Cork star Darragh Fitzgibbon. Tommy Dickson/INPHO
Rebel Roar

Fitzgibbon points Charleville to All-Ireland intermediate club final despite late scare

The Cork side beat Kilkenny’s Graigue-Ballycallan by two points at Semple Stadium.

Charleville (Cork) 1-15

Graigue-Ballycallan (Kilkenny) 1-13

CORK’S CHARLEVILLE HAVE booked their All-Ireland club intermediate hurling championship final date after an two-point win over Kilkenny kingpins Graigue-Ballycallan at Semple Stadium.

Coached by Ben O’Connor and with Cork star Darragh Fitzgibbon one of their key players, that experience was key for Charleville on the day.

Fitzgibbon hit the ground running, scoring all of their five points (two frees) in the first 19 minutes to make it 0-5 to 0-3. He added a later point to bring his total tally to 0-6.

Kevin O’Connor stepped up to notch their next score, followed by Jack Doyle, and it was 0-7 to 0-5 with 22 minutes on the clock.

From there though, Declan Browne’s Graigue-Ballycallan — inspired by Conor Murphy both from frees and play — took full advantage until half time, hitting the next four points and keeping Charleville scoreless.

At the break it was 0-9 to 0-7 in favour of the Kilkenny side who boast inter-county players Eddie Brennan and Billy Ryan, and it was tit-for-tat on the restart until the Cork men rattled the net to make it 1-12 to 0-11.

Kevin O’Connor’s initial shot was saved, as was Fitzgibbon’s rebound but it was third time lucky for Andrew Cagney as Charleville finally made the breakthrough.

They kept the scoreboard ticking over and looked to be in control, but not without a late scare as Graigue-Ballycallan scored a goal of their own with two minutes left to put two between the sides. 

Charleville held on after that Brennan goal though and it finished 1-15 to 1-13. They now face either Galway’s Oranmore-Maree or Antrim’s St Galls in the All-Ireland club IHC final in Croke Park on Sunday, 10 February.

The second semi-final takes place tomorrow.

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