For outsiders with a keen interest in Cork hurling, Corcoran largely connected the two places — Imokilly and Midleton CBS — but Midleton, the club, had already forged their own name by then outside of Cork. Having finally made the senior breakthrough in 1983, they went on to win three more titles over the next eight years, winning an All-Ireland club title in 1988.
Midleton were huge trailblazers, not just in Cork, but particularly in Imokilly. Despite East Cork being renowned as a hurling heartland for so long, it’s difficult to believe that, in the first 96 years of the senior championship, only eight titles came to the division. East Cork clubs had regularly reached county finals — Imokilly also contested finals in 1949 and 1968 — but they just couldn’t break the dominance of the three city clubs — Blackrock, St Finbarr’s and Glen Rovers.
And Imokilly finally won a first county title in 1997, before retaining it in 1998.
On paper, Imokilly look better. A star-studded team is even stronger than last year with the additions of Colm Spillane, Bill Cooper and Shane Hegarty. Declan Dalton and Ger Mellerick can’t even make the starting 15. In the semi-final, Imokilly took a highly vaunted UCC team apart.
The Cork senior final is always a special occasion in Cork GAA but Sunday’s decider will be a magical occasion for east Cork. And the winners will secure the most precious county title they could ever win.