The Rearden's club hurling selection is packed with inter-county aces 

The Rearden's club hurling selection is packed with inter-county aces 
Paudie O'Sullivan of Imokilly celebrates after scoring a goal. Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

IMOKILLY were more than worthy winners of the 2018 Cork SHC.

The divisional outfit survived a scare against Newcestown in the quarter-finals but otherwise never looked likely to relinquish their grip on the Seán Óg Murphy canister.

Therefore, it was no surprise to see them dominate the Rearden’s All-Star line-up and this Wednesday at 7pm, they’ll collect eight of the awards on offer. Séamus Harnedy, Paudie O’Sullivan and Niall O’Leary will be honoured for the second year in a row, while Colm Spillane, Bill Cooper, Ciarán O’Brien, Mark O’Keeffe and Will Leahy are the new faces included.

Indeed, John Cronin and Shane Hegarty were also in the mix to make the All-Star 15.

Midleton had a terrific run too, edging out the Glen, Newtown and Blackrock in three cracking battles, and four of their team are All-Stars. Tommy Wallace, Séadnaidh Smyth, Conor Lehane and Luke O’Farrell made the cut, while James Nagle, Seán O’Leary Hayes, Paul Haughney and Cormac Beausang were strong contenders as well.

An interesting side note is that while there are critics of divisions in the senior grade, particularly as Imokilly are favourites for three-in-a-row, their presence means two St Ita’s hurlers are in this Rearden’s team, Harnedy and Ciarán O’Brien.

1 Tommy Wallace (Midleton): The Magpies’ net-minder delivered his signature performance against the Glen with a series of wonder saves. He was also terrific against Blackrock, collecting the Rearden’s Hurler of the Semi-finals award.

Tommy Wallace makes a brave save from Blackrock's John O'Sullivan. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Tommy Wallace makes a brave save from Blackrock's John O'Sullivan. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

2 Gary Norberg (Blackrock): Superb under the dropping ball and a corner-back who hurls on the front-foot, Norberg was as solid as ever in the Rockies’ rearguard. Top-class against the Barr’s and kept hurling until the end in the semi-final against Midleton.

3 Colm Spillane (Imokilly): An All-Star nominee at inter-county level, Spillane carried that form back to the club scene. His trademark aerial prowess and strength in rucks made Imokilly very hard to breach.

Midleton’s Sean O'Meara contests a dropping ball with Colm Spillane. Picture: INPHO/Oisin Keniry
Midleton’s Sean O'Meara contests a dropping ball with Colm Spillane. Picture: INPHO/Oisin Keniry

4 Séadnaidh Smyth (Midleton): A Cork U21, Smyth was regularly given the most demanding man-marking jobs and relished them. An old-school, no-nonsense corner-back in the best possible sense.

5 Ciarán O’Brien (Imokilly): There are no shortage of big names in the Imokilly team but they have their share of unsung heroes as well. O’Brien certainly falls into that category, clearing a world of ball throughout the campaign.

Cormac Beausang of Midleton in action against Ciaran O'Brien. Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Cormac Beausang of Midleton in action against Ciaran O'Brien. Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Another member of the Cork U21 squad and a club All-Star in 2017 too, O’Leary looks ready for the step up to senior. His game-reading and physicality made him a rock for the divisional side.

7 Mark Coleman (UCC): As adept at mopping up in midfield as sweeping across the half-backs for the College, he was their best player in the semi-final loss to Imokilly. On song, he’s a pure joy to watch.

UCC's Mark Coleman racing onto the ball from Sarsfield's William Kearney. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
UCC's Mark Coleman racing onto the ball from Sarsfield's William Kearney. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

8 Bill Cooper (Imokilly): Youghal’s relegation meant the Cork powerhouse became available and he didn’t put a foot wrong. From when the ball was first thrown-in to the final whistle against Midleton at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Cooper was outstanding.

9 Mark O’Keeffe (Imokilly): In a team of stars, the Fr O’Neill’s club man still caught the eye with his energy, aggression and sharpshooting from deep. Brilliant against Bishopstown and UCC.

Mark O'Keeffe, Mike Russell and John Cronin with the cup in Rearden's. Picture: Denis Minihane.
Mark O'Keeffe, Mike Russell and John Cronin with the cup in Rearden's. Picture: Denis Minihane.

10 Luke O’Farrell (Midleton): Midleton’s best hurler this season, their captain was a unanimous choice here. He chipped in with his share of tasty scores to the tune of 1-9 from play but, more influentially, he covered every blade of grass, using his pace to link defence and attack and working tirelessly.

Midleton's Luke O'Farrell is tackled by Bishopstown's Sean O'Rourke. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Midleton's Luke O'Farrell is tackled by Bishopstown's Sean O'Rourke. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

11 Séamus Harnedy (Imokilly): Man of the Match in the county final after nailing a wonder goal in the first-half, Harnedy led from the front for the division. Every bit as good for Imokilly in 2018 as he was for Cork with 3-18 in five appearances.

12 Daniel Kearney (Sarsfields): He might have been unlucky to miss out on an inter-county All-Star but not here. Kearney’s long-range shooting has improved dramatically, hitting 1-12 from play in three outings. He fought gallantly in the loss to UCC and was quality for Sars last season too.

13 Will Leahy (Imokilly): Mr Reliable. Leahy was just pipped for an All-Star in 2017. Absent for the first two games this season, he had to be included here for constantly splitting the posts from there on, nailing 0-30. He always linked intelligently with the big names in the Imokilly attack.

14 Conor Lehane (Midleton): While the final might not have gone Midleton’s way, Lehane was electric in driving his team back to the big stage, amassing 2-37 overall. His best performance saw him land 1-6 from play to knock out the Glen in round four.

Midleton's Conor Lehane breaks past Newtown's Mattie Ryan. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Midleton's Conor Lehane breaks past Newtown's Mattie Ryan. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

15 Paudie O’Sullivan (Imokilly): Back-to-back club All-Stars for one of the best club hurlers of the modern era. He buried a couple of goals in the county final and all season lit up the championship with his flicks, tricks and cool finishing. He had 7-9 from play in six games.

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