Charleville ‘in habit of winning’

The red-and-white colours on show in Charleville aren’t left over from Cork’s journey in the championship.

Charleville ‘in habit of winning’

By Michael Moynihan

The red-and-white colours on show in Charleville aren’t left over from Cork’s journey in the championship.

The local club, who play in the same colours as the county, face Courcey Rovers in tomorrow’s Premier IHC county final (Pairc Ui Chaoimh, 3.45pm). “There’s huge excitement here,” says club secretary, Christy Dennehy. “You can see the place is decked out with flags; the town is buzzing about the game. It’s a dream for older members of the club.

“We’ve had great support all year and we’re hoping for the same tomorrow.”

The north Cork town is reaping the rewards of diligent labour, he adds: “We’ve a lot of work done now, especially at underage level.

“The present intermediate team have about ten or 11 U21s who have come through that way, all together, and we’ve an amount of work done with those players, all the way up.

“They’ve been learning all the time, and in particular from Ben O’Connor, who, obviously, has huge experience at all levels of the game.”

O’Connor, Cork’s All-Ireland-winning hurling captain in 2004, has coached Charleville to the decider, but the experience isn’t confined to the man in the bainisteoir top. The team met top opposition last year.

“We ended up playing Kanturk twice, and losing, which was very disappointing, though we had a few lads who were out injured, at that stage, with broken bones in their hands.

“Kanturk weren’t bad at all last year, either — they showed that winning the All-Ireland final — so that was some consolation.”

Most casual hurling followers will know at least one face on the Charleville team, midfielder Darragh Fitzgibbon, who lit up the season with the Cork seniors. He’s not alone in wearing the county colours, Dennehy points out.

“Look, Darragh is the man everyone knows, and it’s important to the club to have someone like that. He puts the place on the map and everyone knows Charleville as a result.

“But we have a few others, as well, who’ve played for Cork. Danny O’Flynn, Darren Casey, and Alan Dennehy were on the Cork intermediates, while Jack O’Callaghan was a sub on the Cork minors. That’s all a help, obviously.” Some of the others on the intermediate panel aren’t too long out of U21 ranks, either.

“Two of the half-backs are only 23, 24, while two more are 27 or 28.

“It would be a great time to win the intermediate and go senior, because the bulk of the team is U21 and the rest are young, too. You’re not at the other stage, where the team is all getting old just as you get up a grade.

“It’s a great chance for us, given the age profile of the team.” First, though, there’s the matter of the final.

“Courcey’s are a tough side; they’re experienced, well-prepared. We played them in the league a few weeks ago and they beat us 1-22 to 0-18, so we know what we’re up against.

“Going back to 2001, sure, they beat us in the intermediate, as well, though, obviously, most of our team would hardly remember that.

“But it goes to show the tradition they have. It’s a two-horse race this weekend and we’re up against it.

“The way they came back against Valley Rovers, to win last weekend, will stand to them, too. They showed huge determination in their own semi-final.

“For us, the toughest game was probably against Fr O’Neill’s, though there’s nothing between ourselves, Fr O’Neill’s, and Fermoy.

“Personally, I thought Ballinhassig might be the team to beat this year, but Valley Rovers beat them. Then, Kilworth beat Mallow . . . I’d say of the sixteen teams in the grade, that ten, easily, would be capable of winning the championship.”

Only two can win it now, though. Though the title would be a huge feather in the cap for Charleville, their season rolls on after tomorrow’s game.

“The whole club is on a high, at the moment. We won the north Cork junior football championship for the first time in the history of the club, and, again, ten, eleven of the hurlers are on that team, as well.

“So, we’re in the habit of winning, at the moment. We’re in the semi-final of the U21 B (football), as well, against Midleton, so those U21s on the intermediate team are on that team as well, obviously.

“It’s a busy time.”

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.