James "Cha" Fitzpatrick
|Irish name||Séamus Mac Giolla Phádraig|
31 January 1985 |
|Height||1.77 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|Occupation||Primary School Teacher|
|*Inter County team apps and scores correct as of 11 September 2011.|
Fitzpatrick made his first appearance for the team during the 2004 championship and quickly became a regular player until his retirement following the 2011 championship. During that time he won three All-Ireland winner's medals, five Leinster winner's medals, two National League winner's medals and three All-Star awards. In 2008 Fitzpatrick captained the team to the All-Ireland title.
At club level, Fitzpatrick is a two-time All-Ireland club medalist with Ballyhale Shamrocks. In addition to this he has also won three Leinster club winners' medals and three county championship winners' medals.
Fitzpatrick was born in Knockmoylan, County Kilkenny, Ireland. He received his primary education locally before later attending St. Kieran's College, a famed hurling nursery in Kilkenny. It was here that his hurling skills were developed and nurtured by the many hurling enthusiasts there. In 2003 he tasted his first major success when he captained the school team to both Leinster and All-Ireland Colleges' titles. Fitzpatrick later studied chemical engineering at University College Cork where his hurling talents were once more evident on the university's Fitzgibbon Cup team. Fitzpatrick later changed courses and is now studying to become a primary school teacher at St. Patrick's College in Dublin.
Fitzpatrick plays his local club hurling with Ballyhale Shamrocks and has had much success with the club at under-age level. He won a Féile na nGael medal in 1998 and an under-16 Nenagh Co-Op Tournament medal in 2001. Fitzpatrick was a member of each team when Ballyhale captured a unique four-in-a-row of under-21 Roinn A titles. These victories occurred in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. This achievement overtook the previous record of three-in-a-row which was set by Ballyhale in 1972, 1973 and 1974.
At senior level Fitzpatrick won a county title in 2006. He later added a Leinster club title to his collection when Ballyhale won the provincial title at the end of the year. The club later qualified for the All-Ireland final with Loughrea providing the opposition. Fitzpatrick played a key role in that game and went on to collect a coveted All-Ireland club medal. In 2008 Ballyhale continued their winning ways with the club winning a second consecutive county title. Fitzpatrick played no role in this victory due to injury. His side were later defeated in the Leinster club semi-final by Birr.
In 2008 Ballyhale were the masters of Kilkenny club hurling once again. Fitzpatrick remained injury-free for the entire season as he helped the club to qualify for a fourth consecutive club final. City rivals James Stephens provided the opposition on that occasion, however, a close game saw victory go to Fitzpatrick's side. It was a third county title in-a-row for 'the Shamrocks'. Fitzpatrick later claimed another Leinster club title following a 2-13 to 1-11 defeat of great rivals Birr in the provincial decider.
Minor & under-21
Fitzpatrick first came to prominence on the inter-county scene as a member of the Kilkenny minor hurling team in the early 2000s. He won his first Leinster title in this grade in 2002 and he later lined out in his first minor championship decider. Tipperary provided the opposition on that occasion; however, it was Kilkenny who won the game, giving Fitzpatrick a coveted All-Ireland medal. In 2003 he added a second Leinster minor medal to his collection before later winning a second consecutive All-Ireland minor medal following a victory over Galway. Fitzpatrick later moved on to the county under-21 team with whom he won his first Leinster under-21 title as captain of the team in 2004. He later guided his native-county to an All-Ireland victory over Tipperary in the championship decider. 2005 saw Fitzpatrick add a second Leinster under-21 medal to his collection; however, 'the Cats' were later defeated by Galway in the All-Ireland final. In 2006 he won a third consecutive Leinster under-21 title before collecting a second All-Ireland minor medal after a defeat of Tipperary in a replay at Semple Stadium after a thrilling draw had been played out in Croke Park the previous week.
Fitzpatrick was just out of the minor grade when he made his debut with the Kilkenny senior hurling team in 2004. He came on as a substitute against Dublin in the opening round of qualifiers and scored a point from play. He made another cameo appearance in the All-Ireland quarter-final against Clare before nailing down a starting place for the All-Ireland final. For the second year in-a-row Cork provided the opposition on a gloomy and overcast day. The sides were level for much of the game, however, in the final twenty minutes Cork scored nine points without reply and secured the victory. Kilkenny ended the year with no silverware.
Fitzpatrick played no part with the Kilkenny senior team for the 2005 championship, however, he returned in 2006 and proved to be one of the best players on the team. He began the year by winning both Walsh Cup and National Hurling League honours with Kilkenny. These victories were followed by Fitzpatrick winning his first senior Leinster title before later lining out in a second All-Ireland final. The game that everyone had predicted would happen in 2005 was now taking place as Cork squared up to Kilkenny for the third time in four years. The Leesiders were aiming for a third All-Ireland victory in-a-row; however, revenge was foremost in the minds of Kilkenny as it was Cork who denied their three-in-a-row bid in 2004. On the day Kilkenny were far too strong for Cork with Fitzpatrick chipping in with a point from play to give his side a 1-16 to 1-13 victory. It was his first senior All-Ireland medal. Fitzpatrick was later honoured with a coveted All-Star award while he was also collected the Young Hurler of the Year title.
