Deep into injury time Seamus Hennessy lofted a free into the Toomevara goalmouth. The sliotar broke to Justin Cahill and his rasping shot was blocked a by a despairing Toomevara foot. The final whistle sounds and MacDonaghs are out of the North championship on a 3-19 to 3-16 scoreline. Such are the tight margins between defeat and victory. It was a game that could have been won but on the balance of play victory went to the better team. Ten first half wides — eight from very favourable positions — contributed to our downfall. On another day those chances would have gone sailing over the bar. We finished the game with fifteen wides. Toomevara were much more economical, registering just five wides. The fact that we were creating chances is a major positive as the team prepares for the county championship. The team fought it out to the finish and didn’t throw in the towel. Three points down at the interval after playing with the light breeze the team responded to the management exhortations and made a thundering start to the second half to go a point ahead. Even as the clocked ticked down the team kept plugging away.
However, the reality is that no team suffer the loss of so many players. With Brian O’Meara, Thomas Cleary, Darragh Peters and Liam Gibson all ruled out with injury the selectors had no option but to redeploy the forces — eight of last year’s panel were not available for selection. Niall O’Meara was pushed forward into the attack where he diluted the influence of the normally dominant Benny Dunne. A final tally of 3-16 will win most matches but conceding 3-19 gives little chance of victory. From a Toomevara perspective their three goals were well worked. From a MacDonaghs perspective poor defending, particularly poor communication and poor positioning and were all too obvious. Unfortunately, this is a pattern evident in the last three games. We conceded 2-17 to Ballina and 1-18 to Ballingarry. The solidity and compactness that typified our first four championship games were conspicuous by their absence. The return of the injured players will give the selectors more options and improving the little things will make the team better. After the initial disappointment there is now a very positive mood in the camp. With places up for grabs on the team, training matches will be played at championship pace and intensity in the coming weeks as players try to maintain or regain a place.
Team: Thomas Williams, Éanna Hogan, Seamus Hennessy (0-1), Stephen Cleary, Willie Cleary, Ray McLoughney, Jack Peters, Justin Cahill (0-3), Kieran Cahill (0-4), Conor Cleary (0-2), Niall O’Meara (0-1), Kevin Quinlan, James Williams (0-2), Kevin Ryan (0-1) and Cian Darcy (3-2). Sub: Tomás Hogan
It is likely that the Johnny Devitt Cup final against Upperchurch will be played in the next few weeks.
Well done to the Tipperary minor team on reaching the Munster final. Cian Darcy was introduced as a substitute. His scoring exploits against Toomevara will have enhanced his starting prospects the next day. Hopefully, Darragh Peters will have recovered from injury and be able to take his place in the decider. His absence was sorely felt by both club and county in recent matches.
MacDonaghs begin their championship campaign with a game against Kildangan on this Sunday evening in Toomevara at 7.00pm.
The opening round of the championship sees MacDonaghs take on Burgess in Puckane on this Thursday, 2nd July at 7.30pm.
The U14 development squad played Nenagh in a challenge game in Cloughjordan last week with the visitors coming out on top on a 2-10 to 2-7 scoreline. Team: Rory Grace, Eoin O’Meara, Conor Quinlan, Cillian O’Neill, Fionnan Hurley, Páidí Williams, Pádraig Coonan, Kevin Naughnane, Owen Farrell, Eoin Carroll, Aaron Morgan (0-7), Paul Dwyer, Ben Cahalan, Kevin McDonald (1-0) and Barry Shanahan (1-0). Subs: Oisín Williams and Paul O’Neill.
In the fourth round MacDonaghs lost out at home to Borris-Ileigh on a 4-10 to 4-3 scoreline. The visitors had a nine-point interval but MacDonaghs showed considerable improvement in the second half. A feature of the game was the outstanding displays by both custodians. Oisín Williams made some magnificent saves while his Borris-Ileigh counterpart came to their recue on several occasions. Team: Oisín Williams, Sean Hayes, Cian White, Eoin Carroll, Tristan Madden, Tom Larke (1-0), Paul Dwyer, Georgie O’Leary (1-0), Kevin Naughnane (0-2), Sean Williams (0-1) and Ross Austin (1-0). Sub: Jack Mulcahy (1-0). The next game is away to Newport on this Friday at 7.00pm.
The Kellogs Cúl Camp is in full swing this week with 134 participants enjoying a fun-filled week of activities.