Junior hurling glory at last for St Ita's and Seamus Harnedy

Historic first Imokilly crown for Ita's after defeating Erin's Own by nine points
Junior hurling glory at last for St Ita's and Seamus Harnedy

St Ita's players Seamus Harnedy and Ciaran O'Brien celebrate in Dungourney. Picture: Howard Crowdy

St Ita's 1-14 Erin's Own 1-5 

DREAMS do come true, as St Ita's discovered after the small Imokilly club secured their first East Cork Oil JAHC title in Dungourney.

In their third final in seven years, Ita's were good value for this nine-point victory, setting the tone from the off. While Seamus Harnedy was their main man, they had seven other players on the scoresheet and held Erin's Own's second team to just one score from play. 

St Ita's players douse themselves with champagne following their first East Cork JAHC title. Picture: Howard Crowdy
St Ita's players douse themselves with champagne following their first East Cork JAHC title. Picture: Howard Crowdy

Ita's were marginally ahead at the break, 1-5 to 1-4, though that was having hurled into the teeth of the wind. A well-taken goal by full-forward Ed Coleman after only six minutes proved a huge boost to the Pilmore side, though Michael Murphy grabbed a great goal for the underdogs just before the first water break.

Free-taker Kevin Cronin converted four placed balls for Erin's Own in the first half, though the excellent Darragh O'Brien hit a fine point for Ita's in the opening exchanges. 

The goal came after Cronin's looping delivery was expertly finished to the net by Murphy as he ran across the square.

The third quarter was even, two more Cronin frees were balanced out by a point from play and a well-hit free courtesy of captain Harnedy. Shane Murphy had been driving on Erin's Own from midfield but having lost both centre-back Cathal O'Mahony and full-forward William Fenton through injury, the Caherlag men faced a big task against the wind in the second half.

St Ita's Bobby McCarthy taking on Erin's Own's Andrew O'Sullivan. Picture: Howard Crowdy
St Ita's Bobby McCarthy taking on Erin's Own's Andrew O'Sullivan. Picture: Howard Crowdy

As the rain continued to drift around the well-prepared Dungourney venue and underfoot conditions worsened, St Ita's produced a master class in game management during the second half.

O'Brien, Kevin Lee and Harnedy all raised white flags before Kevin Cronin got what proved to be the last score of the day for Erin's Own just five minutes after the break.

Anchored superbly by Ciaran O'Brien in defence and with his brother Michéal showing up well at midfield, St Ita's went on to take a decisive grip on the match. They led 1-8 to 1-5 by the second water break and when goalkeeper Paudie O'Brien landed a monster long-ranger to follow a Harnedy free, the five-point gap lead looked like a certain winning one.

Ita's remained very secure in defence and proceeded to land four points inside the closing 10 minutes through Harnedy, wing-back Bobby McCarthy and a brace from lively substitute Eoin O'Loughlin to embellish their memorable day.

Scorers for St Ita's: S Harnedy 0-6 (0-2 f), E Coleman 1-0, D O'Brien, E O'Loughlin 0-2 each, K Lee, M O'Brien, P O'Brien, B McCarthy 0-1 each.

Erin's Own: K Cronin 0-5 f, M Murphy 1-0.

St ITA'S: P O'Brien; M Coleman, M Lillis, S O'Connor; G Coleman, C O'Brien, B McCarthy; M O'Brien, K Lee; S Harnedy, C Deane, D O'Brien; G Griffin, E Coleman, D Doherty.

Subs: D O'Rourke for Doherty (43), F Foley for D O'Brien (inj 45), E Loughlin for Griffin (48). 

ERIN'S OWN: T Dillon; D Twomey, P Fitzgerald, S Broderick; K Fenton, C O'Mahony, I O'Mahony; S Murphy, J Ryan; K Cronin, R Blackton, J McMahon; M Murphy, W Fenton, A O'Sullivan. 

Subs: S Power for C O'Mahony (inj 7), C Linehan for W Fenton (inj 22), C MacDonald for O'Sullivan (40), C Broderick for Cronin (46), L Foley for Ryan (51). 

Referee: P O'Driscoll (Bride Rovers).

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