People will recall and relive the part played by Joe Deane, Donal Óg Cusack, Diarmuid O’Sullivan, Dara Cott, Mickey O’Connell, and Pat Walsh in Midleton’s last victory in the 1995 final against Lismore.
Deane recalls the victory as if it were yesterday. “We had lost the 1994 final to the Mon who had Sean Óg Ó hAilpín, Brian Kidney, Kevin Egan, and Ger Shaw, all of whom played with Cork in the All-Ireland minor final later that year.
“We had most of our team available for the following year, and having lived in the shadow of the 1988 winning side, which included Brian Corcoran and David Quirke, we needed to put that to rest once and for all.
“We beat Thurles CBS, St Flannan’s and Our Lady’s (Templemore) to reach the final, which was played in Fermoy. Lismore had Dave Bennett and Dan Shanahan on their team but we weren’t going to be denied a second time and played extremely well to take the title.”
Midleton went on to lose the All-Ireland final to St Brigid’s Loughrea in the All-Ireland final. The Galway team included Kevin Broderick.
“When a player goes to secondary school for the first time, his ambition is to make the Harty Cup team,” says Deane. “We were no exception.
“Hurling was the only thing that concerned me in school. Eamon O’Neill (Fr O’Neill’s) and Terry O’Brien (Sars) were our coaches, and the more time we spent on the training field, the better I liked it. Any excuse to avoid classes.
“The Harty Cup is a highly-regarded competition, not alone among the players and supporters but the teachers and the clubs of the players as well. I’m certain there will be a huge east Cork following in Cashel for tomorrow’s final.
“Another great thing about the Harty Cup is that later on in your career you renew rivalry with players you played against. Dave Bennett and Dan Shanahan are two cases in point. They are current members of the Waterford senior team, while Kevin Broderick is a Galway senior.
“Unfortunately I haven’t seen the present school team play, and won’t be able to travel to the final tomorrow because of Cork’s involvement in the NHL against Down, but I believe they are a very solid outfit, more than capable of denying Flannan’s a hat-trick of titles.
“You can take it I’ll have my ear to the radio looking to find out how the team is progressing. It would be a fantastic achievement if they were to win it. The Harty Cup medal is one of the cherished medals I’ve been fortunate to win, and I’m certain every player on the Midleton team tomorrow will put himself on the line in order to bring that coveted cup back to east Cork.”
St Flannan’s will start firm favourites to achieve the first leg of a possible double. They were ruthless in their demolition of St Colman’s in the semi-final, the only team to beat them in this year’s campaign.
They possess some of the most talented underage players around in Seamus Hickey, Ciaran O’Doherty, Conor Tierney, Donagh Stack and Colm Madden, and barring a total collapse, it’s difficult to see them losing.
Midleton, for their part, made heavy work of beating Thurles CBS in their semi-final. It took a hat-trick of goals from Luke O’Farrell and five points by Finbarr Day to see off the Tipp challenge. Much will depend on team captain Paudie O’Sullivan, who will be hoping to emulate the feat of his older brother Diarmuid.
The younger O’Sullivan is a gifted hurler and could be the inspiration needed by Midleton CBS to shock the defending champions.
Midleton CBS 3-12, Nenagh CBS 1-2
Midleton CBS 3-13, Kilmallock 1-6
Midleton CBS 1-14, Colaiste an Risigh 0-3
Midleton CBS 2-13, Our Lady’s 2-8
Midleton CBS 3-8, Thurles CBS 0-16
St Flannan’s 1-19, North Mon 1-7
St Flannan’s 2-14, St Colman’s 2-15
St Flannan’s 0-11, Glanmire CS 0-4
St Flannan’s 1-20, Cashel CS 0-5
St Flannan’s 1-14, Waterford Colleges 0-10
St Flannan’s 2-14, St Colman’s 0-10.