Waterford clash holds special meaning for Cork injury doubt Harnedy

Needless to say, a championship meeting with Waterford means something more to Seamus Harnedy than most of his Cork colleagues.

Waterford clash holds special meaning for Cork injury doubt Harnedy

Which makes the prospect of missing out on Sunday’s Munster semi-final, as he speeds up his recovery from a hamstring tear in the counties’ Division 1 final, all the more unpalatable.

Youghal’s Bill Cooper, another man whose club straddles the counties’ border, can empathise but then Harnedy’s association with Sunday’s rivals goes somewhat further. Father Seán was a star performer for Shamrocks in Knockanore although his achievements on a field were dwarfed by his wife Cathy, nee Landers (a first cousin of current Cork coach Mark), who claimed four All-Ireland titles for the Rebels.

“There have been mixed emotions for him,” smiles Harnedy of his father, “but in fairness over the last few years with myself being on the panel he’s converted a bit every year.

“He’d be shouting for Cork now, he’s nearly a fully converted Cork man. He’d always have a bit of grá for Waterford.”

Working in AIB’s branch on Cork’s College Road, St Ita’s club man Harnedy is glad particularly this week that he can avoid Youghal when there will be no end of banter between rival supporters. He won’t stray too much from the field, home and office this week.

“The people in the area are fantastic, they’re unbelievable and they’re great in supporting me. They don’t burden me too much with the best wishes and good luck messages before games. It’s great to be getting the support but sometimes you just have to zone out, turn off the phone and log off Facebook for a few hours.”

Perhaps it was appropriate that Harnedy made his senior debut for Cork against Waterford in a Division 1 game in Dungarvan two years ago. Given the atrocious conditions, the game should never have gone ahead. Harnedy, then 22, might have preferred it that way.

“It was a washout down in Fraher Field. It was my first ever game. I remember it was one of the toughest days of all time. I nearly picked up pneumonia. It was a memorable debut, to say the least. I was coming off a high. We’d (UCC) won our second Fitzgibbon the week before on the Sunday so to get my league debut with Cork it should have been a great week but I ended up being taken off with 10 minutes to go, but that’s hurling. You have your ups and downs in any walk of life.”

That philosophical approach will serve Harnedy well if he is unable to start or see any action in Thurles.

His attitude to the Division 1 final disappointment is just the same.

“I suppose it was very tough but it was just the way that we felt the game went, we failed and we didn’t perform and we didn’t turn up on the day.

“It was very frustrating to be in that situation in a final. All we can do is pull out a performance the next day and hopefully the rest will take care of itself.”

Performance aside, much has been made of the tactical difficulties Waterford presented Cork. Harnedy accepts Derek McGrath has a solid system but argues his team’s fate is in their own hands.

“If you are wise enough with the ball, no matter what system is in place, you are going to be cute enough. We have to be a lot cuter with the style Waterford play at the moment.”

Discovering some ruthlessness has been prescribed for this Cork team going back to the drawn 2013 All-Ireland final.

Harnedy insists they possess it. “If any team is going to be successful, you need a mean streak. You see Kilkenny over the last decade when any opportunity presented itself or a goal and if they need to do anything required they were always there to do it.

“You’ve seen the amount of times TJ Reid, (Henry) Shefflin kept going for the jugular regardless if they were seven points up, 15 points up, two points behind, a point up.

“Every team needs to adopt a mean streak like that, not only ourselves. I don’t think it’s totally missing from our game. I really feel we do have that.”

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