Séamus Harnedy: Imokilly spirit forged in tightest battles

Séamus Harnedy and his Imokilly teammates had just seen off UCC in their Cork SHC semi-final when they sat down to find out their final opponents.

Séamus Harnedy: Imokilly spirit forged in tightest battles

By Michael Moynihan

Séamus Harnedy and his Imokilly teammates had just seen off UCC in their Cork SHC semi-final when they sat down to find out their final opponents.

Unlike the divisional side’s comfortable win, however, Midleton had to fight to the bitter end to see off Blackrock in the other semi-final.

“The game they had against Blackrock,” says Harnedy, “That kind of contest will always stand to you as long as you can get through it. Those tough, tight games always build a bond in a team, it creates a real unity among players.

“Against Newcestown in the quarter-final we had that kind of tough, close game ourselves. In the last five or six minutes they were coming at us in droves, and that kind of challenge builds character in a team.

“Last year, we had a lot of those kinds of games as well, against Erin’s Own and Sars — a lot of the character in the squad was built in those games last year, we learned a lot from them.

“But we know well that coming up against Midleton, you’re coming up against one of the proudest clubs in Munster, let alone Cork, and it’s going to be a huge battle. We’re looking forward to it, though.”

How much of a help is last year’s title-winning campaign, then?

“Fergal (Condon, manager) has gotten to know the bulk of the squad over the last three or four years, so we’ve been building year-by-year with a lot of familiar faces in place.

“The tough games we had last year and this year will stand to us — relationships are formed, and lads are very friendly. We know each other anyway from underage squads, but Fergal has built a bond, and in Derek Barrett and Jimmy Smiddy (selectors) we have lads who were involved before, in 1997 and 1998.

“They’re what Imokilly is all about and they talk about how much it meant to them to get their hands on the Seán Óg Murphy Cup for the first time. I think the team is reaping the rewards of that focus.”

They showed that focus in the semi-final, but Harnedy is too experienced to take Midleton for granted.

“Finals take on a life of their own, they’re generally tight, as we saw ourselves last year against Blackrock.

“Midleton can hurt you all over the field and while we were happy with how we executed against UCC, we know we’ll have to match that, at least against Midleton to have any chance.

“Our focus can only be on how we prepare, how we set up. Midleton will be the same. Whatever happens on the day, you have to adapt to the different scenarios that come up.”

The St Ita’s star is keen on a repeat of 2017: “Getting my hands on the Seán Óg Murphy Cup last year was a very proud moment last year — for me, for my family, for the club.

“I’ll treasure it for the rest of my life and it’d be unbelievable to get it again, but it’s going to be 60,65 minutes of a huge battle first of all.”

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