Tá an Gorta Mór Thart! The Famine is Over! The twenty-eight year gap was bridged in Nenagh on Sunday with the North senior title coming to the parish for the nineteenth time after a 0-19 to 0-12 victory over Kiladangan. The eighteen previous triumphs were in 1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1906, 1907, 1908 (De Wets), 1940, 1944, 1959, 1965, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1990. On this occasion the players produced their best form of the year on the day that mattered most to confound prematch predictions and overcome a formidable Kiladangan outfit. On a perfect day for hurling a huge crowd of MacDonaghs supporters descended on MacDonagh Park, Nenagh.
Billy O’Shea and his colleagues opted for the same defence that operated against Annacarty while Ray McLoughney was introduced at midfield. Cian Darcy was deployed to lead the attack at centre-forward where his continuous movement caused serious headaches for the Kiladangan defence although his direct opponent Joe Gallagher also had a fine game. The Magpies played with the aid of the breeze in the first half but it was Kiladangan who opened the scoring with a pointed free from Darragh Egan in the second minute. Cian Darcy cancelled this out when he split the posts from a free two minutes later. The influential Jerome Cahill fired one over the crossbar in the 6th minute but Darragh Egan soon had the teams level from a 65. MacDonaghs struck a purple patch, raising four white flags on the trot including a brace from Cian Darcy (one from a free) and one each from Jerome Cahill and Brian O’Meara to establish a four-point cushion. For the remainder of the half the
lead fluctuated between three and five points. At the interval the scoreboard read 0-10 to 0-4 in favour of MacDonaghs.
Kiladangan were quickly out of the blocks in the second half and reduced the deficit to three. Niall O’Meara, now operating at corner-forward because of injury, was fouled and Cian Darcy converted the free to restore the four-point advantage. In the second half Kiladangan could never lower the margin to less than three. With fifty minutes gone the Magpies had stretched the lead to eight. Kildangan began hunting for goals and had some costly wides from frees. As the game entered injury time MacDonaghs were six points ahead. Niall O’Meara was fouled inside the large square and
Seamus Hennessy blasted the sliotar over the bar for the insurance point. As referee Peter Carroll sounded the long whistle it was the cue for hordes of MacDonaghs supporters to swarm on to the pitch to acclaim their heroes who had triumphed on a 0-19 to 0-12 scoreline. The Frank McGrath was on the way back to Cloughjordan for the first time since 1990. There were scenes of unbridled joy as supporters who had travelled from far and near embraced the players in an outpouring of emotion that probably hadn’t being witnessed since the All-Ireland club triumph in 1986. The years of steadily building the foundations at underage level had finally paid off in the senior championship. While Cian Darcy was named as the official man of the match with a haul of 0-12 this was essentially a team victory built on ferocious workrate and clever use of the ball. Team: Thomas Williams, Stephen Cleary, Darragh Peters, Eoin Hogan, Justin Cahill, Niall O’Meara (0-1), Craig Morgan, Seamus Hennessy (0-1 penalty), Ray McLoughney, Jerome Cahill (0-3), Cian Darcy (0-12, 0-7 from placed balls), Conor Cleary, Thomas Cleary (0-1), Brian O’Meara (0-1) and Kieran Cahill. Subs: James Cleary and Sean McAdams.
Jack Peters and Justin Cahill accepted the Frank McGrath Cup on behalf of the team from Mike Flynn, Chairman of the North Board. Long after the presentation the players and supporters lingered on the pitch to savour the victory. Mingling in the crowd were former captains Gerry McCarthy (1959), Len Gaynor (1965), Dinny Cahill (1977), Jim Williams (1978), Billy O’Shea (1979), Tony Sheppard (1985 & 1986), John Cahill (1987) and Pat Quinlan (1990). The players who had laboured without senior success for 28 years. Among that group were Mark O’Leary and Brian Gaynor who gave outstanding service in the black and white jersey. There was a fantastic atmosphere in the packed dressing room. Joe Whelan, Billy O’Shea, Eamon O’Shea, Seamus Hennessy and Tom Cleary, Club President, in their well-chosen words summed up what this victory meant to the parish. Tom had witnessed twelve of the nineteen victories. His first final was in 1940 when MacDonaghs had a one-point victory over Kiladangan in Borrisokane.
