Oranmore Maree 2-18
Reporting by Marisa Kennedy in Croke Park
Oranmore Maree are the AIB All Ireland intermediate hurling club champions as a stunning second half comeback saw them overcome Charleville in Croke Park.
Niall Burke finished the game on a tally of 1-11 as the Galway side overturned a six-point deficit, aided by two Chareville red cards in the second half.
Darragh Fitzgibbon showed no signs of the injury he sustained in their semi-final as the Cork star, roared into the game, scoring Charleville’s first six points, four from frees. Not to be out-down, Niall Burke was lively in the opening quarter of the game, causing problems for Charleville’s half-back line, while Alan Burke notched over two of Oranmore’s early points.
Charleville quickly settled in to this game, but more so due to poor play from Oranmore. The Galway side registered five wides in the opening 20 minutes while their lack of discipline allowed Fitzgibbon to stretch Charleville’s lead to two.
Burke, who was Oranmore’s joint-captain alongside fellow inter-county star, Gearoid McInerney, eventually settled his side again with a free to reduce the gap to one. McInerney was having a torrid time marking Fitzgibbon and the 21-year-old turned supplier for Charleville’s next two points, scored by Daniel O’Flynn and Jack Doyle.
As Oranmore missed a clear opportunity for a point at one end, the Cork side ran riot at the other. O’Flynn rounded his marker on the edge of the square and fed Andrew Cagney who side-stepped the defence and edged the ball past goalkeeper, Rory McInerney. Conor Buckley and Kevin O’Connor grabbed late scores to leave the score at 1-10 to 0-7 at half-time.
Aided by strong challenges by Charleville, Oranmore came roaring back into this game in the second half. Burke scored his first point from play before adding two more from placed balls. Fitzgibbon responded for Charleville but that was quickly canceled out by Sean McInerney, a brother of Gearoid, who grabbed his first of the day.
The momentum was well and truly in Oranmore’s favour when Charleville’s Jack O’Callaghan was shown a straight red for digging the but of his hurl into a player during a pile-up. To make matters worse for the Cork side, Oranmore’s half-back line were easily able to read Cian Collin’s puck-outs leading to a monster point from Gearoid McInerney.
Though Cagney attempted to settle his side with a point, Charleville appeared rattled, sending three attempts in a row wide while their forwards began leaking frees. With five minutes left on the board, Charleville were reduced to 13 men as Cathal O’Carroll saw red for striking his opponent in the stomach. From the resulting free, Burke leveled the game.
The defining moment of the match came a minute later when McInerney was dragged down in the square and Burke sent the penalty attempt low past the goalkeeper. As the game entered injury time, Fitzgibbon reduced the deficit to two from placed balls but the result seemed inevitable as Burke capitalised from a misjudged clearance from Cian Collins and sent the ball sailing over the bar.
With a minute remaining, McInerney struck for Oranmore’s second goal and an 11th point for Burke sealed a stunning win for the Galway champions.
Charleville: Cian Collins; Darren Butler, Jack Meade, Finbarr Cagney; Alan Dennehy, Jack Buckley, Cathal Carroll; Jack O’Callaghan, Kevin O’Connor (0-1); Darragh Fitzgibbon (0-10, 7f, 1 65), Darren Casey, Jack Doyle (0-1); Andrew Cagney (1-1), Daniel O’Flynn (0-1), Conor Buckley (0-1).
Substitutions: Tim Hawe for O’Connor (53)
Oranmore Maree: Rory McInerney; Sean Bannon, Shane Geoghegan, Alan Bannon; Mark Hanniffy, Gearoid McInerney (0-1), Liam Keane; Niall Geoghegan, Rian Maher; Marcus Quinn, Alan Burke (0-2), Niall Burke (1-11, 5f, 1 65, 1 pen); Ross Malone, Padraic Keane (0-1), Sean McInerney (1-2).
Substitutions: Eanna Burke (0-1) for Quinn (44), Noel Qualter for Keane (50, blood), Simon Dunne for N Geoghegan (57)