MacDonaghs qualified for their first North final since 1994 with a 3-12 to 1-14 victory over Burgess in Nenagh. Two years ago it was Burgess who triumphed at this stage of the championship. On this occasion a blistering start by the Magpies, which yielded three goals inside nine minutes, laid the foundation for victory. MacDonaghs had the aid of a strong diagonal wind in the opening half. After two minutes James Williams cut a peach of a ground ball into the path of Brian O’Meara who raised a green flag. A minute later Conor Cleary stuck the sliotar in the onion bag and James Williams found the net in the ninth minute. Burgess eventually got on the scoreboard in the tenth minute with a pointed free from Stephen Murray. MacDonaghs continued to dominate and after 26 minutes the scoreboard read 3-6 to 0-3 in their favour. However, Burgess were thrown a lifeline in the 28th minute when sloppy defending gifted them a goal. Kilruane hit three wides in a row and Burgess finished the half with a brace of white flags. A comfortable twelve-point lead had been reduced to seven at the interval and it was game on.
Burgess tacked on two points at the start of the second half and the deficit was down to five. In the 39th minute Thomas Cleary fired over a crucial point to help stem the Burgess resurgence. However, the momentum was with Burgess and with ten minutes left the margin was down to two. MacDonaghs responded to the challenge and Burgess couldn’t get any closer. The Magpies dug deep and extended their advantage to four points with Seamus Hennessy firing over the insurance point from a free in added time. It may not have been the best performance of the year, but it was definitely the best victory. Semi-finals are there to be won and the team showed great character when Burgess mounted a serious challenge in the second half.
Team: Thomas Williams, Ray McLoughney, Jack Peters, Éanna Hogan, Willie Cleary, Niall O’Meara, Eoin Hogan, Justin Cahill (0-2), Seamus Hennessy (0-4), Thomas Cleary (0-1), Conor Cleary (1-0), Kieran Cahill (0-1), James Williams (1-1), Brian O’Meara (1-1) and Cian Darcy (0-1). Subs: Tomás Hogan (0-1), Darragh Peters, Mark O’Meara and Declan Barrett.
MacDonaghs face Kiladangan in the final on this Sunday, 18th September in Thomas MacDonagh Park at 2.00pm. This is an absolutely massive test for the team. Few outside the parish are giving MacDonaghs any chance against the red-hot favourites. The players and management have put in a huge effort throughout the year and need your support on Sunday. This will not be a day to be neutral in support of MacDonaghs. We need to hear our supporters really get behind the team and drive them over the line. Best wishes to players and management.
MacDonaghs hosted Moneygall last week for two very enjoyable games. We had a brilliant turnout of twenty-six players.
Congratulations to Pádraig and Sean Kelly who won €200 in the County Draw.
The club extends sympathy to the Slevin family, Ardcroney on the death of Conor Slevin and to the Keogh family, Benedine on the death of Olive Keogh.