Massive second half revival sees Charleville defeat  Fr. O’Neill’s in Senior (A) HC final


Fr O’Neill’s………………………………………………………………4-13
The meeting of Charleville and Fr O’Neill’s in the Co Senior (A) HC final certainly lived up to expectations when they clashed at Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Sunday, with the Rathluirc side emerging victors by the narrowest of margins.
Following a thrilling contest the wind certainly had a major bearing on the final outcome. The East Cork side played with the aid of the strong wind in the first half and were quick to take control. Early points by Liam O’Driscoll (2) Billy Dunne, Kevin O’Sullivan and Declan Dalton moved them 0-5 to the good by the 6th minute. Two minutes later Fr O’Neill’s struck for the games opening goal when Declan Dalton drilled an unstoppable penalty to the Charleville net that raced them 1-5 to no score in front. At this stage Charleville with limited possession looked in big trouble. They were also forced to plan ahead without key player Jack Doyle who was forced off due to injury. Darragh Fitzgibbon got the North Cork outfit’s account up and running with a free in the 10th minute. Mark Kavanagh had their second point six minutes later after Jack Meade, Jack Doyle and Andrew Cagney linked up very well. However at this stage Fr O’Neill’s were still in the driving seat with Mark O’Keeffe and Kevin O’Sullivan winning most of the breaks around the middle of the field. Up front Liam O’Driscoll, Declan Dalton and Rob Cullinane reeled off points that stretched their advantage to 1-8 to 0-3. In the 26th minute they were denied a certain goal when the Charleville keeper Cian Collins was forced to make a splendid save from Kevin O’Sullivan at the expense of a ‘65 that Declan Dalton pointed as they moved six clear. Despite all their dominance they were finding it difficult to increase their lead any further with Charleville certainly finding their feet in the closing moments of this half. In the 29th minute Andrew Cagney had a point. From the resultant puckout by Colin Sloane he picked out Rob Cullinane on the ‘40 who in turn set up Declan Dalton for a fine point. In injury time Fitzgibbon and Dalton swopped a point as Fr O’Neill’s were fully deserving of their 1-11 to 0-5 lead at the interval.
On the changeover Charleville with the aid of the wind needed a big start to have any chance of getting back into the contest. The North Cork side dominated matters from the throw in. Their half back line trio of Alan Dennehy, Jack Buckley and Finbarr Cagney figured strongly as they curtailed the threat going into the Fr O’Neill’s full forward line. In attack ‘man of the match’ Danny Flynn who moved to centre forward in this half turned in a marvellous display along with Darragh Fitzgibbon, Jack Callaghan and Andrew Cagney while second half substitutes Tim Hawe and James O’Brien also played their part when introduced. Darragh Fitzgibbon and Declan Dalton traded an early point before the winners struck a purple patch. In the 34th minute Jack Buckley set up Danny Flynn who pointed from long range with Flynn sending over another point from distance a minute later after receiving a great pass from Jack Callaghan 1-12 to 0-8. Two minutes later they were right back in the tie when a delivery by Darragh Fitzgibbon found its way to the Fr O’Neill’s net. The momentum was now with Charleville and rapid points by Danny Flynn closed the margin to 1-12 to 1-10 by the 39th minute. In their next attack a delivery into Andrew Cagney saw him turn his marker and his goal scoring opportunity from a tight angle went over the bar for a point. Just when Charleville looked like getting back on parity Fr O’Neill’s with limited possession so far in this half broke down the field with Liam O’Driscoll and Paudie McMahon combining very well to set up Billy Dunne who netted to restore a four point cushion 2-12 to 1-11. Back came a gallant Charleville outfit and three points on the spin by Darragh Fitzgibbon closed the margin to the minimum by the 43rd minute 2-12 to 1-14. Fr O’Neill’s broke down the field once again with Jason Hankard finishing their third goal to the net from close range after Billy Dunne’s effort was saved on the line by the Charleville keeper Cian Collins that left it at 3-12 to 1-14 at the water break. Charleville showed great heart, determination and will to win in the last quarter as they outplayed their opponents. Some well taken points by James O’Brien (2) Tim Hawe and Darragh Fitzgibbon eventually saw them peg back Fr O’Neill’s lead to force parity at 3-12 to 1-18 by the 53rd minute. In a gripping finish both teams battled hard for supremacy. Charleville edged in front for the first time in the game soon after when Gavin Kelleher split the posts with a point from out near the sideline. The lead was short lived with Michael Millerick setting up Declan Dalton for a point to level matters at 1-19 to 3-13. With extra time a possibility Charleville hit the front again when a huge puckout by Cian Collins set up Darragh Fitzgibbon for a great point. Fr O’Neill’s went all out for the equalising score but it was Charleville that intercepted an O’Neill’s attack in the 59th minute with Danny Flynn on hand to make it a two-point game when he pointed. Further pressure saw Andrew Cagney and Tim Hawe add minors that moved them four clear in injury time 1-23 to 3-13. Fr O’Neill’s refused to yield. Billy Dunne had their fourth goal deep in injury time but time was not on their side with Charleville holding on for a memorable victory. This was the second time in less than 11 months that this Charleville side pulled off a massive fightback in the second half to emerge victors the last one being the Munster IHC final against Feakle in Limerick last December.
Scorers for Charleville: Darragh Fitzgibbon 1-8 (0-4f) Daniel O’Flynn 0-6, Andrew Cagney 0-3, James O’Brien 0-2, Tim Hawe 0-2, Mark Kavanagh 0-1, Gavin Kelleher 0-1.
Fr O’Neill’s: Declan Dalton 1-7 (1-0 pen, 0-2 ‘65’s, 0-1f) Billy Dunne
2-1, Jason Hankard 1-0, Liam O’Driscoll 0-3, Kevin O’Sullivan 0-1, Rob Cullinane 0-1.
Charleville: Cian Collins, Darren Butler, Jack Meade, Michael Flynn, Alan Dennehy, Jack Buckley, Finbarr Cagney, Jack Callaghan, Danny Flynn, Mark Kavanagh, Darragh Fitzgibbon, Jack Doyle, Darren Casey, Gavin Kelleher, Andrew Cagney, Subs Cathal O’Carroll for Jack Doyle (inj), James O’Brien for Darren Casey, Jack Barry for Darren Butler, Tim Hawe for Mark Kavanagh, Conor Buckley for Jack Callaghan,
Fr O’Neill’s: Colin Sloane, Michael Millerick, Sean O’Connor, Eoin Motherway, John Barry, Mark O’Keeffe, Tomas Millerick, Kevin O’Sullivan, Joe Millerick, Rob Cullinane, Paudie McMahon, Jason Hankard, Liam O’Driscoll, Declan Dalton, Billy Dunne, Subs Podge Butler for Joe Millerick, Eoin Conway for Kevin O’Sullivan, John Millerick for Tomas Millerick,
Referee: Colm Lyons (Nemo Rangers)