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13 Aug 2016 by Gilbert Williams

On last Saturday evening August 13th 2016 MacDonaghs staged a remarkable recovery in Moneygall to clinch the Jim Devitt Cup with a 4-21 to 3-17 victory over Drom & Inch. This was the second occasion this particular trophy has come to the parish — in 2008 MacDonaghs defeated Boherlahan in Templemore. At the interval the Magpies were ten points in arrears. Four minutes into the second half the gap had widened to eleven. Amazingly, in an eighteen-point swing MacDonaghs hit four 4-10 in reply to 0-4 for Drom to turn an eleven-point deficit into a seven-point winning margin. On a perfect evening for hurling Drom had the aid of the breeze in the first half. However, it was Brian O’Meara — he was on fire the whole evening and Drom tried three different markers on him — who raised the first white flag of the match. Drom, dominating in most areas of the field, hit 1-4 without reply. The Kilruane defence opened up like the Red Sea for the goal. After seventeen minutes Drom led by 1-8 to 0-3 and threatened to go out of sight. MacDonaghs managed to hang in and after twenty-two minutes were just five points adrift. Drom struck for the second goal in the twenty-fifth minute as once again our defence was carved open — worrying signs for future games — and Drom had their second green flag. The Mid team finished the half strongly and were 2-13 to 0-9 ahead at the break.

Obviously, the management delivered some home truths at half-time because MacDonaghs emerged a transformed outfit in the second half. Seamus Hennessy pointed a 65 and Thomas Cleary added a white flag. In the 34th minute they were dealt a severe blow when an innocuous delivery was delivered into the MacDonaghs goalmouth. As the defence was caught napping a Drom forward steered the sliotar to the net. It appeared to be a mortal blow. However, this setback seemed to galvanise the Magpies into action. They began to dominate all over the pitch and struck 3-7 in the next fourteen minutes, while Drom could only muster one white flag in reply. Amazingly, in that sixteen-minute period an eleven-point deficit was transformed to into a three point lead. The goals had come from Conor Cleary, James Cleary and Brian O’Meara. A goal in the 59th minute by Eoin Williams put the icing on the cake. The manner of victory was very pleasing.  A team that was labouring in the first half — Brian O’Meara, Willie Cleary and Jack Peters did most to keep the ship afloat in that period — threw off the shackles and demonstrated that they could triumph in adversity. This latest victory leaves the club Roll of Honour as follows: County Titles 51 and North Titles 151. Interestingly, the club has won at least one trophy every year (1997 to 2016) i.e. twenty consecutive years with silverware coming to the parish.

Team: Thomas Williams, Éanna Hogan, Jack Peters, Ray McLoughney, Conor Austin, Willie Cleary, Eoin Hogan, Seamus Hennessy (0-8), Justin Cahill (0-1), Brian O’Meara (1-4), Conor Cleary (1-0), Jonathan Cahill, James Williams, Kieran Cahill (0-4) and James Cleary (1-1). Subs: Tomás Hogan, Thomas Cleary (0-3) and Eoin Williams (1-0).

Challenge Cup V Drom