Midleton v Glen analysis: Conor Lehane offered Cork fans a reminder of his brilliance

Éamonn Murphy analyses Midleton's 0-24 to 1-18 win over Glen Rovers in a Premier SHC final thriller
Midleton v Glen analysis: Conor Lehane offered Cork fans a reminder of his brilliance

Midleton captain Conor Lehane raises the Seán Óg Murphy cup after defeating Glen Rovers in the Co-Op Superstores Cork Premier SHC final at Pairc Ui Chaoimh. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

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.

Conor Lehane and Ross O'Regan were the primary scoring threats up top, but all six of their starting forwards chipped in with points from play. 

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. 

Glen Rovers' Patrick Horgan scores his first half goal past Midleton goalkeeper Brion Saunderson. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Glen Rovers' Patrick Horgan scores his first half goal past Midleton goalkeeper Brion Saunderson. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

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.  

Midleton's Conor Lehane takes on Glen Rovers' Robert Downey at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Midleton's Conor Lehane takes on Glen Rovers' Robert Downey at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

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.

You can be sure it meant more to him to captain the Magpies to their second title in the season after he was released from the Cork panel. 

Now 29, Lehane might not be back with the Rebels in 2022, but he offered a reminder of his undoubted brilliance.

Championship scorers for Midleton:

Conor Lehane 0-55 (0-29 f, 0-4 65);

Luke O’Farrell 4-14;

Cormac Beausang 1-18;

Ross O’Regan 1-9;

Paul Haughney 0-11;

Sam Quirke 0-7;

Pa White 1-4;

Darren Quirke 1-0;

Sean O'Meara, Sean O’Farrell 0-3 each;

Tommy O’Connell;

Cormac Walsh 0-2;

Sean O’Leary Hayes, Aaron Mulcahy 0-1 each.

Championship scorers for Glen Rovers:

Patrick Horgan 6-56 (0-34 f, 0-3 65);

Dean Brosnan 1-8;

Simon Kennefick 0-9;

Luke Horgan, Conor Dorris; Liam Coughlan 0-4 each;

Mark Dooley; Dave Noonan 0-3 each;

Brian Moylan 0-3 f;

Eoin Downey, Adam O’Donovan, Evan Murphy 0-1 each.

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