In 2007 Fitzpatrick retained his place on the Kilkenny team. After losing the National League final the team move don undeterred and Fitzpatrick collected a second Leinster medal following another facile victory in the provincial decider. After a minor scare against Galway Kilkenny later qualified for the All-Ireland final where, surprisingly, Limerick provided the opposition. Kilkenny got off to a flying start with Eddie Brennan and Henry Shefflin scoring two goals within the first ten minutes. Unfortunately, Shefflin sustained an injury during the game and had to retire at half-time. In spite of losing their captain and star player Kilkenny still went on to win the game by 2-19 to 1-15. It was Fitzpatrick's second consecutive All-Ireland medal. He later collected a second consecutive All-Star award.
2008 saw Kilkenny launch an all-out attack in an attempt to capture a third All-Ireland title in-a-row. Furthermore, Fitzpatrick took over the captaincy of the team from Henry Shefflin. The team had an easy passage through the Leinster Championship, however, the opening half of the provincial final against Wexford gave ‘the Cats’ another minor scare. In the end Fitzpatrick collected his third Leinster medal after a 5-21 to 0-17 victory. This victory allowed Kilkenny to advance directly to the All-Ireland semi-final where arch-rivals Cork were the opponents. The game was an interesting encounter; however, Kilkenny claimed a 1-23 to 0-17 victory. The game was not without incident as Fitzpatrick had to leave the game on a stretcher after being struck by Tom Kenny's hurley. The subsequent All-Ireland final saw Kilkenny take on Waterford. It was their first meeting in the championship decider since 1963. A classic game of hurling was expected by many, however, Kilkenny started stronger. Two goals by Eddie Brennan after twenty minutes effectively killed the game, however, ‘the Cats’ ploughed on. Fitzpatrick chipped in with two points from midfield to give his team an enormous 3-30 to 1-13 victory over Waterford. Fitzpatrick thus became the third Kilkenny captain in-a-row to lift the Liam McCarthy Cup. His performances throughout the year were later rewarded with a third consecutive All-Star at midfield.
- "It's been almost a century since we last achieved this feat [three All-Ireland titles in-a-row]. In 1934 it couldn't be done. In 1976 it couldn't be done. In 1984 it couldn't be done. In 1994 it couldn't be done in. In 2004 it couldn't be done. In 2008 it has been done and by God its been done well." - Fitzpatrick's speech after accepting the Liam McCarthy Cup in 2008.
- All-Ireland Senior Club Hurling Championship (2): 2007, 2010
- Leinster Senior Club Hurling Championship (3): 2006, 2008, 2009
- Kilkenny Senior Hurling Championship (5): 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012
- All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship (5): 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011
- Leinster Senior Hurling Championship (7): 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
- National Hurling League (3): 2005, 2006, 2009
- All-Ireland Under-21 Hurling Championship (2): 2004, 2006
- Leinster Under-21 Hurling Championship (3): 2004, 2005, 2006
- All-Ireland Minor Hurling Championship (2): 2002, 2003
- Leinster Minor Hurling Championship (2): 2002, 2003
- Corry, Eoghan, The GAA Book of Lists (Hodder Headline Ireland, 2005).
- Donegan, Des, The Complete Handbook of Gaelic Games (DBA Publications Limited, 2005).
- "Hurler profile: James Fitzpatrick". Hurling stats website. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
- "Fitzpatrick focused on quest for third title". Breaking News. 2008-09-04. Retrieved 2008-09-17.
- "'Cha' brings UCC to the boil". Irish Examiner. 2008-03-06. Retrieved 2008-09-17.
- "Ballyhale boss eyes another All-Ireland". Irish Examiner. 2007-03-19. Retrieved 2008-09-17.
- "Ballyhale Shamrocks in shock defeat". Irish Examiner. 2007-11-18. Retrieved 2008-09-17.
- "Reids lead Ballyhale to glory". Irish Independent. 2008-10-27. Retrieved 2008-10-27.
- "Reids lead Ballyhale to glory". RTÉ Sport. 2008-11-30. Retrieved 2008-12-07.
- Mervyn, David (2006-09-17). "Tipp shut out as Kilkenny power home". Irish Times (London). Retrieved 2008-09-17.
- "'Cha' to captain side to third All-Ireland". Kilkenny Advertiser. 2008-09-11. Retrieved 2008-09-17.[dead link]
- "Cork 1-13 1-16 Kilkenny". BBC Sport. 2006-09-03. Retrieved 2008-09-17.
- "Kilkenny Dominate Hurling All-Star Awards". Vodafone. 2006-11-24. Retrieved 2008-09-17.
- "RTÉ Sport: Kilkenny 2-19 Limerick 1-15, by Tomás McCarthy". RTÉ Sport. 2007-09-03. Retrieved 2008-09-17.
- "'Cha' nominated for Kilkenny captaincy". Breaking News. 2008-01-22. Retrieved 2008-09-17.
- "Kilkenny 3-30 Waterford 1-13 matchtracker". RTÉ Sport. 2008-09-07. Retrieved 2008-09-17.
- "Kilkenny dominate All-Star team". Irish Times. 2008-10-17. Retrieved 2008-10-18.
- "Fitzpatrick retires from Kilkenny hurling". RTÉ Sport. 2011-11-21. Retrieved 2011-11-21.
- "Five reasons why Cha walked away from Kilkenny". Irish Independent. 22 November 2011. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
- "Issues’ with Cody prompt Fitzpatrick to quit Cats". Irish Examiner. 22 November 2011. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
- "'It was the right time to go - now I'm at my happiest on the golf". Irish Independent. 4 September 2014. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- "Kilkenny in class all of their own". Evening Herald. 2008-09-08. Retrieved 2008-09-17.
|All-Ireland Under-21 Hurling Final
|All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final
|Vodafone Young Hurler of the Year
|Kilkenny Senior Hurling Captain