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Game On

Charleville chase the ultimate glory

Wednesday, 6th February, 2019 4:55pm

Charleville vs Oranmore-Maree

Seven years ago Charleville tasted defeat in Croke Park and on Sunday they return in a bid to erase the memory of that day, but also to complete what will surely go down as the greatest year in their very proud history.

Selector Tony McAuliffe, is eagerly looking forward to Sunday. “If you said to me this time last year that we would be preparing for an All-Ireland Final, I would have bitten your hand off, but we are here now and cannot wait for it to come around.”

Tony is well aware though of the task facing them against Galway side Oranmore-Maree. “We saw them play, they have quality players and in Gerry McInerney, they have an exceptional manager, and we will need to be at our very best to win.”

Charleville have Ben O’Connor who has been there and done that, and Tony appreciates what Ben has brought to the club. “It's incredible, he's a wonderful guy to have in our corner and he gets the best out of our lads; we went up to Croke Park last Saturday and Ben was able to point out certain things for the lads to look out for, which is a big help.”

However will their main man Darragh Fitzgibbon be fit to start having picked up an injury in the semi-final? Tony is very confident: “Darragh is still under the care of (Cork physio) Declan O’Sullivan, but while he has not trained with us since the injury, we are very confident that he will start on Sunday.”

The importance of the Cork star cannot be overstated. His value to the team in terms of scoring and workrate is hard to quantify and also he has the big match experience of Croke Park; a fit Fitzgibbon will be a huge boost to Charleville’s chances of winning.

Add in Andrew Cagney, Kevin O’Connor, Jack Doyle, Cathal Carroll, Alan Dennehy and Jack Meade and there is plenty of quality in the Cork and Munster champions.

Oranmore-Maree are also a quality outfit as they bid to become the first team from Galway to win this championship. Niall Burke got 0-11 in the semi-final win over St Gall’s, then add in Gearoid McInerney, Padraig Keane, Ross Malone and Sean McInerney, but they will miss the presence of Alan Bannon who was sent-off in the semi-final.

A huge day for both clubs, but the spirit and determination that Charleville have shown all year should be good enough to get them over the line and keep the title won by Kanturk last year, on Leeside.

Cork vs Clare

With both of these teams at the wrong end of the Division 2 table, the loser of this clash will surely be facing the dreaded prospect of Division 3 football.

Clare got a draw against Armagh away from home last Sunday and that will give them a huge boost. Clare have beaten Cork, both home and away, in the last two years which will make them favourites on Sunday.

Cork could have got something out of the Kildare game last Sunday, and while defensively they are much better, a return of 0-10 is not good enough. 11 wides needs to be improved on.

Cork played well in patches against Kildare, but the conditions on a very heavy pitch did not help what is essentially a physically light team, maybe the better sod in Ennis will suit them better. Brian Hurley will be an absentee owing to suspension, but his brother Michael was one of the better players on show last week, getting 0-4 from play.

Mark White was solid again in goal, while they will look to the experienced players James Loughrey, Ruairi Deane, Ian Maguire, Luke Connolly, Mark Collins and possibly Paul Kerrigan to guide them through a testing tie.

Both sides could do with a win, hard to get that on the road but hopefully Cork can nick it, but only with a consistent 70 minutes. Anything less and Clare, who won the McGrath Cup clash a couple of weeks ago, will make it three league wins in-a-row over the Rebels.

 

Camogie

There's a big weekend in Mallow on Saturday and Sunday when the third level competitions conclude with UCC and CIT involved.

In the main competition, it’s UCC vs WIT at 2.45pm on Saturday in the Ashbourne Cup. It’s been a long time since the college won this prestigious title, and with players like Leanne O’Sullivan, Chloe Sigerson, Hannah Looney, Niamh McCarthy, Libby Coppinger, Lauren Callanan and Fiona Neville, it will take a good team to deny them the title.

In the Purcell Cup, it’s CIT vs NUIG at 12.45pm, and included in the Cork squad are Kayleigh Boland, Katie Walsh, Grainne Hannon and Amy Lee, but the Galway girls have a strong squad and CIT will need to be at their best to win.

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