Dreams do come true. 19 years ago, Seamus Harnedy thought he was in dreamland lining up for a picture with the Munster Hurling championship trophy beside his local Killeagh heroes, Mark Landers and Joe Deane.
Cork had beaten Clare in Thurles and also pictured is Ann-Marie Keniry, a sister of Landers, who played camogie for Cork, as well as her husband Martin.
Landers captained Cork in ‘99 and would go on to lift the Liam MacCarthy Cup that September.
History repeated itself yesterday, and Harnedy once more got his hands on the trophy as Munster Council chairman Jerry O'Sullivan handed it over to the Rebels captain after the win over the Banner.
"I can only have dreamed of days like this when I was a small fella. It is only a mini-dream, you always want to go on and do a bit more," the Cork star said.
Harnedy, who turns 28 later this month, played with the Killeagh-Ita's combination underage before returning to St Ita’s for adult competition.
Landers remembers well the night the night of celebration when that photograph was taken, as he told the Irish Examiner PaperTalk podcast today. (Listen below from 21 mins)
“Seamus, obviously through his parents, came up to Killeagh that night and we had a great night in the village. It just shows the commitment that parents make to their kids. He was brought up to the village that night to see the cup and it’s one of the photographs on file we have of the young fella.
“We didn’t think years ago he’d be in this situation but you always hope that some kid that you’re training in the field will come through and acquit himself with a fantastic honour of captaining Cork to win the Munster championship.
“I was involved with him when we won the 2006 minor county. Seamus was under-16 at the time. It’s hard to believe when you look at the frame of the young fella now but he was one of the smallest lads on the panel at the time.
“Around 2008/09 from being a slight young lad, he grew significantly in the space of 12 months - grew 12 or 14 inches. And then at UCC he was the only Freshers player who didn't play inter-county hurling the previous year. He didn’t make the Cork minor panel when he was 18. He was still on the slightly smaller side of things.
“But when he was very small, he had all the characteristics - good off his left and right. A good sidestep and a very good hand for a small lad. And once he added the size…”
Harnedy was instrumental in Cork’s win over Clare, scoring 1-4 from play and setting up Luke Meade’s goal. Landers believes he has stepped up another level during the current campaign.
“He has a newfound confidence now, and his decision-making is excellent. He got the ball in situations where he once might have laid it off, but I thought yesterday he took on the responsibility himself that he was going to knock the ball over the bar.
“He also offloaded to Luke Meade for his goal, so his decision making was good.
“He’s getting to a level when he knows the right thing to do all of that time. That’s a sign of a player who’s beginning to mature.
And Landers feels this Cork side are good enough to give Harnedy every chance of emulating his own magic moment on the Hogan Stand steps.
“They hurled Clare off the field in the second half. I thought it was a very good performance overall. I still think we haven’t played for 70 minutes and if we play for 70 minutes I think we’ll go very close to winning the All-Ireland this year.”