CHARLEVILLE PRODUCED A stirring 13-point second-half turnaround to dramatically secure a historic Munster Intermediate Club Hurling title in the Gaelic Grounds this afternoon.
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Ten points in arrears by half-time against Clare champions Feakle, the North Cork side still trailed by five entering the final 10 minutes.
However, with an eight-point second-half haul from newly crowned All-Star Darragh Fitzgibbon, Charleville persisted and would get back on level terms with a Jack Doyle rebound goal in the 59th minute before Fitzgibbon nudged them ahead for the first time in 55 minutes.
So while an Oisin Donnellan 62nd-minute equaliser appeared to be sufficient to force extra-time, a momentum-fuelled Charleville would put the result beyond doubt with virtually the last puck of the game after Conor Buckley’s blocked shot fell perfectly for substitute Darren Casey to scramble the ball over the line.
It was cruel on Feakle who at least deserved an additional 20 minutes of action but while the East Clare side’s challenge tired, Charleville’s superior fitness seemed to shine through when needed most to complete a remarkable reversal of fortune.
It was all so different in the opening half as wind-assisted Feakle, inspired by Oisin Donnellan, Shane McGrath, Con Smyth and Eoin Tuohy hit 1-7 without reply in a 12-minute blitz to move 1-10 to 0-03 clear by the 20th minute.
Raymond Bane grabbed the goal to spark Feakle into life, with Donnellan (0-4) and McGrath (0-6) combining for 10 first=half points as they soared 1-13 to 0-6 clear by the break.
Half-time couldn’t come soon enough for Charleville who also reshuffled their pack with the introduction of captain Daniel O’Flynn and Darren Casey before the recess. However, with Fitzgibbon leading the way, their running game gathered pace as they halved the deficit by the 38th minute.
That five-point gap would remain until the final quarter though as on five occasions, Feakle were able to match their opponent’s efforts.
However, the narrative of the tie would irrevocably alter in the 59th minute as Jack Doyle was perfectly placed to fire home a rebound after Andrew Cagney’s initial shot had been excellently turned away by goalkeeper Eibhear Quilligan at 1-19 to 1-19.
From the puck-out, Darragh Fitzgibbon lofted over a point from 60 metres that was eventually cancelled out by Oisin Donnellan.
But with extra-time looming, Darren Casey would provide the decisive late intervention as Charleville added a Munster Intermediate crown to the Junior version garnered seven years previously.
Scorers for Charleville: Darragh Fitzgibbon 0-9 (3f, 1’65); Jack Doyle, Darren Casey 1-1 each; Andrew Cagney 0-3; Mark Kavanagh (1f), Kevin O’Connor 0-2 each; Daniel O’Flynn, Conor Buckley 0-1 each
Scorers for Feakle: Shane McGrath 0-9 (7f); Oisin Donnellan 0-6; Raymond Bane 1-0; Gary Guilfoyle 0-3; Steven Conway, Martin Daly 0-1 each
1. Cian Collins
2. Darren Butler
3. Jack Meade
4. Finbar Cagney
5. Alan Dennehy
6. Jack Buckley
7. Cathal Carroll
8. Jack O’Callaghan
9. Kevin O’Connor
10. Darragh Fitzgibbon
11. Jack Doyle
12. Mark Kavanagh
14. Conor Buckley
13. Andrew Cagney
15. Tim Hawe
17. Daniel O’Flynn for Hawe (26)
18. Darren Casey for Kavanagh (26)
1. Eibhear Quilligan
2. Justin Nelson
3. Evan McMahon (capt)
4. James Noonan
5. Killian Bane
6. Eoin Tuohy
7. Eric Conway
8. Shane McGrath
9. Con Smyth
12. Oisin Donnellan
11. Enda Noonan
10. Steven Conway
15. Gary Guilfoyle
14. Martin Daly
13. Raymond Bane
17. Ger Hanrahan for Conway (50)
20. Austin McMahon for E. Noonan (55)
19. Colm Naughton for R. Bane (60)
Referee: Kevin Jordan (Tipperary)
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