Powerful Charleville bridge 73-year gap

CHARLEVILLE CBS produced a marvellous display at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick yesterday to reach the Dr Harty Cup final for the first time since 1938.

Hurling with confidence across the field, they brushed aside a weak challenge from the Templemore side and there was never a hint of defeat after Darren Sheehy put them ahead with a point in the opening minute.

Their full back line of Shane Butler, John Madigan and John Walsh kept a very tight rein on the Templemore forwards, for whom only Liam McGrath and Oisin Jordan threatened.

Charleville coach Kevin Butler, who ironically plays his hurling with Drom and Inch, beamed at the final whistle.

“I didn’t see such a comprehensive victory coming,” he said. “All credit to the lads, they have worked extremely hard to get to the final and while we are up against a very serious outfit in Ardscioil Ris, we won’t be found wanting. We were on the easier side of the draw but all the games had to be won.

“I knew early in the season we had a very good team and they showed (here) just how good they are.

“There are three weeks to the final, and we’ll put in the work to be ready. In a two-horse race anything can happen.”

This match lacked any real atmosphere or sparkle, was riddled with frees from start to finish, and it will be hard to see champions Ardscoil Ris slipping up in the final.

Having won the round robin game between the schools, Our Lady’s were confident of repeating that victory over their North Cork opponents, but on the day they ran up against a confident Charleville side that led from start to finish.

Sheehy’s point in the first minute put Charleville on their way and with Pa O’Callaghan sparkling at corner forward and later on out in the centre, they were full value for their 0-5 to 0-2 lead by the 15th minute.

Only the accuracy of Liam McGrath kept Our Lady’s from being completely over run, and when the classy O’Callaghan brushed his way past a couple of defenders before drilling to the net, Charleville were 1-8 to 0-6 clear as the referee blew for the interval.

Our Lady’s threatened a comeback with three points in a row, two by McGrath within minutes of the restart. But this was always going to be Charleville's day and after they tacked on three in a row of their own, they effectively killed off the Templemore challenge with a superb second goal from James O'Brien.

Mark Kavanagh added a third a minute later when he availed of hesitancy on the part of the Templemore 'keeper to claim John Morrissey's long delivery and put his side into an unassailable 3-12 to 0-9 lead at the three quarter stage.

Our Lady’s goaled late in the game when Liam McGrath converted a penalty for a foul on himself, but a confident Charleville outfit held all the aces to set up an intriguing final against the defending champions.

Scorers for Charleville: P O’Callaghan 0-9 (0-6 frees); J O’Brien 2-2; M Kavanagh 1-0; T Rea 0-2; D Sheehy, M O’Loughlin, J Morrissey, G Kelleher 0-1 each.

Scorers for Our Lady’s: L McGrath 1-6 (1-4 frees, 0-1 65); O Jordan, S Hassett, J McGrath 0-1 each.

CHARLEVILLE CBS: TJ Garvey; S Butler, J Madigan, J Walsh; C Twomey, D Reidy, A Dennehy; D Sheehy, M O’Loughlin; T Rea, M Kavanagh, J Morrissey; D Copps, J O’Brien, P O’Callaghan.

Subs: G Kelleher for Copps (50); B Morrissey for Rea (55); J McCarthy for O’Callaghan (50); D McCarthy for J Walsh (50).

OUR LADY’S: SP Guerins; J Nyland, K Kennedy, T. Meade; L Mullally, Y Hamill, J Moloney; C O’Riordan, L Treacy; L McGrath, S Hassett, J McGrath; M Kelly, J Bergin, O Jordan.

Subs: B. Kennedy for Mullally (45); P. Meade for Kennedy (50); D. Donnelly for O’Riordan (50).

Referee: M. O’Connor (Limerick).

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