A KNEE injury sustained by Cork star Darragh Fitzgibbon was the only blot on a wonderful day for Charleville as they overcame Kilkenny and Leinster champions Graigue-Ballycallan to reach the All-Ireland club IHC final at Croke Park next month.
Fitzgibbon, who was a hugely influential figure in the opening half at Semple Stadium, left the field in the closing stages of his side’s wonderful victory on Saturday and the likelihood is that he will require a scan to determine the extent of the injury.
The final against Galway team Oranmore-Maree is not for three weeks giving him time to recover but until such time as more is known it will be fingers crossed for one of the country’s best hurlers in the home of the Cork and Munster champions.
Charleville, coached by former Cork great Ben O’Connor, secured a two-point victory over the Kilkenny team and were full value for their terrific victory.
O’Connor’s experience as a winner at headquarters with Cork and Newtownshandrum will be a major asset to them in their preparations for the big day out at Croke Park.
Fitzgibbon posted five first-half points in the victory with Jack Doyle and Andrew Cagney also making significant scoring contributions.
O’Connor was delighted with the victory.
“We can’t wait to go up there. Hopefully, we might get up there next week to see the dressing rooms and so on.
“I am sure they won’t leave us onto the field, they’ll leave that to Ireland’s fittest family and those things, not the fellas who will be playing there.’’
Whilst it was ecstasy for Charleville, it was absolute agony for Cloughduv in the All-Ireland club JHC semi-final against another Kilkenny side, Dunnammagin.
They lost by a point after extra-time after putting in a fantastic display after a sluggish start when they trailed by eight points.
Team coach Tim Barry-Murphy was devastated with the manner of the loss but hugely proud of the efforts his players had put in.
“It’s heartbreaking to lose by a point after extra-time but we are so proud of these lads, they gave us everything all year and again today and we just could not have asked them for anymore’’.
Meanwhile, Cork players Chris O’Leary, Shane Kingston, Robbie O’Flynn, Michael O’Halloran, Mark Coleman and David Griffin played prominent roles for UCC in the Fitzgibbon Cup win over UL.
Kerry’s Shane Conway was the scoring star for the Western Road team, delivering nine points in their 0-26 to 0-20 win.
UCC return to the fray on Wednesday with a home game against UCD and a win there will guarantee them a place in the knockout stages.