Well done to Jack Peters who had a very solid game for the Tipperary minors in the All-Ireland final.
The senior hurlers participated in the annual Kilmacud Cokes All-Ireland Sevens. They played their games in the very impressive grounds of Bray Emmetts. MacDonaghs didn’t make it out of their group, overcoming Cloughbawn (Wexford) on a 10-7 to 8-6 scoreline, but losing out to Coolderry 4-11 to 1-10 and Beagh (Galway) 6-9 to 3-3. Panel: Thomas Williams, Seamus Hennessy, Eanna Hogan, Niall O’Meara, Mikey Costello, Brian O’Meara, Ray McLoughney, Thomas Cleary, Pat Williams and William Cleary.
The U-16 hurlers staged a magnificent comeback to force a draw against Burgess in the playoff for a semi-final place. Final score: MacDonaghs 4-14 Burgess 3-17. Thirteen points behind them at the interval and with no wind to assist them in the second half it looked mission impossible. However, the club has a well earned reputation of staging rousing rallies and this team carried on the proud tradition. The senior team of the seventies became legendary for their late rallies, generally timing their surge to perfection in the final quarter. Other great comebacks spring to mind: the 1965 senior semi-final when MacDonaghs reeled in a ten point Borrisokane lead to earn a draw; the 1974 U-21 county final when an early ten point deficit against Thurles Sarsfields was overturned by the interval; the 1985 North junior final against Toomevara when a ten point lead was wiped out to claim victory and most recently the county Féile final when a six a point disadvantage was turned into a three point triumph against Durlas Og inside the last seven minutes. While this u-16 team, operating with a sixteen man panel against Burgess, may not win another match they have demonstrated that the dormant spirit of the club is alive and well.
Burgess hit the ground running and the powerful physical presence of Jamie Maxwell at right wing forward was causing all kinds of problems for the MacDonaghs defence. He was very strong in the air and fired a 20m free to the net after Kieran Brereton hauled the full forward down. In fact, the selectors tried three different markers, before Caolainn Conroy began to curb his influence. Burgess scored feely throughout the half and were in control in most departments. The scoreboard which read Burgess 2-12 MacDonaghs 0-5 at the interval made grim reading for the boys in black and white. One might have expected hurleys to be broken and the decibel level to have risen during the half time post mortem. However, the opposite was the case. Calmness prevailed and the selectors made a number of crucial changes. Darragh Peters moved to centre-back, James Cleary was to posted full forward, Kieran Lillis reverted to his best position of centre-forward and Martin Grace was despatched to mid-field. While the first half changes brought little tangible benefit, the latest moves all seemed to click. The second half instructions were simple: move the ball fast, keep the shape and cut the deficit point by point. Bit by bit the opposition was reeled in. Cian Darcy, Darragh Peters, James Cleary, Kieran Lillis, Conor Lillis and Martin Grace led by example as MacDonaghs thundered into the game. Cian Darcy buried a twenty metre free, he passed another to James Cleary who raised a green flag, Kieran Lillis also found the net, while Keelan Troy tapped home a cross from James Cleary. Two late points by Conor Lillis edged MacDonaghs into the lead, before a late Burgess free left the teams all square at the end. Team: Niall Shinners, Arran Conroy, Kieran Brereton, Brendan McAdams, Ciarán Spillane, Caolainn Conroy, Conor Lillis (0-2), Cian Darcy (1-7), James Cleary (1-2), Conor Doheny, Darragh Peters (0-3), Kevin Shinners, Conor Kelly, Kieran Lillis (1-0) and Martin Grace. Sub: Keelan Troy (1-0).
