Cork champions Charleville had too much pace and firepower for a depleted Lixnaw side in Saturday’s AIB Munster Club IHC semi-final.
Darragh Fitzgibbon, who collected an All-Star on Friday night, and Kevin O’Connor, dominated the midfield exchanges as their hosts sorely missed the injured John ‘Tweek’ Griffin.
Charleville boss Ben O’Connor heaped praise on young Fitzgibbon: “Daniel Flynn was out so we made Darragh captain and we had no fears of him going up and collecting his All-Star on Friday night. It was a great week for the club - winning a county on Monday, and Darragh picking up an All-Star on Friday night and then this result.”
He admitted that weather conditions upset their early momentum: “When we found out we were going to be playing against the wind, we decided we were going to play it short and it took us about ten minutes to settle down but after that we got going and the team played well.
“Then with the wind in the second half we obviously changed tack and decided to go long. We are delighted with the win coming back after a tough few days since we won the county on Monday. We had three or four days celebrations and we went for a bit of a gallop on Thursday night and we were just hoping that the boys would come up with a big game Saturday and they did.”
Lixnaw used the wind well in the opening ten minutes and they raced 0-5 to 0-1 clear with Shane Conway converting three frees and Colin Sheehy and John Buckley adding points from play. Fitzgibbon opened the Charleville account in the 9th minute but Lixnaw led 0-6 to 0-3 after the first quarter.
Then came the game’s only goal in the 16th minute: Fitzgibbon found Mark Kavanagh on the left wing and he played an inch-perfect cross field pass to Kevin O’Connor who fired to the net for a 1-3 to 0-6 lead.
Charleville were now in control playing a neat passing game against the elements and points followed from Fitzgibbon (2), Jack Doyle and Conor Buckley as they moved 1-7 to 0-7 but two late Shane Conway frees saw Charleville’s lead being cut to the minimum at the interval, 1-7 to 0-9.
Lixnaw only managed two frees in the second half, as Charleville assumed complete control with Darragh Fitzgibbon (2) and Mark Kavanagh (4) on target.
Lixnaw boss Fergus Fitzmaurice had no complaints: “We struggled with the wind, their goal was the killer blow but hands down they were better team, some superb players, well coached and we have no complaints”
Scorers for Charleville: D Fitzgibbon (0-6, 2 frees), M Kavanagh (0-5, 4 frees), K O’Connor (1-0), C Buckley and J Doyle (0-2 each), F Cagney and A Cagney (0- 1 each).
Scorers for Lixnaw: S Conway (0-8, 7 frees), J Buckley, B Brosnan and C Sheehy (0-1 each).
CHARLEVILLE: C Collins; D Butler, J Meade, F Cagney; A Dennehy, J Buckley, C Carroll; K O’Connor; D Fitzgibbon: J O Callaghan, J Doyle, M Kavanagh; A Cagney, C Buckley, T Hawe.
Subs: D Casey for T Hawe (47), P J Copps for C Buckley (54), J Kennedy for J Doyle (58), K Cagney for A Cagney (59), D Sheehan for D Fitzgibbon (60).
LIXNAW: M Stackpoole; M Quilter, S Power, D McCarthy ; G Stackpoole, D Shanahan, P Corridan; B McAuliffe , B Brosnan; S McElligott, R Heffernan, R Galvin; S Conway, J Buckley , C Sheehy.
Subs: J Wallace for S McElligott ( 22 blood), J McKenna for R Galvin ( h/t), S McElligott for C Sheehy ( 45), M Conway for B Brosnan ( 48), J Galvin for J Wallace ( 56), J Silles for D McCarthy ( 60+3).
Referee: R McGann (Clare)