Charleville 1-17 Lixnaw 0-11
LESS than a week after they were crowned Cork County PIHC title winners, Charleville now find themselves in the Munster Club IHC final after a very impressive victory over Kerry senior champions Lixnaw at their North Kerry base last Saturday.
Coming so quickly after their triumph in Cork, this was a potential banana skin for Charleville against a side who had ousted Tipperary champions Cashel King Cormacs last weekend.
However, the team from North Cork gave a fine account of themselves in reaching their first provincial final and they can now look forward to a final with the Clare representatives, Feakle.
Charleville played against a very strong wind in the opening half here and it took them a while to settle, so much so that they trailed by four points after 12 minutes.
However, once they found their rhythm, their response was hugely positive and they led at the break by a point, 1-7 to 0-9.
And in the second half they took complete control of the proceedings with the team, as a unit, performing superbly.
Their defence was again very assertive with all six playing their part, particularly, Jack Meade, Finbarr Cagney, Alan Dennehy and Jack Buckley.
Fresh from his All-Star selection the night before, Darragh Fitzgibbon exhibited his sheer class and rifled over some sublime points while Mark Kavanagh, Kevin O’Connor Jack Doyle and Conor Buckley also contributed some important scores.
Lixnaw led by 0-4 to 0-0 after eight minutes, Shane Conway, who was well policed, Colin Sheehy and John Buckley splitting the sticks before Fitzgibbon and Kavanagh got Charleville up and running.
And the sides were deadlocked after 16 minutes when Kevin O’Connor drilled home the game’s only goal following good approach play by Fitzgibbon and Kavanagh.
As events transpired, that was a very significant score and it provided Charleville with great impetus.
When they resumed for the second-half, Finbarr Cagney came up to fire over a superb point which was cancelled out by two more Conway pointed frees.
However, that was the last time that Lixnaw bothered the umpires as Charleville battened down the hatches and at the other end secured the important scores.
Kavanagh, Fitzgibbon, Conor Buckley, Jack Doyle and Andrew Cagney all raised white flags as the game drifted to its inevitable conclusion.
Overall, a very focused and polished Charleville display on a windy Saturday in North Kerry.
On a fine Lixnaw pitch and surface, this was one of their best displays of the season even if they were wide of the target on a good few occasions.
In the end, it was a job well done by all concerned and shortens the Winter that little bit more.
Scorers for Charleville: D Fitzgibbon 0-6 (0-2 f), M Kavanagh 0-5 (0-4 f), K O’Connor 1-0, J Doyle, C Buckley 0-2 each, F Cagney, A Cagney 0-1 each.
Lixnaw: S Conway 0-8 (0-7 f), C Sheehy, J Buckley, B Brosnan 0-1 each.
CHARLEVILLE: C Collins, D Butler, J Meade, F Cagney, A Dennehy, J Buckley, C Carroll, J O’Callaghan, K O’Connor, C Buckley, J Doyle, D Fitzgibbon, A Cagney, C Buckley, T Hawe.
Subs: D Casey for Hawe (49), PJ Copps for C Buckley (53), J Kennedy for Doyle (56), K Cagney for A Cagney (58), D Sheehan for Fitzgibbon (58).
LIXNAW: M Stackpoole, M Quilter, S Power, D McCarthy, G Stackpoole, D Shanahan, P Corridan, R Galvin, B Brosnan, S McElligott, R Heffernan, B McAuliffe, S Conway, J Buckley, C Sheehy.
Referee R McGann (Clare).