By Therese O’Callaghan
After a terrific encounter, Midleton claimed their second consecutive Rebel Óg Premier 1 MHC title at Páirc Uí Rinn tonight, while also gaining revenge for the 2017 decider which went the way of Glen Rovers.
This game really came alive in the second half, after Midleton had edged the first 30 minutes 0-8 to 0-7. The titleholders started to surge clear on 36 minutes when Paul Connaughton rounded his marker and finished a fabulous goal to the net.
Four minutes later, Midleton had a second goal when midfielder Sam Quirke supplied the finish. In between, custodian Brion Saunderson made a vital save which left his side leading 2-11 to 0-11 after 40 minutes.
Evan Murphy kept the Glen in the hunt with his impressive free-taking and when substitute Eoin O’Leary found the net for Glen Rovers, we were back to a one-point match, 1-14 to 2-12, and the fourth quarter to play.
Midleton then opened up a four-point lead when Aaron Mulcahy — who finished with a haul of 1-10 — scored from the penalty spot after substitute Conor Fitzgerald was brought down.
Even though Cian Long saved his first shot, referee Ciarán O’Regan awarded the penalty be retaken as Long was deemed to have come off his line. Despite Glen Rovers best effort, they couldn’t get any closer.
In the first half, free-takers Mulcahy and Murphy traded early points before Lee Quilligan and Murphy edged Glen Rovers three points to one ahead. A second Quilligan point increased their lead, 0-5 to 0-2, after quarter of an hour.
Midleton fought back, mainly through the accuracy of Mulcahy and Connaughton. When Tim O’Sullivan pointed approaching half- time, the sides were level for the second time, seven points apiece.
But Mulcahy had the final say of the half converting a 65 for Midleton to take a narrow lead to the dressing-room. The victory crowns a good weekend for Midleton who also won the U14 championship on Saturday.
Scorers for Midleton: A Mulcahy (1-10, 1-0 pen, 0-7 frees, 0-1 65s), P Connaughton and S Quirke (1-1 each), J Fitzgerald, T O’Sullivan and D McCarthy (0-1 each).
Scorers for Glen Rovers: E Murphy (0-10 frees), E O’Leary (1-1), L Quilligan (0-3), D Murphy (0-2), L Horgan and D Milner (0-1 each).
B Saunderson; C Smyth, D Scanlan, P Kane; L Hennessy, C Murphy (Capt), C Walsh; S Quirke, G Reddy; J Fitzgerald, A Mulcahy, A Quirke; T O’Sullivan, C Crowley, P Connaughton.
Subs: C Fitzgerald for G Reddy (38), D McCarthy for L Hennessy (56).
C Long; S Corcoran, G Marshall, E Downey; J O’Driscoll, A Lordan, G Mulcahy; C O’Sullivan, L Horgan; R Long, L Quilligan, D Murphy; D Milner (Capt), E Murphy, N Goulding.
Subs: E O’Leary for J O’Driscoll (half-time), D Long for R Long (54).
Referee: Ciarán O’Regan (Ballyhea).