IMOKILLY and Midleton will have the stage to themselves on the final day of the Cork County SHC after overcoming UCC and Blackrock respectively in the semi-finals at Páirc Uí Chaoimh yesterday.
Imokilly will be putting their title on the line that day, trying to replicate the division’s dominance in the late 1990s when they put back to back titles together in ‘97 and ‘98.
Midleton will be bidding to regain the title that they last held in 2013 when Conor Lehane inspired them to victory over Sarsfields.
Much was expected from the clash of Imokilly and UCC in the first of the two semi-finals at headquarters but the game fizzled out completely in the second half when the East Cork side took complete control.
Led superbly by Cork captain Seamus Harnedy, they had five-star displays from a number of players with young Mark O’Keeffe from Fr O’Neill’s superb at midfield.
Less than 24 hours earlier he had starred for his club at full-back in their PIHC win over Kilworth as they qualified for a semi-final showdown with Charleville next weekend.
Former Cork star Paudie O’Sullivan had a splendid game for the divisional side as well while their strength in depth was exhibited by the contribution of Barry Lawton who secured three points following his introduction.
Team boss Fergal Condon was thrilled with the win.
“We knew coming in here that we had to be a lot better than we were against Newcestown the last day and we were.
“There’s fierce competition for places on this team but you can only start 15. To be honest, we could start any of the whole 30 we have in the squad.’’
Meanwhile, Conor Lehane, who picked up an ankle injury late on, Luke O’Farrell, Paul Haughney and Cormac Beausang made significant scoring contributions for Midleton in their two-point win over Blackrock.
The Rockies cut a 10-point deficit down to two in the closing stages but Midleton held out to reach the decider. Team selector, Ger Fitzgerald was delighted at having done so.
“We knew Blackrock would come back at us. They were in the final last year, they were a seasoned team and we expected that. But our lads reacted magnificently and showed great composure.
“This is huge for our club to be back in a final, The players have a fierce pride in the Midleton jersey and they will drive on.’’
Ballincollig and Blackrock will contest the Cork County IHC title after Ballincollig overcame Mayfield in the semi-final.
Cian Dorgan was just one of a number of Ballincollig players that made a large contribution to their three-point win.
In Fr O’Neill’s splendid win over Kilworth in the PIHC, star players Deccie Dalton and Billy Dunne shared 2-11 between them.