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MacDonaghs chiselled out a hard-earned but deserved 0-18 to 2-9 victory over Portroe in the second round of the county championship in Nenagh. Since returning to senior ranks in 2004, this was MacDonaghs seventh championship victory over Portroe while three losses were sustained in that period. Some supporters labour under the misconception that Portroe have a better record against MacDonaghs.

The Magpies welcomed back Niall O’Meara and Kieran Cahill for this encounter but still lacked the services of the recovering Brian O’Meara. Portroe made a terrific start to the game. Inside the first minute they availed of a defensive blunder and Mark Gennery buried the sliotar in the corner of the net. They tacked on a point and with four minutes gone MacDonaghs were facing an uphill battle. However, they maintained their composure and by the 13th minute they had raised four white flags to draw level. MacDonaghs were in control at this stage but spurned some gilt-edged chances to put daylight between the sides.

The Magpies suffered another blow inside the first quarter when Darragh Peters had to leave the field with a dislocated shoulder. They refused to be disheartened by Darragh’s withdrawal and opened up a three-point lead. Kieran Cahill was dominating the edge of the square at full-forward but there seemed to be a baffling reluctance to let quick direct ball into him. In the final ten minutes of the half Portoe hit three points to draw level. Half-time score: MacDonaghs 0-8, Portroe 1-5.

Portroe got a dream start to the second half when a long-range free was deflected to the net by a MacDonaghs defender. The Lakesiders added a point to go four ahead. It was now hurl-or-go-home time for MacDonaghs. To their credit, they knuckled down to the task. In other years they may not have risen to the challenge but on this occasion they dug deep when the odds seemed stacked against them. The defence got on top— Niall O’Meara thundered into the game — though there was still an alarming tendency to over-elaborate when quick ball to the forwards would pay dividends. With MacDonaghs now dominating possession, they clawed their way back into the game and three points without reply by Thomas Cleary, Tomás Hogan and Seamus Hennessy left the minimum between the teams. With twelve minutes left MacDonaghs had drawn level despite the attack not firing on all cylinders. With five minutes to go the Magpies edged a point ahead. In a tense finish, that included almost five minutes of injury time, MacDonaghs added three more points while Portroe replied with one white flag. The Magpies had secured a valuable victory over opponents who can trouble the best of teams — last year Portroe defeated both Toomevara and Mullinahone.

It wasn’t a vintage performance by MacDonaghs, but it was a great victory. It wouldn’t take Einstein to figure out that the buzz-words in training for the next two weeks will be workrate, intensity and direct hurling as the team prepares for a massive game against Lorrha. As the table stands the only thing that is certain is that Clonoulty cannot be demoted to Roinn 2. Any of the other three teams could be demoted and all four can qualify for the knockout stages. It should be an interesting two weeks in training with the tempo expected to move up a few gears.

Team: Thomas Williams, Éanna Hogan, Jack Peters, Ray McLoughney, Willie Cleary, Niall O’Meara, Eoin Hogan, Tomás Hogan (0-1), Justin Cahill, Thomas Cleary (0-1), Seamus Hennessy (0-9), Darragh Peters, James Williams (0-1), Kieran Cahill (0-3) and Cian Darcy. Subs: Conor Cleary (0-3), James Cleary and Mark O’Meara.

Commiserations to Cian Darcy and Jerome Cahill who were on the Tipperary minor team that lost to Waterford. They have one last chance to get their season back on track against Clare.

Under 14
MacDonaghs travelled to Ballina and drew with the home side in the football championship. MacDonaghs scored 3-6 while the home side replied with 2-9. Team: Kevin McDonald, Eoin O’Meara, David O’Sullivan, Nessa Minogue, Pádraig Coonan, Shane McAteer, Rory Grace, Nathan Lynch (2-4), Colm Cleary (0-1), Aaron Morgan (1-0), Páidí Williams, Oisín Carroll (0-1), Cormac Doheny, James Loughnane and Fionnan Hurley. Subs: Paul Dwyer, Georgie O’Leary, Cian White, Cillian O’Neill and Shane Whelan.

Down Your Way
Eamon O’Dwyer of Tipp FM recorded a special “Down Your Way” tribute to Len Gaynor in a packed clubroom on last Friday night. A galaxy of former inter-county stars including Eddie Keher, Cyril Lyons, Donie Nealon, Mackey McKenna, Tom McLoughney, Pat McLoughney, Sean McLoughlin, Mick Murphy, Liam King and John Costigan were in attendance. Retired Bishop Willie Walsh was present as well as representatives from the Shannon Rovers, Moneygall and Clonoulty-Rossmore clubs. Thanks to Sarah, Blaithín, Eoghan and Keelan who provided superb music for the occasion. Tom Williams gave a rousing rendition of the “Ballad of Thomas MacDonagh” which was composed by Roscrea’s Seamus Doran. Thanks to all to provided refreshments and did the catering. Len was unaware that the programme was planned, so thanks to all who conspired in the background and helped lure him into the trap. The programme will be broadcast on this Thursday at 7.00pm and repeated on Saturday morning at 11.00am.

1916 Centenary
Next Monday, 2nd May is going to be a momentous day for the parish. A major parade will commence at 2.00pm from St. Michael’s N.S. and proceed up the Main Street. It will be led by a colour party from the defence forces. Among the bands that have confirmed their participation are: the Thomas MacDonagh Pipe Band, Templemore; the Nenagh Ormond Brass Band; and the Tulla Pipe Band. A colour party from Post 18 I.N.U.V.A. and the O.N.E., GAA clubs, the Circus club, the Scouts and a variety of local community organisations will also be taking part. After the parade the statue of Thomas MacDonagh will be unveiled by Muriel McAuley, granddaughter of the patriot. Prior to the commencement of the parade, the Nenagh CBS Band will provide entertainment for spectators at the reviewing stand. During the interval between the end of the parade and the unveiling of the statue, the Ballycommon Comhaltas Group will entertain the crowd. To ensure that proceedings run smoothly, it will take a massive effort from the entire community. Stewards are asked to assemble at St. Michael’s N.S. at 12 noon. All club members are asked to put their shoulders to the wheel. You will be contacted this week. Hopefully, you will be able to play your part.

Cúl Camp
The annual Cúl Camp will be held in MacDonagh Park, 4th-8th July. Last year 135 participants enjoyed a fun-filled week at the camp. Don’t miss out this year. Application forms will be available in the near future.

Clothes Collection
The MacDonaghs juvenile and camogie clubs are organising their annual Clothes Collection between Monday, 16th May and Saturday, 21st May. We had a tremendous response in previous years and we anticipate that supporters will rally to the cause once more.

Club History
The updated club history, “Kilruane MacDonaghs 1970-2013, Heirs to a Proud Tradition,” will be published on 14th October. All patrons will be acknowledged in the publication. For as little as €50 you too can be part of that history by becoming a patron. Contact Gilbert Williams 087-2176452 to ensure that your name is included. We are looking for a MINIMUM of 100 patrons to get this project off the ground. Thanks to all who have pledged their support. To date 49 patrons have promised €2,700. We have patrons from Kilkenny, Dublin, Laois and Nenagh Can we count you in? We are keeping a space for your name. In a hundred years time when the Proclamation is read out in 2116, I also expect that the names of the patrons will be read out in Cloughjordan village. Hope your name will be on that honoured list.