AIB All Ireland IHC: Oranmore-Maree win thrilling decider
AIB All Ireland Club IHC Final
ORANMORE-MAREE (GALWAY) 2-18 CHARLEVILLE (CORK) 1-15
By Cian O'Connell at Croke Park
A daring Oranmore-Maree revival ensured they accomplished a dramatic recovery mission to defeat Charleville.
Oranmore-Maree who trailed by seven points in the first half answered the many stern questions that were posed by Charleville, who had dictated the agenda early on.
It was an afternoon on which so many Oranmore-Maree players delivered in style with Niall Burke’s 1-11 and Gearoid McInerney’s storming finish influential.
The opening period belonged to the crafty and classy forward play of Charleville, who caused Oranmore-Maree significant bother.
Charleville’s 1-10 to 0-7 advantage reflected their supremacy initially as Darragh Fitzgibbon delivered a splendid contribution.
An injury doubt with a knee problem, the dynamic Cork star struck six sweet points, including two from play, as Charleville commenced smartly.
Fitzgibbon was a central figure as Charleville edged 0-8 to 0-5 clear before Andrew Cagney made the Oranmore-Maree net dance in the 28th minute.
Cagney finished a thoughtful Charleville move and further points from Conor Buckley and Kevin O’Connor illustrated Charleville’s attacking ability.
Oranmore-Maree were under pressure to respond so the third quarter carried huge relevance for Gerry McInerney’s team.
So the fact that Oranmore-Maree hit six of the next eight points brought them roaring back into contention with Gearoid McInerney’s influence increasing.
Niall Burke, Oranmore-Maree’s other Galway inter-county player was effective too as the deficit was reduced to 1-12 to 0-13 by the 45th minute.
It was an action packed burst because Charleville had Jack Doyle sent off in the 40th minute for a straight red card.
Andrew Cagney steered Charleville three clear once more with a fine effort, but Oranmore-Maree responded courtesy of substitute Eanna Burke.
With 12 minutes left Charleville held a narrow 1-13 to 0-14 lead and the issue was delicately poised as Oranmore-Maree were gaining in confidence and momentum.
Sean McInerney brought Oranmore-Maree to within a point in the 51st minute as it remained edgy and intriguing.
A Niall Burke free restored parity before Charleville were reduced to 13 men when Cathal Carroll was dismissed.
Oranmore-Maree were awarded a penalty in the 58th minute when Jack Meade fouled Sean McInerney in the square. Niall Burke gleefully assumed responsibility converting the penalty expertly.
Despite their numerical inferiority Charleville continued to probe as a couple of Fitzgibbon points cut Oranmore-Maree’s lead before Niall Burke landed a point prior to Sean McInerney’s delightful insurance goal.
Scorers for Oranmore-Maree: Niall Burke 1-11 (1-0 pen, 6fs, 165), Sean McInerney 1-2, Alan Burke 0-2, Gearoid McInerney, Padraic Keane, Eanna Burke 0-1 each.
Scorers for Charleville: Darragh Fitzgibbon 0-10 (7fs, 165), Andrew Cagney 1-1, Daniel O’Flynn, Kevin O’Connor, Jack Doyle, Conor Buckley 0-1 each.
ORANMORE-MAREE: Rory McInerney; Sean Bannon, Shane Geoghegan, Alan Bannon; Mark Hanniffy, Gearoid McInerney, Liam Keane; Niall Geoghegan, Rian Maher; Marcus Quinn, Alan Burke, Niall Burke; Ross Malone, Padraic Keane, Sean McInerney.
Subs: Eanna Burke for Quinn (44), Noel Qualter for Keane (50), Simon Dunne for Geoghegan (58).
CHARLEVILLE: Cian Collins; Darren Butler, Jack Meade, Finbarr Cagney; Alan Dennehy, Jack Buckley, Cathal Carroll; Jack O’Callaghan, Kevin O’Connor; Darren Casey, Darragh Fitzgibbon, Jack Doyle; Andrew Cagney, Daniel O’Flynn, Conor Buckley.
Subs: Tim Hawe for O’Connor (54).
REFEREE: Colum Canning (Antrim).