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Saturday August 15th MacDonagh Park Nenagh

Kilruane MacDonaghs 3-7 Nenagh Eire Og 0-3

‘You can sing it in the hillside you can sing it in the glen
The MacDonaghs boys are coming once again’

These are the opening lines of a ballad penned by a local bard to celebrate MacDonaghs triumph against Kildangan in the 1940 forty North senior final, a victory that ended a thirty three year famine. Those same lines could once again be sung with gusto to mark MacDonaghs win against Nenagh in last Saturday’s U-12 final as the boys in black and white bridged a thirty year gap to bring the title to the parish for the third time. Much water has flown under many bridges since MacDonaghs defeated Roscrea in 1979 on a 4-1 to 3-1 scoreline. The previous year Kilruane captured their first title with a 2-2 to 1-1 victory over Toomevara.

A wet morning gave way to a bright and breezy summer’s day and MacDonagh Park was in apple pie order for the meeting of MacDonaghs and Nenagh. The sides had clashed twice in the group stages with each recording a victory. MacDonaghs won the toss and captain Willie Ryan wisely elected to play with the strong wind into the town goal. Selectors Christy Morgan, John Cahill, Ned Darcy and Paddy Williams opted for a number of positional changes for the final. Cian Darcy was moved to the edge of the square and Roisin Cahill switched from the defence to corner forward with the aim of giving a cutting edge to the attack. MacDonaghs settled quickly and were soon on the offensive. In the third minute the very impressive Craig Morgan collected long delivery and struck a neat point from the left corner. In the fifth minute Cian Darcy rounded the full back and was unlucky to see his rasping shot hit the side netting and had further misfortune when he whipped on a ground ball only to see it shave the paint off the post. MacDonaghs refused to be rattled by these set backs and in the seventh minute the outstanding Kieran Brereton hit a delightful point. Two minutes later MacDonaghs received a huge boost when Craig Morgan rounded his marker and crashed the ball to the net to the delight of the huge band of Kilruane supporters. They were in full voice minutes later when Declan Elderfield pounced on a loose ball and whipped it to the net. In the fifteenth minute Jerome Cahill was on target from a sixty five to put MacDonaghs nine points ahead. A minute later Craig Morgan who was giving the Nenagh defence a torrid time raised his second green flag. Nenagh finally got off the Mark when Shane Hennessy pointed a fee. Just on the stroke of half time Kilruane were awarded a close in free and Cian Darcy on the instructions of selector Christy Morgan went for broke but his well taken shot was well saved by the Nenagh defence. However, Nenagh were unable to clear their lines and Kieran Brereton raised the final white flag of the half to leave the scoreboard reading 3-3 to 0-1 favour of MacDonaghs.

At the interval MacDonaghs introduced Martin Grace for Declan Elderfield. Throughout the first half Darragh Peters had played at midfield in direct opposition to Shane Hennessy and Jerome Cahill slotted in at centre back to great effect. When Nenagh moved Shane Hennessy to centre forward Darragh followed suit and Jerome continued to prosper at midfield. With the backing of the breeze Nenagh began to enjoy more possession but found the Kilruane defence in defiant mood. It was MacDonaghs who drew first blood in the second half when Kieran Brereton pointed. Shane Hennessy replied with a point from a twenty metre free with the MacDonaghs expecting him to blast for goal. Cian Darcy restored the thirteen point advantage with a point from a free. Nenagh scored their third point and then Craig Morgan was forced to retire injured and Sean Qunlan entered the fray. Cian Darcy had the last score of the game with his second point from a free to leave the final score 3-7 to 0-3 in favour of MacDonaghs. After the game Sean Creamer chairman of North Tipperary Bord na nÓg, flanked by Eddie Tucker captain of the Nenagh team which won the 1984 championship, presented the cup to captain Willie Ryan.

This was a great team performance with every player contributing handsomely. Keeper Niall Shinners kept his goal intact and made a vital save in the opening half. He placed his puckouts intelligently. Rory McCarthy used his strength to great effect at full back and in the corners Arran Conroy and Brendan McAdams gave little away. Jerome Cahill was outstanding at both centre back and centrefield where he hovered up an amount of ball and tackled tigerishly. On the wing Paul Guidera had his best game of the season while on the other flank Kevin Shinners effected some lengthy clearances and got the better of his opponent.

Darragh Peters was back to his brilliant best and showed and had a great duel with Shane Hennessy. His partner James Cleary got better as the game wore on. Captain Willie Ryan led the attack with great commitment and determination and ensured that the Nenagh centre back delivered no long clearances. Right wing forward Kieran Brereton gave a superb display and helped himself to three points. On the other wing Declan Elderfield foraged gamely and took his goal well. Although full forward Cian Darcy didn’t score from play he posed a constant threat at the edge of the square. Craig Morgan had a dream game in the number thirteen shirt and finished top scorer with 2-1 to his name. In the other corner Roisin Cahill played very intelligent hurling, crossing some lovely balls and never crowding the space in front of goal. Substitutes Martin Grace and Sean Quinlan didn’t let the side down when called into action.

Scorers: Craig Morgan 2-1, Kieran Brereton 0-3, Declan Elderfield 1-0, Cian Darcy 0-2 and Jerome Cahill 0-1

Team: Niall Shinners, Arran Conroy, Rory McCarthy, Brendan McAdams, Paul Guidera, Jerome Cahill, Kevin Shinners, Darragh Peters, Declan Elderfield, Willie Ryan, Kieran Brereton, Roisin Cahill, Cian Darcy and Craig Morgan.

Subs: Martin Grace and Sean Quinlan

Subs not used: Ethan Hayes, Cormac Mannion, Tommy Dooley, Conor Lillis, Darragh Fogarty, Eoghan Mulcahy, Oisin O Meara and Sean Harty

Selectors: John Cahill, Christy Morgan, Ned Darcy and Paddy Williams.

Referee: Kieran Timmons Silvermines


Selector Ned Darcy was on the first Kilruane MacDonaghs team to win the North U-12 title in 1978. His son Cian lined out at full forward in this year’s final.

Remember the Team:

The Kilruane MacDonaghs team which defeated Roscrea in Moneygall in the 1979 North final on a 4-1 to 3-1 scoreline in Moneygall lined out as follows:

Eamon Kirby, Michael O Meara, Pat Gibson, Martin Cahalan , Tom Killackey, Joe Cahill, Michael Gaynor, Martin Tooher, Ger Maher (Capt) 2-0, Seamus Maher, Pádraig Williams, Paul Madden, George O Leary 1-0, David Quinlan 1-1 and Anthony Tooher.

Selectors: Connie Grace, Sonny Mulcahy and Gilbert Williams