YOU could read the story in the faces of the fans.
The Charleville legions trooped out of Páirc Uí Rinn yesterday unable to celebrate victory in the junior hurling county and they cursed the incompetence of the organisers for not being able to do so.
If ever there was an anti-climax to a county final this was it. Had Mayfield emerged winners, they would have been crowned county champions, but victors Charleville must still contest the north Cork divisional final next Sunday against Kildorrery in Buttevant.
If they lose that final, they will lose yesterday’s county title as well, which makes an absolute mockery of the competition.
This replay started at a blistering pace with Mayfield making the early running. Gavin Looney was dominant at centre back, Shane Kelly and Ciaran Brosnan took control at midfield and with Nicky Kelly and Ian Looney prominent in attack, the city champions deservedly led 0-3 to 0-1 after 10 minutes, although their third point by Kelly looked wide.
Charleville struggled for scores as a fiercely determined Mayfield defence gave nothing away and kept a tight grip on their forwards. The best the north Cork side could manage was a Mervyn Gammell point from a free — their only score for 23 minutes play.
In contrast, the Mayfield attack saw plenty possession and made maximum use of it to stretch their lead to 0-5 to 0-1 by the 20th minute. But poor finishing cost them while the Charleville attack was equally guilty, hitting eight wides in that opening half.
The north Cork side eventually moved to try and remedy their midfield problem by bringing on James Casey and with Alan O’Connor, now operating very efficiently out at centre forward, there was far more urgency in Charleville’s play.
O’Connor began to win a lot of high ball and as the Charleville backs finally got to grips with the Mayfield attackers, the city side began to struggle.
O’Connor plucked Colm O’Flynn’s long delivery out of the air before passing in low to Andrew Cagney and he raced away to find the Mayfield net to tie the game for the first time in the 27th minute.
However, Mayfield hit back and an Ian Looney point from a free gave them a 0-7 to 1-3 interval lead which they just about deserved, but the seven wides they hit would have been of some concern.
There was no let up in the pace of the game on the change over as the sides swapped points within two minutes, before Alan O’Connor again showed his prowess in the air to win the high ball. Despite being on his knees, he managed to get the pass away to Denis O’Sullivan whose long delivery fell kindly for James O’Sullivan and he finished it to the net.
Mayfield moved to try and curtail the influence of O’Connor by bringing full back Eoin Barry out, but it mattered little as the Charleville centre forward continued to win possession. James O’Brien, taking over the free-taking duties, landed three points from placed balls and Derry O’Flynn added another as the north Cork side struck a purple patch to lead 2-8 to 0-9 at the three-quarter stage.
Mayfield needed a goal to stay in the hunt and while they bombarded the Charleville defence in search of it, keeper Cyrion Curtin, full back Conor Fitzgerald and centre back Colm O’Flynn defended heroically to keep their net intact, and at the final whistle the north Cork side emerged worthy winners.
Scorers for Charleville: J O’Brien 1-5 (0-2fs, 1 65), A Cagney 1-1, M Gammell 0-3 (1f, 1 65), D O’Flynn 0-1.
Scorers for Mayfield: I Looney (2fs), N Kelly (1f) 0-3 each, T Lotty, S Kelly 0-2 each, M Barry 0-1.
CHARLEVILLE: C Curtin; M O’Flynn, C Fitzgerald, A Dennehy; G Kelleher, C O’Flynn, B Dennehy; D O’Flynn, B McCarthy; D Murphy, D O’Sullivan, M, Gammell; A Cagney, A, O’Connor, J O’Brien.
Subs: J Casey for McCarthy (20), B McCarthy for Dennehy (50), M Kavanagh for Gammell (55), P Gammell for O’Sullivan (60).
MAYFIELD: R O’Keeffe; S O’Donovan, E Barry, B Punch; G Lehane, G Looney, D Lucey; S Kelly, C Brosnan; I Looney, N Kelly, M Barry; P Duggan, T Lotty, K Punch.
Subs: C O’Sullivan for Duggan (45), P Hegarty for Barry (50).
Referee: D O’Leary (Watergrasshill).
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