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Team-player Luke Meade continues to show his value to the Cork hurlers

May 30th, 2024 7:00 AM

By Southern Star Team

Team-player Luke Meade continues to show his value to the Cork hurlers Image
Luke Meade impressed for Cork in their recent Munster SHC rout of Tipperary.

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ON Monday, May 20th, the people of Newcestown and beyond turned out to pay final respects to Cornie O’Mahony.

The legend of the village’s publican spread far and wide, something reflected in the large attendance at the funeral on both Sunday and Monday. As the people stood queuing in the cemetery to sympathise with the O’Mahony family, a regular topic of conversation centred around another son of the parish.

The previous day, Luke Meade had put in a superb performance as a first-half substitute in Cork’s 18-point win over Tipperary in their last Munster SHC round-robin game. Having appeared as a late replacement in the defeats to Waterford and Clare, Meade had not featured at all in the win over Limerick.

Luke Meade is keeping Newcestown hurling on the inter-county map.


An injury that forced Brian Roche to cry off the list of subs prior to Thurles meant that Meade was next up when Ethan Twomey was forced off after a clash with Ronan Maher coming up to half-time and he played a major role in ensuring Cork’s progression to the All-Ireland series.

His inter-play for the third of Alan Connolly’s goals was the highlight but then nobody in Newcestown was surprised. They have seen him develop, using his skill to counteract a slightness in physique, and stretching twice a day as a teenager to avoid the injuries that seemed to be besetting his peers.

At club level, Meade has generally been placed at centre-back in recent times, excelling there as the club won the Co-op SuperStores Cork Senior A HC last year.

After a win over Cloyne in 2020, Newcestown’s then-manager Jim O’Sullivan outlined the logic behind that.

‘We were toying with this for a couple of years,’ he said.

‘Luke likes playing at centre-back, but it’s about trying to find other players to fill in. Competition is building up and it’s a luxury to have him there. He was marking Paudie O’Sullivan, who picks up great positions, but Luke is able to dictate the whole thing for us.’

At inter-county level, more often than not Meade finds himself at midfield. One of his predecessors in the Cork engine-room, Tom Kenny, knows that it can be a thankless station.

‘I used to always say that over the years,’ he says, ‘you could be midfield and you might get three or four touches of the ball, score a few points and everyone would say you had a great game.

‘Then, other days, you could be hooking and blocking, making runs, stopping the opposition, picking up loose balls here or there but you mightn’t have scored and people would say you weren’t in the game at all.

‘I almost felt myself coming off the field that I knew whether or not I had contributed to the pitch of the game. You’d measure your own performance by whether your opposing player in midfield did any damage.

‘You’re probably at an advantage in midfield in that, to an extent while you’re playing to a structure or a system – more so than now when I was playing – you have a bit of latitude to do what you want. You can try to make your man follow you rather than you having to follow them.

‘If you can get that upper hand early doors, it kind of lays the groundwork for the rest of the game.’

First involved in the Cork set-up in 2015 – just a year after helping Hamilton HS to a first Dr Harty Cup semi-final – Meade made his championship debut in 2017. He was just 20 then and so still has a lot of hurling left in him.

‘He does,’ Kenny says, ‘and I think we saw that against Tipperary.

‘While Ethan Twomey has been very impressive and he’s a very good player in terms of being in the right place at the right time, Luke has a very good ability to link play. We saw that to a great extent with Alan Connolly’s third goal.

‘He was unfortunate against Clare, he was just on and David Fitzgerald got the ball and had a run on him, Luke just wasn’t up to the pitch of the game.’

That his playing time may be rationed is a sign of the competition in Cork’s squad. However, Meade is a team-player – in Newcestown, he doesn’t let his county status absolve himself from being a good clubman and, as a teacher in Bishop Galvin Central School, he is helping the nurture the next red-and-gold generation in the Sciath na Scol.

Kenny expects him to have a role over the rest of the summer.

‘To be fair to him, over the last number of years since he broke on to the panel,’ he says, ‘he’s always contributed very well in terms of his play and being a good hurler and bringing his intelligence to it.

‘At the stage Cork are at now, they have a bigger panel. That was something Pat Ryan identified after last year, having more bodies for more positions.

‘It might be to Luke’s disadvantage if they go horses for courses down the home stretch of the season but I’d imagine he’d see game-time against Laois or Offaly and again in an All-Ireland quarter-final.’

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