Talking points from an epic weekend of Cork club hurling

From Conor Lehane's prospects of a recall to the Cork panel to Mark Keane's hurling ability, Éamonn Murphy reflects on the action from Páirc Uí Chaoimh and Páirc Uí Rinn
Talking points from an epic weekend of Cork club hurling

Glen Rovers' Dean Brosnan takes on Midleton's Sam Quirke. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

THE LITTLE ALL-IRELAND:

It won't be much consolation to Glen Rovers, but just like last year, they were involved in a terrific Premier Senior Hurling final, the ideal advert for the club game on Leeside.

The Glen were denied in extra time against Blackrock in 2020, while this time a Conor Lehane-inspired Midleton left them looking on as the Seán Óg Murphy Cup was being presented.

It was a cracking game, featuring wonderful scores but also dogged defending. 

As a consequence of Lehane's MVP display, it sparked a debate about his return to the Cork panel.

KANTURK'S GOLDEN AGE:

Having emerged from the junior hurling ranks in 2003 without capturing the county when the Cork GAA redrew the grades, Kanturk have developed a winning habit across the last decade: hurling silverware in 2013, 2017 and last Sunday. And flying the flag for dual players, they've also lifted football counties in 2011 and 2017, with a shot at another double the weekend after next, a PIFC Duhallow derby with Newmarket.

Veterans Aidan Walsh and Lorcán McLoughlin were extremely prominent against Fr O'Neill's, as they had been in every big game across the last decade. Incredible servants to their club, they hurled so well in Páirc Uí Chaoimh the Irish Examiner streaming crew picked between them for Man of the Match. 

McLoughlin's excellence in hoovering up possession across the middle third edged out Walsh's haul of 0-5 from play, though 18-year-old Colin Walsh can consider himself pretty unlucky to be overlooked after his hat-trick!

Key for Kanturk was the balance to their team, Brian O'Sullivan, Ryan Walsh, captain Darren Browne and Liam O'Keeffe all shone too. With Frankie Flannery coaching them, they were well drilled in every sector.

Fr O'Neill's suffered back-to-back SAHC final losses but there's no doubt the loss of Deccie Dalton to injury, with Ger Millerick not fit enough to start, meant they were up against it before a sliotar was pucked.

BACK-TO-BACK:

Lisgoold and Castlemartyr were among the clubs left waiting throughout the winter of 2020 and into this spring before they were able to play delayed county finals.

The East Cork clubs didn't let it put them off, Lisgoold lifting the junior crown, having never even won an East Cork championship before last year, while Castlemartyr captured the Lower Intermediate.

Those victories were in August and the momentum they generated carried them back to county finals last weekend, a double-header in the Páirc, with Lisgoold becoming the Lower Intermediate champions, and Castlemartyr the IAHC kingpins. 

Some going!

Lisgoold's Izaak Walsh and Kilbrittain's Declan Harrington in action. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Lisgoold's Izaak Walsh and Kilbrittain's Declan Harrington in action. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Man of the Match for Lisgoold was 22-year-old Liam O'Shea while Ciarán Joyce (19) got the nod for Castlemartyr. That youthful dimension bodes well for their prospects next season, particularly when Lisgoold can add Cork minor ace Diarmuid 'Duds' Healy to their front six.

MARK KEANE THE HURLER:

His goal against Kerry last winter will never be forgotten and he jetted off to Australia this week to renew his Aussie Rules career with Collingwood. Mark Keane is an athlete in demand.

He's a pretty mean hurler as well, on the evidence in the county junior hurling final at Páirc Uí Rinn.

Though flagged up when he was a teenage footballer with Mitchelstown as a future Cork senior, Keane also caught the eye when hurling with Ballygiblin. If he left the AFL behind could he yet be an option for the Rebels with the small ball?

Mark Keane drives forward to blast in a goal for Ballygiblin against Dromtarriffe. What an asset the 21-year-old would be to Cork in either code next season if he wasn't Down Under. Picture: Larry Cummins
Mark Keane drives forward to blast in a goal for Ballygiblin against Dromtarriffe. What an asset the 21-year-old would be to Cork in either code next season if he wasn't Down Under. Picture: Larry Cummins

Against favourites Dromtarriffe last Saturday, he showed his skill with the camán hasn't left him, manning the centre-back berth for the majority of the contest, before hitting the net after a late switch to the forwards. The 21-year-old's power and size have obvious appeal and current Cork senior selector Diarmuid O'Sullivan actually coached Ballygiblin in 2018.

We know Ballygiblin sharpshooter Darragh Flynn will be on the radar in 2022, it's just a pity Keane will be Down Under.

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