In round one MacDonaghs overcame Naas on 3-6 to 4-2 scoreline. This was a great match from the start, with each team giving their best. Naas drew first blood with a goal but MacDonaghs fought back, with Rory Grace slotting over a few frees to keep the Tipp boys in the hunt. Kilruane started to get a grip at mid-field. In the second half a foul on Fionnan Hurley resulted in a goal for the team in black and white. This score galvanised MacDonaghs. Eoin O’Meara raised a white flag and Barry Shanahan chipped in with a goal. The backs were defending stoutly, with great performances by Eoin Carroll and Padraic Coonan. Kevin Naughnane was outstanding between the sticks. However, as time ticked away Naas held a two point advantage. In the last play of the game Rory Grace finished to the net, after taking a pass from Fionnan Hurley. MacDonaghs were victorious by the minimum of margins. Team: Kevin Naughnane, Padraig Coonan, Eoin Carroll, Barry Shanahan (1-0), Eoin O’Meara (0-1), Fionnan Hurley (1-0), Rory Grace (1-5), Cian White, Darra Hannon, Paul Dwyer, Paul O’Neill and Oisín Williams. In round two MacDonaghs lost out to a strong Dicksboro outfit on a 4-6 to 1-0 scoreline. For this encounter the mentors made a few changes. Paul O’Neill moved to full-back and Darra Hannon went to full-forward. Barry Shanahan and Cian White swopped positions. Dicksboro were a very strong team and an early goal put them in the driving seat. MacDonaghs battled gamely to keep Dicksboro at bay, with Eoin O’Meara and Paul O’Neill to the fore. The host team were worthy winners, but Kilruane made them earn every score.
In round three MacDonaghs got the better of O’Loughlin Gaels (Kilkenny) on a 1-3 to 1-2 scoreline. The selectors rang the changes again for this Tipperary and Kilkenny clash. Kevin Naughnane moved from the goals to half-back. This was an inspired switch, as Kevin launched attack after attack. He used his craft and skill to pick out his colleagues with quality ball. Darra Hannon and Cian White always looked threatening in the attack This game was nip and tuck and every ball was contested with ferocity. Oisín Williams scored the crucial goal. Late in the second half Paul Dwyer registered the score of the day. He took possession out on the wing, side stepped his opponent and fired the sliotar unerringly between the posts. In a tense finish MacDonaghs held on for a one point victory. It was a great team effort, with Cian White, Paul Dwyer and Kevin Naughnane leading by example. Scorers: Oisín Williams (1-0), Rory Grace (0-2) and Paul Dwyer (0-1).
The two wins gave MacDonaghs second place in the group and earned them a spot in the plate final where they took on Tullaroan, the home club of Tommy Walsh. Kilruane took the honours on a 7-1 to 2-3 scoreline MacDonaghs got off to a dream start when Darra Hannon, who had recovered from injury, rattled the net. MacDonaghs kept up the intensity all through and never let the Kilkenny team settle. Rory Grace showed his class in this game, even when he was tightly marked. He was a constant danger and took some delightful scores, that wouldn’t have been out of place in a senior game. Darra Hannon chipped in with 1-1 and Barry Shanahan also found the net. Eoin O’Meara and Paul O’Neill kept up a liberal supply of ball to the attack. The day finished on a high when Fionnan Hurley sent a blistering low shot to the net from twenty metres out. This was a great team display, with every player on their game. Dara Hannon was outstanding and Padraic Coonan gave a Brendan Cummins like performance in the goals. Scorers: Rory Grace (3-0), Darra Hannon (2-1), Fionnan Hurley (1-0) and Barry Shanahan (1-0). After the final they were presented with their well earned medals. Thanks to Dicksboro for the invitation and their hospitality.
The U-10 hurlers participated in The Blitz in Dr. Morris Park on Saturday. Goals and points were equal value. In the first game they overcame Moycarkey-Borris 6 to 2. Scorers: Aaron Morgan (2), David Sullivan (1) and Rory Grace (1). In the second encounter they got the better of Nenagh 11 to 2. Scorers: Aaron Morgan (6), James Loughnane (3) and Cormac Doheny (2). In the third game they defeated Cashel 8 to 7. Scorers: Rory Grace (3), James Loughnane (2), Kevin McDonald (1), Páidí Williams (1) and Shane McAteer (1) Panel: Páidí Williams, Eoin Carroll, Paul O’Neill, Eoin O’Meara, Shane McAteer, Cian White, Aaron Morgan, David Sullivan, Darra Hannon, Rory Grace, James Loughnane, Kevin McDonald, Cormac Doheny and Barry Shanahan. They also journeyed to Borrisoleigh midweek and played out an exciting draw against their hosts. Thanks to Borris-Ileigh for the refreshments.
The Parish League finals take place in MacDonagh Park on this Saturday Sept 15th at 11. All players should be present at 10.45. In the League Final Gorry Rangers, captained by Nathan Ryan, face The Ninety Eights led by Kevin Oakley. In the Plate Final De Wets, skippered by Seamus O’Meara, take on Kyle, with Luke Dervan at the helm.
The club would like to extend its sympathy to the family of the late Bridget Hickey Carriganagh Ardcroney.