Cork star, Conor Lehane has insisted that his club side, Midleton won’t be taking anything for granted when they meet Ballygunner of Waterford in the Munster quarter-final on Sunday.
Midleton fell to a disappointing 10-point loss to Imokilly in the Cork SHC final earlier this month but they still have a chance to redeem themselves as they qualified for the provincial championship. Though victory in Cork is always the main goal, Lehane insists that they are grateful for the opportunity to remain in contention.
“The first few days after the final, you wouldn’t even be thinking about it. You’d be in no form to even talk about it.”
“But we regrouped and kind of said, look, we’re there anyway, that’s the situation we’re in and we’re still representing Cork and it’s great to be still hurling at this time of the year, we haven’t done that in a long time. So it wasn’t long before we started getting up for it again when we realised the position we were in and we decided not to take it for granted.”
“We’re going over there to play the same way we’ve been playing all year for our club so that shouldn’t change. We’re still representing our club and the county so you’re not going to go out there and give it a half-assed attempt.”
A stern test faces his team in the form of Waterford champions, Ballygunner but Lehane maintains that Midleton have more in them than what they showed in that 4-19 to 1-18 defeat to Imokilly.
“I don’t think we performed to what we can. I think there were other times when we haven’t performed as well in other games but because of the calibre of players they have, other teams might have been a bit more forgiving in a way so that’s why they took advantage.”
“Obviously, they’ve won five in a row in Waterford and they’re such a strong side. Even outside of their county players they’re a very strong side. They’re itching for the Munster, I’d say. They’ve been involved in the Munster Championship the last four years in a row so they’ll be gunning for it.”
“That’s none of our concern, that’s their own thing.”
This is Midleton’s first time in the provincial championship since 2013 when they lost out to Sixmilebridge in the quarter-finals. The 26-year-old believes that the experience of five years ago will stand to the team who are older and wiser.
“The last time we won and went on we had the attitude that we were delighted with the county and we’d just go out and see what would happen and we got beaten.”
“A lot of us were still involved in the U-21 with Midleton at the time, we were in the County Final in that as well. In a way we were a lot younger then so we didn’t take much notice. We were only 20, 21, so we were thinking we’re surely going to get back here at some stage in the future.”
“It’s taken so long and as you get older you get more sense.”
Ballygunner against Midleton will throw in at 1.30pm on Sunday, October 28 in Walsh Park, Waterford.
AIB today proudly launched the 28th season of their sponsorship of the GAA and Camogie Club Championships alongside Conor Lehane, Midleton and Cork hurler; Rory Beggan, Scotstown and Monaghan goalkeeper; Faye Mc Carthy, Saint Judes and Dublin Camogie goalkeeper; Diarmuid O’Connor, Ballintubber and Mayo footballer. The four athletes officially marked the 2018/19 AIB Club GAA and Camogie Championship season. They now step back onto the pitch with their clubs and prepare for Provincial and All-Ireland glory as the battle of #TheToughest continues.