, four points in succession from John Cronin, Dalton (2) and Seamus Harnedy opened up a double-digit lead. Midway through the half, they were coasting, 0-25 to 0-12.

The advantage was 0-27 to 0-13 at the start of the fourth quarter, and when Tommy O’Connell volleyed a superb goal to the net there was 10 minutes of normal time remaining.

No need for Imokilly to panic just yet, one would have thought. However, when O’Connell smashed his second goal, the lead didn’t look as convincing. Conor Lehane then fired Midleton’s third goal from a close-in free, and it was all Midleton. They were on a roll.

Lehane converted a couple of frees, and when substitute Sean O’Meara bagged Midleton’s fourth goal on 55 minutes, we were set for a dramatic finish, 0-30 to 4-15.

But Imokilly regained control. Dalton struck three points on the trot, two of these from play. Although Lehane rifled over another free to bring his tally to 1-10, Dalton landed the final point for Imokilly.

And despite Midleton’s late onslaught, Imokilly held on to win by six points.

Scorers for Imokilly: D Dalton 0-15 (0-10 f), S Harnedy 0-6, B Lawton 0-5, J Cronin, A Spillane, M O’Keeffe 0-2 each, B Cooper, S O’Regan Óg 0-1 each.

Scorers for Midleton: C Lehane 1-10 (1-7 f), T O’Connell 2-1, S O’Meara 1-1, L O’Farrell, C Beausang 0-2 each.

IMOKILLY: D O’Callaghan (Watergrasshill); K Histon (Cobh), C Barry (Castlelyons), G Millerick (Fr O’Neill’s); S Hegarty (Dungourney), M Russell (Aghada), J Cronin (Lisgoold); B Cooper (Youghal), M O’Keeffe (Fr O’Neill’s); B Lawton (Castlemartyr), S Harnedy (St Ita’s), W Leahy (Aghada); B Mulcahy (St Catherine’s), D Dalton (Fr O’Neill’s), A Spillane (Castlelyons).

Subs: S O’Regan Óg (Watergrasshill) for B Mulcahy (44), J Millerick (Fr O’Neill’s) for B Cooper (48).

MIDLETON: J Loftus; E Moloney, L Dineen, S Smyth; S O’Sullivan, S O’Leary Hayes, J Nagle; T O’Connell, C Walsh; L O’Farrell, C Lehane, C Beausang; J Hegarty, A Ryan, G Manley.

Subs: P O’Farrell for S O’Leary Hayes (35), S O’Meara for J Hegarty (35), E Walsh for J Nagle (41).

Referee: Colm Lyons (Nemo Rangers).

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