MIDLETON will be apart of the showpiece occasion of Cork senior club hurling on Sunday.
The Magpies booked their place in the SHC final courtesy of a 2-16 to 3-11 victory over Blackrock. Hugely influential for Midleton was goalkeeper was Tommy Wallace, who picked up the Reardens Player of the Cork Hurling Semi-final award for his scintillating display in between the posts.
Wallace was in goals for Midleton when they last won the Cork club hurling premier prize in 2013. He would dearly love to emulate that feat on October 14th.
“It means everything. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the scenes in 2013 when we won it. The field was just mobbed and in the town afterwards, getting the parade through the town. They are memories you definitely want to relive.”
Although players such as Wallace, Luke O’Farrell and Conor Lehane know what it is like to win a Cork Senior Hurling championship title, there is a number of young guns in this Midleton side that will be lining out in their first ever county final at this level.
Wallace described the excitement levels in the camp to now be in a position where they could be 60 minutes away from silverware.
“There is a good few new faces in there and it is absolutely unbelievable for them.
“This will be their first county final, whereas a few of us would have been there before back in 2013.
“The town will be buzzing in the lead up to the final. I remember in 2013 it was the first time we were in the final in a long time. The town was black and white. There were signs up everywhere and it transferred to the camp, everyone was buzzing for it.
“We can’t wait to get back out on the pitch again and are looking forward to the game.
“Especially with it being Imokilly, we’d know the majority of the lads from being around East Cork. So it is going to make it an interesting affair. It will be a tough game.”
This Midleton side have had their mettle tested on numerous occasions along the way during their championship campaign this year.
On top of Sunday’s win over Blackrock, Midleton had tantalizing battles which showed their strength in character.
Round three saw them come out on top by a point against Glen Rovers, while they were also put to the pin of their collar by Newtownshandrum in the quarter-final stages.
It is clear that this Midleton side have a bit of bottle about them and they proved that also last Sunday afternoon.
“The games beforehand stood to us. The Glen Rovers and Newtownshandrum games were down to the wire games,” recalled Wallace when he picked up his accolade in Reardens.
“We knew it would be the same against Blackrock. Thankfully we were able to stay with it and keep fighting until the end. We knew Blackrock went to the final last year and it was never going to be an easy game.
“We were happy to get over it, delighted with the win and looking forward to the County final now.”
The mettle of this Midleton side has been tested and they have showcased their determination to reclaim championship glory.
Awaiting in the final for Midleton are Imokilly, who are looking to make it back to back county title successes.
It should be an intriguing battle in what is an all East Cork Final, pitting the club from the biggest town in the region against the cream of the crop representing the divisional outfit.
Looking ahead to the 2018 Cork SHC decider, Wallace is relishing the opportunity to line out in the final once more.
“Imokilly’s panel alone is unreal. Some of the subs would be walking onto most of the other teams in the senior county championship.
“So we are looking forward to taking them on. It will be great for East Cork really and Cork hurling generally because it will hopefully be another great game.”