Champions will be at full tilt but big names are likely to be held in reserve in the county final

Champions will be at full tilt but big names are likely to be held in reserve in the county final
Imokilly's Declan Dalton is tackled by UCC's Paddy Cadell. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

IMOKILLY have a clean bill of health for next Sunday’s all East Cork county hurling final against Midleton and the toughest task, according to team boss, Fergal Condon will be to put the starting 15 down on paper.

The defending champions are likely to field at least six players who were not involved in last year’s final win over Blackrock.

Deccie Dalton, Kieran Histon, Barra O’Tuama, Ger Millerick, Cian Fleming and Ian Cahill all played in that 2017 final but did not start the recent semi-final win over UCC. Replacing them were Dara O’Callaghan, Michael Russell, Colm Spillane, Bill Cooper, Shane Hegarty and Dan Mangan.

"It’s a difficult job alright, selecting your first 15 and having to tell others that they are being left out.

“There are big calls to make every day we play but that’s the job we have to do and we are not afraid to do it. We have a strong panel, we can’t argue about that and some players have been disappointed and will be again on Sunday.

“We have done quite a bit of rotating this season already and it’s all about getting the blend right for the requirements of a particular day." 

Imokilly's manager Fergal Condon and selector Derek Barrett. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Imokilly's manager Fergal Condon and selector Derek Barrett. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

An illustration of that strength in depth was seen in the win over UCC with Dalton, Millerick and Barry Lawton among others who did not start but were introduced during the course of the game.

“Players put their hand up that day as they do in training. In nearly every game now you are going to use 20 players and it will probably be no different this time. We have confidence in every player on the panel but, unfortunately, some will be starting, others won’t but everybody is as important as the next fellow." 

Condon is expecting a fierce challenge from Midleton.

“Of course we are. They have beaten the Glen, Newtown and Blackrock along the way, all those games were close right up to the finish but they dug out the right result which showed their resilience and competitiveness.

“A lot of them, like ourselves, have county medals and have experienced a final day in 2013. They will be hugely competitive for the entire game." 

Meanwhile, the experienced Diarmuid Kirwan from Éire Óg will be the man in the middle.

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