Last season the north Cork club claimed county, divisional and Munster honours in an historic campaign. But the journey was not destined to end there. Yesterday they headed in their hundreds to Walsh Park in Waterford and came away with a place in next month’s All-Ireland Club final at Croke Park against Kilkenny’s St. Patrick’s, Ballyragget.
It was easy in the end for Charleville but there was little to suggest such a margin in the first quarter hour as the Warwickshire men matched the favourites stride for stride in an exciting opening spell.
However once the winners eased into their free flowing brand of hurling the cross channel visitors were overwhelmed and outclassed. Corner forwards Andrew Cagney and James O’Brien were Charleville’s go to men in attack while centre back Colm O’Flynn produced a defensive masterclass.
Both sides started brightly with freetakers Kevin Codd and O’Brien twice exchanging points from placed balls. But then Charleville began to assert control as points from Cagney and Brendan Dennehy helped the Cork outfit into a six points interval lead (0-10 to 0-4).
It was close on one way traffic after the restart with a Mark Kavanagh goal in the 43rd minute breaking their opponents’ spirit as the game fizzled out.
Charleville coach John Brouder said: “That goal put us on our way and it completely knocked the last of the fight out of our opponents. We laid the victory foundations in the first half when playing into the wind, and so much of our second-half really was good to watch’’.
Looking forward to next month’s historic All-Ireland decider he warned: “We’ll need to get even more from the lads if we are to win the title, but we believe in our hearts that we are good enough to do so.
Scorers for Charleville: J. O’Brien (0-7, 0-3 frees); M. Kavanagh (1-1); A. Cagney (0-3); D. Murphy (0-3, 0-1 free); J. Casey, B. Dennehy (f), B. Casey (0-1) each.
Scorers for Fullen Gaels: K. Codd (0-5 frees); K. Hughes (0-1).
CHARLEVILLE: S. O’Connor; M. O’Flynn, C. Fitzgerald, A. Dennehy; B. McCarthy, C. O’Flynn, B. Dennehy; J. Casey, D. O’Flynn; D. Murphy, A. O’Connor, M. Gammell; A. Cagney, M. Kavanagh, J. O’Brien.
Subs: G. Kelleher for Casey (44); D. O’Sullivan for Gammell (49); F. O’Callaghan for Kavanagh (50); J. Foley for O’Connor (50); B. Casey for O’Brien (50).
FULLEN GAELS: J. O’Farrell (Tipperary); R. Wedel (Cork), D. Neylon (Galway), B. Griffith (Kilkenny); E. Hansberry (Galway), J. O’Shaughnessy (Cork), C. Maskey (Antrim); K. Codd (Wexford), A. Morrissey (Cork); D. Moore (Limerick), S. Carey (Tipperary), R. McEntee (Galway); P. McHugh (Tyrone), K. Hayes (Cork), C. Cafferkey (Wexford).
Subs: R. Connor (Offaly) for Moore (ht); C. Vaughan (Clare) for Hansberry (ht); D. Maskey (Antrim) for McHugh (57); P. Breen (Donegal) for Griffith (57); N. NcNamee (Galway) for McEntee (57).
Referee: David Hughes, Carlow.