HE’S the man who captained Carbery Rangers to an historic first Cork senior football title and James Fitzpatrick is now setting his sights on a run in the Munster club championship.
One of the many rewards for winning last Sunday’s Cork SFC final is that Rangers now represent Cork in the provincial club series. First up is a quarter-final away to Limerick champions Monaleen at the end of the month, and Fitzpatrick is keen for Ross to make an impression here.
‘We have another massive opportunity in Munster. That will be a massive occasion, the monkey is off our back now and we can drive on, play some good football and see where that takes us,’ Fitzpatrick said.
‘We will celebrate this county first, enjoy it, and then we’ll look ahead to Munster – that’s another great opportunity for the club, our first time in the competition and we’ll give it everything.’
Fitzpatrick has been involved in the senior set-up in Ross since 2006 and over the last few years the midfielder experienced, like his team-mates, so many knockbacks and disappointments – but those emotions were replaced by sheer joy and euphoria last Sunday.
‘In the last ten minutes of the game I couldn’t wait for the final whistle to go, we knew that Ballincollig would never die, and we probably should have closed it out a bit earlier,’ Fitzpatrick said.
‘This is fantastic for the club. It’s not all about winning cups and winning trophies, it’s about winning with your team, your club, your community. A big motivating factor for me was seeing people celebrating after and see what it means to our community – that’s the biggest kick that I get out of this.
‘Our day has come today but even if we did lose we’d still come back next year and the year after.’
Being captain and accepting the Andy Scannell Cup on behalf of his team-mates, club and community was a feeling that Fitzpatrick will never forget.
‘It’s a privilege for me, an honour to take over as captain at the start of the year but we have leaders all over the field. Look at John Hayes, John O’Rourke, Seamus Hayes, Kevin MacMahon, they were all immense, the experience we have on the team is phenomenal. I’m thrilled for these fellas,’ he added.