So near and yet so far! A last-gasp goal by Ronan Maher ended our county championship aspirations for 2018. It had been a tremendous effort against the reigning champions. No honour was lost with this performance. MacDonaghs carried their form from North final into this game. Mixing our traditional direct style with clever link-up play, the Magpies dominated the first half against the light breeze and deservedly took a 0-10 to 0-7 lead into the dressing room at the interval. Nine minutes into the second half Brian O’Meara had the huge MacDonaghs support in full voice when he finished to the corner of the net after a great movement involving Cian Darcy and Conor Cleary. Thurles were always going to rally but when Jerome Cahill scored a fantastic point in the 61st minute it looked like MacDonaghs would record a famous victory. However, Thurles struck the killer blow in the last minute of added time to claim a semi-final spot on a 2-14 to 1-16 scoreline.
It would be an understatement to say that players, management and supporters were disappointed. However, the players and management accepted the loss in the best traditions of the club. The bond that was so evident in the North Final triumph remained as strong as ever in defeat. No excuses were made and no blame was apportioned. The parish was proud of the way all conducted themselves in the aftermath. The team and management can harness the latest disappointment to drive on. This reverse can be the beginning or the end. Knowing the character of the panel and management the choice is easy. “A team is not defeated until it quits.” There is nobody ready to quit yet. MacDonaghs Abú!
Team: Thomas Williams, Stephen Cleary, Darragh Peters, Eoin Hogan, Craig Morgan, Niall O’Meara, Justin Cahill, Seamus Hennessy (0-3, 0-1 from sideline), James Cleary, Conor Cleary (0-2), Cian Darcy (0-8, 0-4 from frees), Jerome Cahill (0-3), Thomas Cleary, Brian O’Meara (1-0) and Kieran Cahill. Subs: Sean McAdams and Ray McLoughney.
Thanks to Billy O’Shea (Manager), Cormac McGrath (Coach), Pat McLoughney (Selector) with the invaluable assistance of Eamon O’Shea who brought the best out of the team. Thanks to Mark Gleeson (Trainer), June Whelan (Physio), Damien Franks (Kitman), Jimmy Brady (Hurleys) and the extended backroom team for their commitment throughout the season. Regaining the Frank McGrath Cup after a twenty-eight year lapse was no mean achievement. It has been a magnificent year for the MacDonaghs senior team. Our pride has been restored and MacDonaghs are once more respected throughout the county.
In the first round MacDonaghs will play Moneygall/Clonakenny. This fixture will probably take place on the weekend of 14th October. While Kiladangan will be red-hot favourites to claim the title – they were minor champions in 2015 – all six teams will give themselves a chance in what is a very open championship.
In the county ‘B’ semi-final MacDonaghs had to give second best to a formidable Drom & Inch outfit who controlled the game from the start and eventually prevailed on a 3-13 to 0-8 scoreline in Templederry. Our team had surpassed all expectations by winning the North title but had to give second best to the Mid champions on this occasion. From the start it was evident that Drom were a slick outfit who wouldn’t be out of place in the ‘A’ competition. MacDonaghs had the aid of the wind in the first half but trailed by seven points at the break. On this occasion there was to be no comeback by the Magpies.
Team: Kevin McDonald, Louis Kennedy, Páidí Williams, Aaron Morgan, Owen Usman, Mark O’Neill, Niosa Minogue, Shane McAteer, Sean McAdams, Fionnan Minogue, Kian O’Kelly, Matthew Spain, Devlin Courtney, David O’Sullivan and Eoin England. Subs: James Loughnane, Luke Morkan, Patrick Hayes, Barry Shanahan and Colm Cleary
Thanks to Damian Mulcahy (Manager), Niall O’Meara (Coach), John Quinlan and Eanna Hogan (Selectors) for their work with this team. They got the maximum return out of this group of players.
Our teams had mixed fortunes in their respective finals at the weekend. MacDonaghs (Bán) claimed the ‘A’ title with a 2-2 to 0-4 away victory over Burgess. This latest victory is the 158th divisional title to come to the parish. The home side dominated possession in the opening half but a brace of goals from Michael Cleary saw MacDonaghs lead 2-0 to 0-3 at the interval. Scores were at a premium on the turnover with both defences on top. Michael Cleary (free) and Tommy Burriss raised two crucial white flags in the second half. After the game Derek Sharkey, Chairman of Burgess Juvenile Club, presented the trophy to captain Paul Molloy.
Team: Cillian Franks, Johnny Naughnane, Cathal McIntyre, Cormac Gaynor, Tommy Burriss, Shane Cleary, Paul Molloy, Ray Quinlivan, William Jones, Michael Cleary and Dara O’Looney. Subs: Cillian Healy, Thomas O’Brien, Cormac Kennedy and Charlie Kennedy.
In the ‘D’ final, played in Nenagh, MacDonaghs (Dubh) lost 5-4 to 2-1 against Éire Óg. The teams were level at the break and although possession was fairly evenly shared in the second half the home side were more efficient in the scoring department and deservedly took the honours. Panel: Andrew Austin, Darragh White, Cormac Kennedy, Stasik Setikas, Jack Quinlisk, Tommy O’Meara,
Michael Hennelly, Charlie Kennedy (1-0), Fearghal Doheny (1-0), Thomas O’Brien, Donnacha O’Meara, Adam Carroll, Daniel Connolly and Fiachradh Ahearne Woods.
A meeting of the club committee will be held on this Thursday, 4th October at 9.00pm. All committee members are requested to attend.
The laying of the Astro Turf at the Hurling Wall will commence in early November. This development will be of immense benefit to all juvenile and adult teams in both hurling and camogie. To finance the project the club is about to launch a major fundraising drive. The Star Prize in the 700 Club will be a Citreon Car and there will be a total Prize Fund on excess of €20,000. The Parish has always backed us to the hilt and we are confident that supporters from near and far will rally to the cause once more.
The Camogie Club is holding its annual Poker Classic in Nenagh Golf Club on Sunday, 14th October at 6.00pm. Entrance fee is €20 with prize money pro rata.
Night at the Dogs
A “Night at the Dogs” in aid of Seamus Hennessy’s “Running for Josie” Fundraiser (Pieta House & Living Links) will be held in Thurles Greyhound Stadium on Saturday, 20th October at 8.00pm. Tickets, costing €20, are now on sale. The ticket gives you entry on the night and a chance to win €500 if your tickets corresponds with the finishing order in the specified race. Under 16s are free.
The club extends sympathy to the family of the late Peggy Hogan (née McKenna), Sue Ryder House, Nenagh and formerly Cloughjordan & Dalkey.