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Thursday 17 October 2019

O'Flynn can hold his head high

Charleville goalkeeper Cian Collins is beaten for a goal by a second half penalty by Niall Burke of Oranmore-Maree during the AIB GAA Hurling All-Ireland Intermediate Championship Final match between Charleville and Oranmore-Maree at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Charleville goalkeeper Cian Collins is beaten for a goal by a second half penalty by Niall Burke of Oranmore-Maree during the AIB GAA Hurling All-Ireland Intermediate Championship Final match between Charleville and Oranmore-Maree at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Diarmuid Sheehan

Charleville captain Danny O'Flynn faced the media last Saturday in Croke Park after failing to lead his side to the promised land of All Ireland glory and, while he was far from pleased at how things went on the pitch, he was delighted at the way his side attacked the game, particularly in the first half.

"We had as good a first half in Croke Par as we could possibly have hoped for. Every ball we touched seemed to stick and we were creating chances and even had one or two extra goal chances and we felt very confident at half-time, there is no point in saying otherwise we rarely go in ahead and this was something that were thriving on - a big pitch in Croke Park, everything seemed to be going well, but in fairness Oranmore came out in the second half and put us under pressure.

"They still didn't seem to be able to bridge that four-point gap before the two dismissals put us under pressure - even at that though we still came back into the game and Darren Casey had a great chance at the end, but their goalie pulled off a great save that could have put us ahead - but all said it is hugely disappointing for us.

"The first time I came up here in 2011 it was an experience - we admired everything, this time we came up to win and we just didn't pull it off and that is the disappointing thing."

While many have felt that the young side from north Cork would have been tense entering the bowls of Croke Park for the biggest game of their lives O'Flynn was clear that there was more than a relaxed vibe on the bus entering headquarters.

"Pure excitement. The giddiness of the young lads was infectious. I was even feeding off it myself - we were incredibly relaxed.

"The laughing and joking was great, we were all admiring the bus driver's skills as he reversed around a tight corner.

"That was the kind of mood we were in - relaxed - we did a great warm-up - then we burst out onto the pitch and although we were a little ropey in the first few minutes we got going and it was as good as you could hope for, but look that was it."

Even after the pair of dismissals the Charleville commander-in-chief still felt his side were in with a chance and the fact that there was just a few minutes on the clock seemed to fill him with hope.

"We were still ahead after the sendings off and I thought there was a way more time left so when I looked up and saw 55 minutes I thought Jesus we are under pressure, but still here - then the penalty.

"I actually thought that Cian might have pulled off the save as he is very good at those, but in fairness Niall Burke is an excellent talent and he finished it well, but even at that we were still close enough, but look it wasn't to be.

"I don't think the final score line was a fair reflection on us as there really was only about one of two points between the sides."

The pain of losing his second All Ireland Final will obviously hurt O'Flynn for a while, but the big picture is what this man is all about and in the case of Charleville that is all about senior hurling.

"As I told people before this game senior hurling was our aim for the season and this would have been the icing on the cake - it would have been nice icing, but it wasn't to be.

"It will be hardest on the young fellows in the dressing room - I was 20, 21 the last time I was here when we lost the last final and I suppose in the innocence of youth you kind of say we might get another go at it, we will have more big days out, but it takes a long time to get back to days like this and it will hurt them - but they have 12, or 13 good years of adult hurling ahead of them and they will have many more big days, this will only make them stronger into the future I hope."

Corkman

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