BY DENIS HURLEY
WE live in what might be termed a showreel age.
In the wake of every big championship game, the usual clickbait suspects invite us to check the latest Joe Canning reverse handpass, David Clifford point from an acute angle, Eoghan Murphy save or Philly McMahon gravity-defying interception before a solo run to set up a score.
It’s all fleeting, look and marvel for a few seconds and then forget, until the next amazing moment coming soon after.
What we’re not shown are videos of players of players emptying themselves to cover as much of the pitch as they can, or footage of the guys who use the ball simply but effectively, almost every time, whether that’s a five-yard pass or a sensible point attempt.
It is into the latter category that Newcestown’s and Cork’s Luke Meade falls, but that doesn’t mean that his contributions go unnoticed by those that matter, including Rebels captain Séamus Harnedy.
‘In fairness to Luke, he doesn’t receive the credit he deserves for his selfless industry, and the tracking he does over the course of a game is exemplary,’ he said after the Munster final win over Clare, in which Meade scored a goal.
‘He gets through an amount of unseen work, but he got the reward for that with his goal today.
‘He just turned up in the right place to take a pass, and his finishing of the opportunity was top-class.’
It is often a thankless task to be the greyhound of the full-forward line, with no fixed abode and a duty to always be where he is needed. Meade may not yet be the perfect practitioner of that art but his all-round hurling quality means that he is an ideal candidate to fill the role.
Having coming in as part of the new intake which drove Cork to a Munster title last year, he has built on the progress in the current campaign.
Second-season syndrome affects almost everybody and he was slow to get to grips with things as the new format got underway.
Against Clare in the opening game in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, he made way for Shane Kingston after 43 minutes and Brian Lawton replaced him after 54 against Tipperary in Thurles.
He was named as a substitute for the game with Limerick but was introduced for Dean Brosnan at half-time and since then he has only missed 15 minutes of action, withdrawn late against Waterford and against Clare in the final having emptied the tank, with Mike Cahalane replacing him each time.
A goal and a point in the latter game as Cork mounted an impressive fightback meant that his input received wider praise, but Cork coach John Meyler is never one to accommodate passengers and Meade had already received his imprimatur.
Sunday in Croke Park will represent a new challenge again, though it is a newer challenge for Limerick than it is for Cork as they seek the exorcise the memories of last year’s disappointment against Waterford.
For Meade, it is an opportunity to continue his upward curve and few would back against him.