DARRAGH Fitzgibbon is currently enjoying a couple of days break with the Cork hurlers in the US.
It is richly deserved after what has been a tumultuous year in this young man’s hurling life.
You can add football to that too after Charleville’s victory in the Cork County U21 B championship.
The North Cork club are one of the leading contenders for the Premier 1 U21 hurling championship and Fitzgibbon will be back for next Sunday’s eagerly awaited clash with Fr O’Neill’s in that competition. Last Sunday took the game by the scruff of the neck when Charleville needed it most in the Munster Club IHC final against Feakle from Clare.
His team trailed by 10 points at the interval and seemed to be in serious difficulty until he cut loose, among a lot of others. He was everywhere, midfield, in the attack back in defence, taking up the free-taking duties and striking a sideline puck or two as well.
The outcome was as dramatic as it gets, Charleville belting in two, late goals to stun the large Clare contingent.
In the aftermath, Cork’s brand new All-Star took time out to reflect on what had gone on.
“Never really been involved in anything like that before, it’s an incredible feeling.
“A lot of the time throughout the year we would have been questioned about character. We met about 12 months ago below in our clubhouse.
“Kanturk had beaten us twice and I suppose we just had to look at ourselves and regroup as a group of players and a management team. We just had to look at what was going on and you have to credit the players because that sums up how much we have changed this year.
“There was a 13 point swing there in the second half today and we just knew that if we just got hold of the ball we could get back into it. Our game is based on running and we were not really doing that in the first half, it was hard against the wind.
“We knew when we had it in the second half it would make a difference and it did.’’
The message in the dressing room at the interval was that they were not doing the things that they are good at, not employing the tactics that had been their strength during the year.
“We knew that we hadn’t played well at all, we were hitting long balls into their half-backs and it was coming out. We were not bringing the ball through the lines, something that we are good at."
The depth of character in the team was exhibited when they started the comeback and that was something Fitzgibbon was fully aware of.
“We knew that we had that character, it was just a case of putting it on display. I suppose when you are winning things you grow as a bunch.
“We had an U21 football title won the previous week with most of this team involved but I suppose this was the ultimate test when we found ourselves in the position that we were in. We knew what we had to do and we just went out and id it and we got the goals there at the end and it’s just a great day for the club again."
On a personal level, it has been a huge couple of weeks for the young man and he’s making the most of it.
“I suppose the most pleasing thing is just being involved with Cork and with the club. We have had ups and downs, being there or thereabouts but when you get over the line it’s great.
“When I came back from Cork it was great to get back in with the Charleville lads. That is where it started for me, in the club and that’s where you finish your career with the lads that you grow up with.
“The most pleasing thing really is that we kept going and got our reward."
And it’s not over yet for the season.
"No, we have a big U21 game with Fr O’Neill’s next Sunday. Most of us are involved and we know that we will be facing a very strong team in O’Neill’s.
“I am going to Boston for a few days but we’ll regroup again for that game.’’