The senior hurlers had a very important victory against Knockavilla Kickhams in Templetuohy in the first round of the county championship on a 1-20 to 0-16 scoreline. This was the first senior championship meeting between the two sides since MacDonaghs overcame Kickhams in Nenagh in the county semi-final in 1959. The final score in that game was 4-12 to 5-2. In the latest clash, MacDonaghs were unable to call on the services of seventeen of last year’s panel. Emigration and injuries, in particular, have severely depleted the squad. MacDonaghs had the first use of the strong wind, but it was the west side who made the better start. Kickhams deployed an extra man in defence and MacDonaghs struggled for scores. The player inspired tactic of just leaving one forward on the inside line at different times was a difficult to comprehend and was counter-productive. Kickhams must have been delighted to see two of our most dangerous attackers well away from the goals. At the interval MacDonaghs led, with the scoreboard reading 0-12 to 0-8 in their favour. Considering the strength of the wind, this looked far from healthy.
Knockavilla scored the first two points of the second half and MacDonaghs had a battle on their hands. To the team’s credit, they knuckled down and took the game to Kickhams. The inside forward line now began to play their positions and they always looked a threat when they ball was delivered quickly. I assumed the management laid down the law at the interval: move the ball quickly and inside forwards stay in. Kilruane began to win more breaking ball on the half-backline and the half-forward line. In the first half MacDonaghs were very much second best in this area. Knockavilla had a number of goal opportunities and at one stage hit four wides in a row. Kilruane kept the four point cushion for most of the second half but could never relax. A late goal from a Ray McLoughney free put a rather flattering look on the scoreboard. Not a brilliant performance but a brilliant win. MacDonaghs now face Borris-Ileigh in the second round on this Sunday. They will enter this game as total outsiders. However, with the threat of relegation lifted off their shoulders, the team should be able to play with more freedom. We have one of the best club full forward lines in the county. The tactic should be simple. Keep them in near the goals and move the ball in as quickly as possible. If a few heads have to be knocked together to achieve this, so be it. Team: Thomas Williams, Diarmuid Cahill, Eanna Hogan, Martin Walsh, Jack Peters, Niall O’Meara, Pat Conway, Mikey Costello (0-1), Willie Cleary, Kieran Cahill, Justin Cahill (0-7), Kevin Quinlan (0-1), Ray McLoughney (1-7), Brian O’Meara (0-3) and Eoin Williams. Sub: Thomas Cleary (0-1).
Well done to Justin Cahill and Niall O’Meara who played on the Tipperary team which defeated Limerick in the Munster U-21 semi-final.
The U-16 hurlers bounced back from their first round reverse against Templederry to record a hard earned victory against Burgess in MacDonagh Park on a 2-8 to 0-12 scoreline. Captain Caolainn Conroy won the toss and wisely decided to play with the aid of the stiff wind into the road end. Rory McCarthy opened the scoring with a point and Cian Darcy followed with a similar score from the right wing. Burgess got off the mark with a point but Darragh Peters responded with a white flag from a 65. The visitors put over their second point. MacDonaghs got a great boost when Kieran Lillis found the net from close range. Cian Darcy put over his third point and a Burgess point brought the first half scoring to a close, with the home side ahead on a 1-5 to 0-3 scoreline.
Kilruane made a great start to the second half. A deft hand pass from Keelan Troy set up Cian Darcy who fired over a glorious point from a narrow angle. The boys in black and white surged into a nine point lead when substitute Jerome Cahill nipped in to raise a green flag. With the elements at their backs, Burgess began to dominate possession and hit seven unanswered points to leave just two between the teams. Cian Darcy raised the siege when he was on target from a placed ball. A Burgess point reduced the gap to two again. It was all hands on deck as Burgess went in search of a goal. The deficit was cut to the minimum as MacDonaghs defended desperately. Another Cian Darcy free left MacDonaghs two ahead. Burgess had one last chance. A free from 45 metres drifted wide much to the relief of the home team.
This was a much improved performance, with grit and determination in abundance. Niall Shinners kept a clean sheet between the sticks and against the wind in the second half he made effective use of the short puck out. Darragh Peters was outstanding as he anchored the defence in the number six shirt. Jack Farrell and Kieran Brereton also played major roles in repelling the opposition attacks. Caolainn Conroy and James Cleary did Trojan work in the middle of the park. Cian Darcy took the scoring honours, Rory McCarthy and Kieran Lillis toiled gamely, while substitute Jerome Cahill always looked a threat. Team: Niall Shinners, Arran Conroy, Jack Farrell, Ciarán Farrell, Martin Grace, Darragh Peters (0-1), Kieran Brereton, James Cleary, Caolainn Conroy, Cian Darcy (0-6), Rory McCarthy (0-1), Keelan Troy, Kevin Shinners, Kieran Lillis (1-0) and Conor Lillis. Subs: Jerome Cahill (1-0) and Conor Kelly.
The U-12 B team lost out to away Kildangan in the playoff for a semi-final spot on a 3-4 to 0-4 scoreline. To use the cliché it was the proverbial game of two halves. MacDonaghs dominated the opening twenty minutes and were not flattered by the 0-4 to 0-1 scoreline in their favour at the break. They were unfortunate not to be further ahead as the Kildangan goalkeeper made a great save from Sam Darcy and a rasping ground shot from Conor Quinlan ricocheted off a defender’s helmet and was diverted out for a 65. The home team began to dominate in the second half as MacDonaghs appear to run out of steam. The absence of Luke Morkan in the middle of the field was sorely felt at this stage. A rather dubious 20m free gave Kildangan the opportunity to score their first goal. The second goal had an element of good fortune about it as it cannoned off a Kilruane defender into the net. Kildangan finished the stronger and MacDonaghs must now regroup for their quarter-final clash with Nenagh. Team: Páidí Williams (0-1), Eoin England, Kieran Spain, Daniel Costello, Cian Spillane, Patrick Hayes, Joseph Donnelly, Pheilim Quinlisk, Conor Quinlan (0-1), Owen Farrell, Sam Darcy (0-2) and Ben Cahalan.
The minor hurlers lost out to Roscrea in the first round of the championship in MacDonagh Park on a 1-19 to 0-14 scoreline. MacDonaghs had to field without the injured Darragh Peters were on the back foot inside the second minute when Roscrea had and 1-1 on the scoreboard. The visitors led by five points at the break and drove on to a deserved victory. Team: Niall Shinners, Mark Tierney, Kieran Cahill (0-3), John Healy. Tomás Hogan, Jack Peters (0-1), David Mooney, Bob Dooley, Sean Cleary (0-1), Robbie Oakley, Conor Cleary (0-2), Stephen Cleary (0-1), Conor Austin (0-1), Paddy Ryan and Aidan Boyle (0-6). Subs: Caolainn Conroy, Finnian Mannion and Enda Mulcahy.
The junior hurlers play Borris-Ileigh in Moneygall on this Friday at 7.00pm.
On Wednesday August 1st the U-12 hurlers participate in the Munster Council Activity Day in Páirc na nGael Limerick. On Monday August 13th they head to Croke Park, where they will have an opportunity of playing on the famous sod and they will also have a guided tour of the stadium.
The club would like to extend its sympathy to the Killackey family on the death of Hubert Killackey, formerly Church Road, who died in England. Hubert lined out at corner forward on first MacDonaghs team to win a divisional minor title in 1952.