MIDLETON'S blistering first half laid the foundation for their deserved victory in a captivating Premier Senior Hurling final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
They hit the ground running in every sense, moving the sliotar intelligently and at pace, and hit points from every angle. Midleton carried over the momentum from their electric display in dethroning Blackrock in the semi-final and hurled with the same energy their coach Ben O'Connor's Newtown side showed in their pomp, and Charleville did when he was at the helm there.
Cormac Walsh was also hugely effective driving up from wing-back, Eoin Moloney rock solid at number two and Tommy O'Connell a standout again at the heart of the defence. Pa White, Sam Quirke, Ciarmhac Symth, Sean O'Meara and co came up with enough key plays to get them over the line.
The Glen died with their boots on, as always.
Patrick Horgan pilfered a crucial goal to drag them back into contention before half-time, Simon Kennefick lanced over three quality points, Dave Noonan battled throughout at midfield, and if a late Conor Dorris chance had skidded inside rather than outside the post they'd have forced extra-time. Cathal Hickey made a super stop in the second save and veteran Stephen McDonnell denied a certain goal with a textbook interception.
Ultimately it wasn't enough.
They've now lost three county finals in a row, and five of the seven they'd been in since 2010, but their consistency says it all about their hurling pedigree. Premier 1 minor champs this year, they'll bring through a couple from that group and be in contention again next season.
Midleton, county minor winners in 2019 incidentally, can savour this triumph and showed enough to suggest they'll give Limerick victors Kilmallock plenty of it in the Munster semi-final next month.
With 0-16 on the board across the opening 30-odd minutes, 14 from play, they could afford a haul of just eight in the second half, six of them Lehane frees. The closing period was a real battle, Mark Maher's refereeing ensuring them even though the hits were hard the game wasn't pockmarked by too many frees.
Lehane collected the official Man of the Match prize, as he had in 2013 when they last got their hands on the Seán Óg Murphy canister.
As well as his five points from play in the first half, Lehane had two assists and was fouled for one of the frees he arrowed over. His over-head pass for a stunning O'Regan score in the shadow of the Main Stand coming up to half-time was one of those highlight-reel moments that have been Lehane's trademark over the years for his club and Cork.
Now 29, Lehane might not be back with the Rebels in 2022, but he offered a reminder of his undoubted brilliance.