Oranmore-Maree deny Charleville with superb second-half

Charleville (Cork) 1-15 Oranmore-Maree (Galway) 2-18

Galway's Oranmore-Maree produced a sensational second-half effort against a Charleville side that finished with 13 men to claim a first-ever All-Ireland intermediate hurling title for their county.

Trailing by half-a-dozen points at the break, Gearoid McInerney's side won by that same margin again against a Charleville outfit that lost Jack Doyle and Cathal Carroll to straight red cards for off-the-ball incidents in the 40th and 55th minutes.

Galway star Niall Burke was the spearhead for the winners, shooting 1-11 from open play, frees, a '65' and a penalty. The majority of his haul came after the interval when the Cork side found themselves powerless to hold back the rising tide.

Even enough through the first quarter, Charleville's work rate and the input of their own star man Darragh Fitzgibbon ensured it was they who made the initial inroads on the field and on the scoreboard where the lead leaked out to seven points just before the half-time pause.

The Cork side's harrying of Oranmore-Maree happened everywhere and anywhere, starting in the opposition back lines. Making the most of it all was Fitzgibbon who roved at will and claimed their first half-dozen scores and set up the next two.

Oranmore-Maree didn't designate a specific marker to the 2018 All Star who drifted far and wide to find space and to take responsibility for dead balls. He could actually have done greater damage, missing two pots from play in the opening 30 that he would have expected to convert.

If the extent of his importance to his side was a tad worrying at that point then it was soon laid bare as unfounded. The first goal arrived on 28 minutes and Fitzgibbon spent the entire passage of play watching from afar alongside his marker at the time Liam Keane.

What he witnessed was sublime with a cleverly constructed move ending with a low ball into full-forward Daniel O'Flynn who fed Andrew Cagney and the latter took his time to engineer enough space to find the net with a confident finish.

Conor Buckley and Kevin O'Connor tacked on a pair of points to extend the hurt before Andrew Burke replied with the last score of a half that was beginning to take on a more fluid bent as time wore on and the sides found their strides.

Oranmore-Maree kept that fluidity alive through the break, claiming six of the next eight points and profiting further from Doyle's decision to poke Sean Bannon in the ribs during a spot of handbags. Carroll would follow him to the line for an identical offence 15 minutes later.

The deficit was reduced by a further four points between those two red cards and parity arrived on 57 minutes before Charleville full-back Jack Meade brought Sean McInerney down for a penalty that was dispatched to the net by Niall Burke.

Charleville roused themselves briefly with the next two points but a pair of white flags and a goal from the brilliant Burke closed it out for the Galway men and brought to an end a run of six consecutive losses in this decider for clubs from the county.

Scorers for Charleville: D Fitzgibbon (0-10, 7 frees, 1 '65'); A Cagney (1-1); K O'Connor, J Doyle, D O'Flynn and C Buckley (all 0-1).

Scorers for Oranmore-Maree: N Burke (1-11, 6 frees, 1 '65', 1-0 penalty); S McInerney (1-2); A Burke (0-2); G McInerney, P Keane and E Burke (all 0-1);

Charleville: C Collins; D Butler, J Meade, F Cagney; A Dennehy, J Buckley, C Carroll; J O'Callaghan, K O'Connor; D Casey, D Fitzgibbon, J Doyle; C Buckley, D O'Flynn, A Cagney. Subs: T Hawe for O'Connor (55).

Oranmore-Maree: R McInerney; S Bannon, S Geoghegan, A Bannon; M Hannify, G McInerney, L Keane; N Geoghegan, R Maher; M Quinn, A Burke, N Burke; R Malone, P Keane, S McInerney. Subs: E Burke for Quinn (44); N Qualter for L Keane (50); S Dunne for N Geoghegan (58).

Referee: C Ciunning (Antrim).

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