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'I didn't know where I was going in my career' - Cork's late developer Seamus Harnedy

It’s taken a while for the St Ita’s clubman to make his mark but he’s now a pivotal player for Cork.

Seamus Harnedy was back with a bang for Cork last weekend.
Seamus Harnedy was back with a bang for Cork last weekend.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

CORK MAY HAVE lost an extra-time classic against Limerick in the 2011 Bord Gáis Energy Munster U21 hurling final but it was still enough to whet Seamus Harnedy’s appetite for more.

The St Ita’s clubman was an unused sub on the night but within two and a half years, he was donning a tuxedo and collecting a first Allstar award following a series of barnstorming displays for the Cork seniors in the 2013 All-Ireland championship.

A serious hamstring injury saw Harnedy miss out on Cork’s Munster semi-final defeat to Waterford last month but his importance to the team was evident against Wexford in last Saturday evening’s All-Ireland qualifier.

Operating in a two-man full-forward line with Conor Lehane, the pair ran riot and finished with 2-7 between them to dump the Slaneysiders out of the championship on their home patch.

Perhaps if Harnedy was available things might have been different against Waterford but better late than never as the Rebels prepare for tomorrow’s do-or-die qualifier with Clare at Semple Stadium.

Seamus Harnedy Seamus Harnedy will be a key player for Cork against Clare tomorrow. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Harnedy, 24, might be a relatively late developer but he’s been busy making up for lost time since making his championship debut against Clare in 2013.

In that Munster clash, Harnedy scored 0-3 and claimed the man-of-the-match award but it was his lack of success at underage level that fuelled his fire.

“At minor level I kind of grew a lot when I was 18. I probably wasn’t of the physique or build, I didn’t have the strength and conditioning background for the inter county scene when I was minor,” he explains. 

“At the U21 grade, I made more inroads, where I got on to the panel in my final year U21. 

“We got to the Munster final, that Limerick final. I was on the bench, Aidan Walsh got the eight points that day.

Source: hockeyhurlingshinty5/YouTube

“It was one of the most renowned U21 games of the last decade.

“I was an unused sub that night. They’re the kind of occasions that drive you on.

“It really kind of opened my eyes to what I had to do after that to get to that standard of a senior intercounty hurler.

“I’ll never forget after the final whistle that night in the Gaelic Grounds. It gave me a lot of motivation to drive on.”

If somebody had told Harnedy that night that he would become an Allstar in 2013, he would have sent for the men in white coats.

“I’d have told them they were daft. I first of all would have tried to maybe get on to the Cork intermediate set up and take it from there.

“It was a dream come true for me to play for my county. I didn’t totally rule it out (playing senior), I said I’d just chip away.

“Thank God Jimmy Barry (Murphy) gave me a call and it’s a call I’ll never forget. It’s great to be involved.”

Harnedy’s development was fast-tracked during his third-level days with University College Cork.

Seamus Harnedy and Conor Lehane celebrate after the game Seamus Harnedy and Conor Lehane celebrate Fitzgibbon Cup glory in 2013. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

At UCC, he won an All-Ireland Freshers medal before going on to claim two Fitzgibbon Cup titles in 2012 and 2013.

“I went in first year of college not really knowing where I was going in my career,” he remembers.

“In fairness, there was a few big characters there, you’d (former Tipp player) Eddie Enright, the late Paul O’Connor, the Kingstons, Ger Cunningham and Paddy Crowley.

“They were all pivotal characters in my career in UCC. They gave me a chance when I was performing in training, that’s all I wanted.

“Fitzgibbon is a serious standard these days. If you ask me it’s like an intercounty team versus an intercounty team.

“It really did give you exposure and put yourself in the shop window. I was very thankful for UCC in giving me the chance to get the call up from Cork.”

2013 championship scoring record…

v Clare 0-3

v Limerick 0-3

v Kilkenny 0-1

v Dublin 0-2

v Clare (draw) 0-2

v Clare (replay) 1-2

Total – 1-13

2014 championship scoring record…

v Waterford 0-1

v Waterford (replay) 0-3

v Clare 0-0

v Limerick 1-2

v Tipperary 0-1

Total – 1-7

2015 championship scoring record…

v Wexford 1-1

TBC

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