The large crowd in Kilworth had got bang for their buck up to that stage, with little between two young and wristy sides in a cracking clash. Fitzgibbon’s goal though was part of a sequence which saw the subsequent PIHC kingpins winning by nine points, 4-17 to 2-14.
This year I was deployed to the new Páirc quite a bit, where the bulk of the senior hurling games took place. It can be a bit cold though, both in terms of atmosphere and temperature, for a regular match even if it’s terrific to see club hurlers and footballers getting their chance on that stage.
Along with Kilworth, trips to Bandon, Meelin, nearby Ovens, Castlemartyr, despite the apocalyptic rain, and Ballinlough provided some of my highlights across 2018.
That honour went to St Finbarr’s, kings of October for the first time in 33 years, though Duhallow pushed them all the way in a pulsating SFC decider. Steven Sherlock led the line with aplomb for the Barrs and John Kerins’ emulating his late father was as special as the emotional scenes that greeted the final whistle.
Seamus Harnedy and Paudie O’Sullivan followed up their 2017 heroics but another series of sizzling scores and assists, while Bill Cooper, who got the nod ahead of Harnedy for the Rearden’s Club Hurler of the Year, and Colm Spillane were the immovable additions we expected them to be. Credit must go to the likes of Ciarán O’Brien, Mark O’Keeffe and Shane Hegarty, the lesser lights that caught the eye.
Ballincollig made great strides on the hurling front, capturing intermediate and U21 trophies, along with more from U12 up to U16. And there’s no better feeling than when your own club is successful!