Charleville see it out after another thriller with Courcey
County PIHC Final Replay - Charleville 0-15 Courcey Rovers 0-14
At the second time of asking Charleville saw off Courcey Rovers to secure a long awaited Premier Intermediate Hurling crown at Pairc Uí Rinn on Monday completing what has been an unbelievable resurrection from Junior to Senior status.
Less than a decade ago Charleville were beaten in the junior championship semi-final, but now they can prepare to rub shoulders with the likes of The Barrs, The Glen and more importantly north Cork neighbours Newtownshandrum, Ballyhea and Kanturk in what will be a season like no other for the men in red and white.
Last Monday afternoon Charleville again took to the field as hot favourites, but again they really did flatter to deceive for long periods.
Nerves can play tricks on the best sports people around and collectively Charleville seemed to be coming down with a near crippling dose as they began for the second week to rack up what looked like being a title losing high tally of wides, but unlike Mallow the previous year, Charleville managed to find something late on to take a title that many felt was theirs for the taking the minute they saw off Fr O'Neills earlier in the month.
Cometh the hour cometh the man, fine words, overused by many over the years, but in the case of Charleville last weekend none seem to be more apt. Cork star Darragh Fitzgibbon has been one of the best hurlers in Ireland over the last two years and last Monday in front of his friends, family, teammates and fans he drove Charleville on to reach the promised land for every intermediate hurling side in the county.
Fitzgibbon didn't have his most influential game until he took over the free taking duties in the second half and, while it may not have been a role he expected or for that matter relished, the teenager blew away the opposition with an unerring accuracy from distance in the most challenging of mental situations.
Captain Danny O'Flynn was another to impress however there is little point suggesting that any of the Charleville attackers had things their own way as Courcey Rovers really did put it up to the north Cork side and for long periods looked like the winners and deservedly so.
Tim Hawe did well as did the returning Kevin O'Connor with Andrew Cagney another to show his worth. Jack Buckley at centre back put in a heroic display bagging a wonderful score late on from distance.
For the vanquished side Tadgh O'Sullivan was again a thorn in the Charleville side with seven successful frees while keeper Cian Collins hit two late frees to bring this one down to the minimum.
Charleville looked much the brighter in the opening exchanges as they battled to put the previous weekend's disappointments to the back of their collective memories. The returning
O'Connor was key to most of the early dominance slotting over Charleville's' first from play after Mark Kavanagh had opened the scoring for the north Cork side.
Captain O'Flynn added to the Courceys' early pain with a classy score from play as Charleville looked to put this one to bed early. Another from Kavanagh and the game's first sizable gap emerged however Courceys' didn't make the trip just to make up the numbers with wing forward and regular talisman O'Sullivan slotting over a hat trick of frees to keep his side in touch.
Little to separate the sides heading for the dressing rooms 0-7 to 0-6 in favour of the eventual victors.
Charleville flew from the traps on the restart with a terrific Cagney point but aside from Hawe's point on 34 minutes there would be an 18 minute spell where the only scores came from Courceys.
As defeat looked like the most likely outcome for Charleville Fitzgibbon hit the ground running landing his four points on the bounce to put Charleville back in control - and when Jack Buckley hit his sweet strike from distance this one wasn't diverting from the N20.
Charleville: C Collins; D Butler, J Meade, F Cagney; A Dennehy, J Buckley 0-1, C Carroll; J O'Callaghan, K O'Connor 0-2; D Fitzgibbon 0-4f, J Doyle 0-1, M Kavanagh 0-2f; A Cagney 0-3, D O'Flynn (Capt) 0-1, T Hawe 0-1 Subs: D Casey for M Kavanagh (40)
Courcey Rovers: S Nyhan 0-2f; M Collins, B Collins, K Collins; S McCarthy, D Duggan, D Lordan (Capt); B Mulcahy, K Moloney 0-1; S Twomey 0-1, T O'Sullivan 0-7f, G Moloney; J McCarthy 0-1, F Lordan, J O'Neill 0-2 (1.sl) Subs: M O'Donovan for F Lordan (ht), C Daly for G Moloney (50)
Referee: Joe Larkin (Ballinora)