Imokilly 2-17 Glen Rovers 1-16
East Cork divisional side Imokilly achieved the first three-in-a-row of Cork SHC titles since 1982 as they overcame the challenge of Glen Rovers at Páirc Uí Rinn on Sunday afternoon.
While Imokilly held the lead from the moment Declan Dalton's goaled free put them 1-4 to 1-2 ahead in the 13th minute and were 2-10 to 1-7 to the good at half-time, they didn’t have things all their own way in the second half and had to repel the Glen’s attempts at a fightback.
The Glen, champions in 2015 and 2016 before Imokilly won the next two titles, had the lead through Liam Coughlan and might even had a Conor Dorris goal in the opening moments, but Imokilly settled with points from Paudie O’Sullivan and Cork panellist Dalton, with county captain Séamus Harnedy making it 0-4 to 0-2 in the eight minute.
However, the Glen’s response was strong, as midfield partners Donal Cronin and Adam O’Donovan exchanged passes following a sideline cut and Cronin sent a sizzling shot to the top corner from a tight angle on the right.
Had the Glen been able to hold the lead for longer, then it might have posed serious questions of Imokilly but the very next score was a goal for the division, Dalton drilling a low free to the net after O’Sullivan had been fouled.
Shane Hegarty and Anthony Spillane were on target as Imokilly buttressed their lead and, with six minutes of injury time signalled after a stop-start first half, they added to their advantage.
Following Dalton’s pointed free from his own half on 34, a short Glen puckout went wrong and O’Sullivan pounced to set up Harnedy, who finished well to the net. Dalton, set up by the impressive John Cronin, made it 2-10 to 1-6, though Patrick Horgan had the final point of the half and then got the first three after the restart.
That made it a goal game again and the lead looked to have been cut to two by Conor Dorris only for the 'point’ to be ruled wide. Bill Cooper’s point at the other end stopped the Glen flow and Imokilly kept their composure from there, with Cooper, Harnedy and Dalton having points as they led by 2-16 to 1-14 with five minutes left.
Still the Glen weren’t done though and Horgan and Dean Brosnan left them within a score again, but they needed a Cathal Hickey save to deny Imokilly sub Shane O’Regan Óg a goal. The best chance for an equaliser came in the 63rd minute as Donal Cronin’s lofted ball goalwards caused uncertainty in the Imokilly defence and when it broke Robert Downey almost levelled but the ball trickled wide.
A Horgan goal attempt from a free was kept out and O’Regan Óg made sure of the Imokilly win with a late point.
Imokilly: Darragh O’Callaghan; Kieran Histon, Colm Barry, Ger Millerick; Shane Hegarty (0-01), Michael Russell, John Cronin; Bill Cooper (0-03), Mark O’Keeffe; Brian Lawton, Séamus Harnedy (1-02), Anthony Spillane (0-01); Paudie O’Sullivan (0-01), Declan Dalton (1-07, 1-03 frees, 0-01 65), William Leahy (0-01).
Subs: Shane O’Regan Óg (0-01) for O’Keeffe (53), Joe Stack (Castlemartyr) for Leahy (60).
Glen Rovers: Cathal Hickey; Calvin Healy, Stephen McDonnell, David Dooling; Dave Noonan (0-01), Brian Moylan, Robert Downey; Donal Cronin (1-00), Adam O’Donovan; Dean Brosnan (0-02), Conor Dorris (0-01), David Cunningham; Simon Kennefick, Patrick Horgan (0-11, 0-07 frees), Liam Coughlan (0-01).
Subs: Adam Lynch for Cunningham (52), David Busteed for Kennefick (57), Dave Tynan for Coughlan (60).
Referee: Nathan Wall (Ballincollig)