It was then on to the Abbey Court for the post match meal. A cavalcade of cars then headed for Cloughjordan passing the traditional environmentally-friendly bonfire lit by Liam Haverty at Kyle. The U14, minor and senior teams then walked up the village to mount the lorry which had been expertly parked by John Cahill where the three teams were given a rapturous reception by the assembled multitude. Gilbert Williams acted as MC for the proceedings with Joe Whelan, Billy O’Shea and Jack Peters all speaking. The crowd was loathe to disperse on the beautiful autumnal evening. Many stayed on to renew old acquaintances while others made their way to the local watering holes to continue the celebrations. On Monday a large cohort of players and club officials visited the four primary schools in the parish where they were enthusiastically greeted by pupils and teachers.
Billy O’Shea (Manager), Cormac McGrath (Coach), Pat McLoughney (Selector) with the invaluable assistance of Eamon O’Shea put in a huge amount of work with the team during the a season where the squad was hit with a catalogue of serious injuries. Thanks to trainer Mark Gleeson who had the players in fine fettle, phsyio June Whelan who had a very busy year dealing with the constant trickle of injuries and the extended backroom team who played crucial roles behind the scenes. Thanks to our magnificent supporters who really got behind the team on Sunday and flew the black and white colours in every corner of the parish. Commiserations to an outstanding Kiladangan outfit who made us battle all the way to the line. Nobody will be looking forward to meeting them in the County quarter-final.
Well done to the team and management on winning the County ‘B’ final in Borrisoleigh with a 4-9 to 2-9 victory over Arravale Rovers in Borrisoleigh. Against the breeze Eoin Carroll had MacDonaghs ahead with a pointed free in the second minute. However, they then had to survive a sticky opening quarter when the West champions raced into a 0-6 to 0-1 lead. A goal by Oisín Williams in the 15th minute brought the Magpies back into the game. Seven minutes later another goal from Jack Gleeson put Kilruane ahead by a point. Almost immediately Arravale responded with their first green flag. In added time came the crucial score of the game arrived when Eoin Carroll got inside the westerners defence and fired to the net to leave the North champions 3-2 to 1-7 ahead at the break.
Favourites Arravale made a lightning start to the second half with a goal in the second minute and it was game on. MacDonaghs then took the game by the scruff of the neck and had four points on the trot, 0-3 from Eoin Carroll and a long-range free from Jack Mulcahy. Arravale kept battling away but the MacDonaghs defence held firm and a rasper of a goal in the 20th minute from Oisín Williams ensured there was no way back for our opponents. Eoin Carroll converted two late frees to leave a six-point gap at the long whistle. After the game Martin Bourke, Chairman of Tipperary Coiste na nÓg, presented the trophy to captain Tom Larke. Congratulations to players and management on bringing the 56th County title to the parish. Manager Alan Carroll, coach Jimmy Cahill along with selectors Martin Cahalan, Niall Shinners and Jack Peters worked tirelessly with this team that showed considerable improvement throughout the year. Team : Zack Dervan, David Persse, Sean Hayes, Cathal England, Ross Austin, Tom Larke, Eamon Coonan, Tadhg O’Brien, Jack Mulcahy (0-1 free), Eoin Carroll (1-8, 0-4 frees & 0-1 65), Jack Gleeson (1-0), Oisín Williams (2-0), Danny Cahalan, Conal Daly and Thomas Coonan. Subs; Billy Hart and Tristan Madden
MacDonaghs (Bán) and Burgess played out a draw in Kilcolman. Each side scored 2-6. MacDonaghs (Dubh) shaded the verdict against Burgess at the same venue.
The panel travelled to Dr. Morris Park on Friday night to participate in a Blitz. We fielded three teams and had games against Burgess, Drom & Inch, Rockwell Rovers, Upperchurch Dombane, Fethard and Emly. The boys really enjoyed their first experience of playing under lights.
A cohort of our youngest players made their way to St. Cronan’s Park on Saturday morning to play Roscrea in a series of games. Each club fielded four teams.
Congratulations to Eva, Isabella and Noah Larkin, Eyrecourt, Galway who won €5,000 in the Tipperary Draw. They are the children of Noel Larkin, former coach with the MacDonaghs senior team and current Galway selector. Matt Cleary picked up €400 as the promoter.
The club extends sympathy to the family of Michael Shanahan, Manchester and formerly Knockbrack, Cloughjordan.