Current and former Cork stars involved to complete remarkable 7-year rise from junior to senior club ranks

DARRAGH FITZGIBBON IS in the running for a couple of awards on Friday night after his exploits with the Cork hurlers in 2018 and he got his week off to a great start by helping his club Charleville reach senior level for the first time this afternoon.

In the replay of the Cork premier intermediate hurling championship, Charleville saw off Courcey Rovers by 0-15 to 0-14 in Páirc Uí Rinn to confirm the north Cork club will play senior hurling in 2019.

Fitzgibbon shot 0-4 from placed balls to help his side come from behind in the final quarter to prevail by a narrow margin. Jack and Andrew Cagney, along with Mark Cavanagh also shone in the scoring stakes for the winners.

Next Friday night at the PWC GAA-GPA All-Star hurling awards, Fitzgibbon is one of six midfielders nominated for the two positions in the 2018 team. A Munster senior medal winner in July, Fitzgibbon is also set to battle it out for the Young Hurler of the Year award with Cork team-mate Mark Coleman and the man-of-the-match in the All-Ireland final, Limerick’s Kyle Hayes.

His club Charleville had a well-known figure coaching them from the sideline today in Cork’s 2004 All-Ireland winning captain Ben O’Connor. In his playing days with Cork, O’Connor won three All-Ireland senior titles, five Munster honours and two All-Star awards, along with four county, three Munster and one All-Ireland medal with his club Newtownshandrum.

He is now guiding the fortunes of neighbouring Charleville and this feat in his fledgling coaching career helps to complete a remarkable rise for the club.

🇮🇩 pic.twitter.com/tW99zTwmlG

— CHARLEVILLE GAA (@CHARLEVILLEGAA) October 29, 2018

Source: CHARLEVILLE GAA/Twitter

It’s seven years since Charleville were plying their trade at junior level but after winning the county at that level in 2011, they went on to contest the All-Ireland junior decider in 2012 when they lost out to St Patrick’s Ballyragget from Kilkenny. 

The intermediate title arrived in 2015 and now this premier intermediate success elevates them to the top grade.

Charleville have little time to rest as a Munster assignment looms large. They face a provincial intermediate hurling semi-final next Saturday afternoon, away to Kerry senior champions Lixnaw. The other last four tie in that grade will see Clare’s Feakle take on Clonea’s Waterford in the Fraher Field next Saturday.

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