Glen Rovers v Midleton: John Horgan on where the final will be won and lost

Premier SHC decider at Páirc Uí Chaoimh this Sunday is set to be a cracker
Glen Rovers v Midleton: John Horgan on where the final will be won and lost

Glen Rovers' Patrick Horgan is tackled by Sarsfields' Conor O'Sullivan. Can Midleton hold him up in the county final? Picture: Eddie O'Hare

THERE is a case to be made for both sides to emerge triumphant in Sunday’s Cork County Premier SHC final.

Firstly, to get into the final is an achievement in itself for both Midleton and the Glen given the route that they have had to embark upon from the outset.

Both have played five games to get to this point, both have had to reinvent themselves after losses at the group stage and both had to come through searching tests in their semi-final assignments.

In those semi-finals, Midleton against Blackrock and the Glen against Sarsfields, they carried the underdog tag but both had the necessary ingredients to get them through.

The Glen probably had the more difficult task in getting out of their group which had Douglas, Bishopstown and Newtownshandrum in the opposition corner.

In recent times, Na Piarsaigh and Carrigtwohill were not setting the world on fire so Sars and Midleton were firm favourites to be the two to come out of that group. In their final group game the pressure was all the greater on the Glen as they had to overcome Newtownshandrum to survive whilst in Midleton’s case, they were guaranteed a knockout spot when they faced Sars.

The Glen had to dig really deep to come out on top against Newtownshandrum, winning by the bare minimum and in doing so they issued a message of real intent.

Midleton were well beaten by Sars but they had the cushion of knowing that they were already berthed in the knockout stage of the competition.

In their quarter-final and semi-final assignments, both Glen and Midleton faced tough examinations, Midleton having to come out of an always difficult East Cork derby against Erin’s Own and subsequently they had to knock the champions Blackrock off their perch. In both of those victories they exhibited their title credentials and they are very worthy finalists.

Where the Glen were concerned, there was a strong school of thought that did not fancy them against Imokilly in their quarter-final, an Imokilly side that was still very strong despite the fact that a number of their three-in-a-row winning teams were not around anymore.

GUTS

And when the Glen lost Patrick Horgan to a red card at an early juncture in the game the odds were very much stacked up against them.

But in true Glen fashion they put their shoulders to the pump to deservedly emerge.

Sarsfields, many pundits fancy for outright honours were next in line but again the resilient nature alongside a fierce team spirit shone through when it mattered most for these Glen players.

Now arrives the biggest test of all for both, trying to get the better of each other on the final day.

All finals are, for the most part, 50/50 affairs, you might have the odd one when a team laden with honours comes up against a side with no history at all in the competition so therefore it’s easy to install a favourite in that instance but not this time.

When you talk about the Glen in a county final the talk inevitably turns to Patrick Horgan and how the opposition plans to curb the threat he is almost certain to pose.

Easier said than done, of course, because you are talking about one of the great Cork forwards of the modern era.

He does the bulk of their scoring in most games but it will be vital for the Glen that he gets the backing that will probably be required.

Simon Kennefick and Dean Brosnan are other key figures in this Glen attack and Midleton will be aware of their threat.

Cormac Beausang has been in outstanding form for Midleton in this championship and was hugely efficient against the Rockies. Conor Lehane and Luke Farrell are vastly experienced and where both teams are concerned there are plenty of players who know what it takes to win a county final, Midleton from 2013 and the Glen from 2015 and 2016.

Midleton's Luke O'Farrell breaks from Blackrock's Cathal Cormack and a flying hurley. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Midleton's Luke O'Farrell breaks from Blackrock's Cathal Cormack and a flying hurley. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Players on both sides too have endured the pain of defeat, the Glen more so having lost finals in 2014, 2019 and 2020.

Midleton lost out on the final day in 2018 but both teams have shown that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Midleton have successfully transformed Tommy O’Connell into a very efficient centre-back while at the other end, Rob Downey has been in top form for the Glen.

Sean O’Leary-Hayes, Sam Quirke, Cormac Walsh and Paul Haughney are a quartet of key Midleton players while Stephen McDonnell, Brian Moylan, Adam Lynch and David Dooling are likewise for the Glen.

Without doubt, this is a final loaded with intrigue, the first final between the teams since 1991 when Midleton triumphed. One thing is for certain, whoever comes out on top will surely have earned it throughout a campaign that may well be keeping the best until last.

The Senior A final involving Kanturk and Fr O’Neill’s is equally intriguing as both seek to be competing on the same pitches next season alongside the Premier finalists. Fr O’Neill’s overcame the loss of Ger Millerick and Deccie Dalton last weekend against Bride Rovers but doing it again this time is probably even going to be more difficult.

It’s a considerable blow to be without two intercounty hurlers on a final day but sometimes when a team is faced with a situation of that adversity it can have a galvanising effect.

We’ll have to wait and see.

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more