THERE was no denying that Imokilly were the standout side of the 2018 Cork Senior Hurling Championship.
Right throughout the summer and into October, they showed their mettle and the quality which they possess right across the park.
Therefore it was no surprise a man from the East Cork Divisional outfit came away with the Rearden’s Club Hurler of the Year award.
Bill Cooper held off the claims of his team-mates Seamus Harnedy, Paudie O'Sullivan and Niall O'Leary when the judges voted on their 2018 MVP.
He was in outstanding from the off for the division, available after Youghal were relegated, and excelled against UCC and Midleton at the business end of the summer.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” said Cooper moments after picking his award. “It was a lovely thing to get and it is a great night Rearden's run, promoting the game in Cork.
“It’s been a very good finish to the year with Imokilly. A very disappointing finish to the year with Cork. Great to get over the line with the Munster title. There are big things to build on for 2019.”
The divisional outfit provide a number of very gifted hurlers the opportunity to in the top competition of club hurling. A lot of great work, regardless of natural talent, is required to get a representative team. Cooper is quick to praise the role the Imokilly management play in making sure everything runs smoothly.
“All credit there goes to all of the management team to bring all of the lads together.
“There is 42-43 on the WhatsApp. The lads are driving it in challenge games, just like any club would be.
“There is a huge unity there and everyone is just delighted to be involved.
“This is another good night for everyone to get together and enjoy it in the build-up to Christmas.”
Cooper added: “You’re only a good as your next game really. That’s where it’s at. It is all about the next game and that is how we have to approach it."
There is great young hurling talent in the East Cork region at the present moment. That bodes well for the health of the game over the coming years ahead.
“With the two U21 teams in Midleton and Fr O’Neill’s playing in the final on Sunday. It is healthy,” commented Cooper.
Imokilly have successfully won back-to-back country titles, which is a feat that is quite a significant one to pull off.
The East Cork men will now be heading into 2019, starting what they might hope will be a third successive title on the bounce. The last team to win three in a row was St Finbarr’s back in the early 1980s.
For now, Cooper is just thrilled to have gotten his hands on a Cork SHC winners medal.
“Yeah it was good. It was brilliant really. It was my first and it was some of the lads' second.
“But it is great to be involved and great to be given the opportunity. I just really enjoyed it.”
Cooper is a man that lets his hurling do the talking and his phenomenal work-rate was deservedly awarded in 2018 with Imokilly.