DARRAGH Fitzgibbon hailed Charleville's Co-Op Superstores Senior A Hurling Championship success as the “best win we've ever had as a group”.
Down 1-5 to no score against Fr O'Neill's and hurling into the gale-force wind at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, they didn't score until Fitzgibbon's first point in the 13th minute. Even at the break, they trailed 1-11 to 0-5, Declan Dalton burying a penalty, before taking over completely in the second half.
Even then, goals from Billy Dunne and Jason Hankward kept O'Neill's in front, until the 55th minute when a Gavin Kelleher point from a tight angle gave Charleville the lead for the first time. Eventually, it ended 1-23 to 4-13, Dunne smashing in his second goal in the dying minutes.
“Wd did something like this before in the Munster championship against Feakle but this was even better because of the circumstances, a county final, against a very, very good team. It's the best win we've ever had as a group.”
Fitzgibbon hit 1-8, 0-5 from play and a goal when the wind deceived the keeper, but the official Man of the Match award went to Danny O'Flynn. The veteran sniped over 0-6 from play, four in a five-minute burst after half-time when he was moved from midfield to centre-forward. Match-winning stuff.
“When I was a young fella, Danny was one of the players I looked up to. He's part of the group that took Charleville all the way up from junior. I was only joking the other day to the lads that Danny should score more..!”
Centre-back Jack Buckley had a powerful game, while Andrew Cagney nabbed 0-3 and subs Tim Hawe and James O'Brien hit two points apiece off the bench, with Hawe also fouled for a crucial free.
“It's been an incredible few years really. If you look at it ourselves, Fr O'Neill's and Kanturk have been the strongest teams outside of senior and it turned out that way in this championship.
“I'm looking forward to getting back playing with Cork now but I've really enjoyed the last few months. This is a special one.”
Charleville were senior last year but dropped from the top-tier when the championship format was redrawn. Now they go Premier Senior for 2021 with a point to prove.
"We need to be consistent now. We're going up there and know what's needed."