HE has already played in Croke Park and brought home an All-Ireland medal with the Cork U17 team after their thrilling victory over Dublin last August.
Cork had two points to spare at the end that historic day last August, 1-19 to 1-17 and their goalscorer on that historic occasion was young Joe Stack from Castlemartyr, a member of the Kiltha Óg club.
Earlier in the season, he bagged a Munster medal after the team’s final win over Waterford and he certainly is not fazed by big days despite his tender years.
Now comes another very big one, arguably the biggest of all, as he prepares to line out with Midleton CBS in Saturday’s Dr Harty Cup final against the competition favourites, Limerick’s Ardscoil Rís.
It’s another red letter day for this young man and he is eagerly looking forward to it and trying to help his school bridge a gap of 12 years since their last victory in this great hurling competition.
“It’s a big game alright for all of us but it’s still just another game, at the end of the day. Personally, for me, it’s a big help that I have been fortunate enough to play in big stadiums like Croke Park with the Cork U17s.
“I wouldn’t be nervous before a game and after a few times, you get used to it.
“I suppose after the games with Cork last year I am used to it now.’’
One of the great strengths of this current Midleton CBS team is its balance throughout the field: strong and assertive in defence, industrious at midfield, and well capable of securing the vital scores in front of goal.
“Yeah, we are a close team now, I suppose we are more of a family now, with the things that we do together.
“Training is always a case of putting in 100% but we know that we face a big hurdle next Saturday in Ardscoil Rís.
“We have played them already, they beat us by a point earlier in the group and we know how good they are and how good they can be.
“Their backs are very strong and we’ll have to be at our best to get by them but we have confidence in ourselves and, hopefully, we can do enough to bring the Harty back down to Midleton CBS.’’
Young Joe is fully aware of the significance of the Harty and how difficult it has been for Cork teams in recent years to make the big breakthrough.
“There is something special about it. We were very young when Midleton CBS last won it and last year was disappointing for us when we lost to St Colman’s.
“But we set out this time to try and do better and we have trained hard with the lads who are in charge and, hopefully, now our time has come.’’
He’s happy enough too with his own game and outside observers will tell you how strong a hurler he has become and how his presence in a pivotal role in the attack is making a big difference.
“Having been involved with Cork has made a difference but being involved here with Midleton CBS has helped me enormously too.
“You are with the lads every day and the lads in charge, Timmy (Collins) and Aggie (Alwyn Kearney) do huge work with us behind the scenes.
“ They put everything into it and they expect no less and, hopefully, now we can do it for them on Saturday.”
He’s quick to point out too the influence that his club Kiltha Og have been on him.
“That’s where it began for me and there have been many lads out there who have helped me. Seamus Lawton was one of them, my father too, and Billy Moran, they’d have been the biggest influences.
“The work that goes on in that club is crazy. There is nothing like your own club and it’s a great club to be involved with.”
He’s a year away from his Leaving Cert which gives him a bit more time for hurling and it’s all about Saturday now and the joust with Ardscoil Rís.
“There’s a good few doing the Leaving on the team. The lads doing the exam are good at balancing and they are getting their school work done too which is so important.
“The exams are so big but it’s Harty, Harty this week for all of us.’’