Mágh Cuilinn secure first Senior Championship win in 34 years

Post date: Jul 17, 2012 4:42:35 PM

Mágh Cuilinn 1-13 Pearses 1-12

Friday the 13th is not such a bad day after all. For Morgan Darcy, it was the seventh time it was the day before his birthday but there can hardly have been a sweeter one than this. After striving for Senior hurling for CIMC in four decades, he finally realised his dream in the last day of his thirties. He didn't let the opportunity pass, scoring from frees and play and even reprising his county career as goalkeeper with a last ditch goal line save as the 13 men tried to hang on desperately for a first competitive win of the season.

It was no more than Mágh Cuilinn deserved as they had dominated the game, achieved a greater proportion of their scores from play and struggled with a man less in the vital final minutes. Moycullen might have led at halftime but for some wayward shooting in the first half. Pearses were first off the mark as Emmett Ward converted three early frees despite several promising CIMC attacks that failed to yield a score. Morgan Darcy did finish a straightforward free to open the account but although the tactics were opening up the Pearses defence the scores did not come. At least two goal chances, one where Pearses goalkeeper struggled with a ball under the crossbar but the loose ball just evaded a couple of forwards and a second where Seamus Conneely knifed though the centre of the Pearses defence laid off to Conor Bohan who opted to shoot first time and was blocked, when his characteristic step might have put him in on goal. Pearses fourth point from a free was answered by Vinnie Faherty with the game's first point from play from a first time Eanna Noone delivery. The major incident of the half occurred when Sean Rossa McDermott was struck with hurley head high off the ball. The umpire intervened and the Pearses Seán Lally received a straight red. Sean Rossa following treatment for his injury was also shown red for his role in provoking the incident.

Despite the change this brought in the game, Mágh Cuilinn continued to dominate and further points from Morgan Darcy and Niall Mannion matched the Pearses tally. More worries emerged for Moycullen when Morgan Darcy sustained a bad gash on the shin but while Eanna Noone converted the resultant free, Ray McDonnell did the running repairs and Morgan resumed. The halftime score was of 0-6 to 0-5 was a worrying one for Pearses as with Tommy Larkins winning by six in Loughrea, Pearses were heading out of the Championship.

After Pearses missed the first opportunity of the second half to score from an Emmett Ward free, Moycullen took the opportunity take control with points from Niall Mannion and a Morgan Darcy free. Pearses responded to level the match again but then Moycullen went on a run of points to open a gap which included two superb 70 metre frees from Morgan Darcy from the left sideline, the first bisected the posts, the second hit the post but Chris Hurney was on hand to scoop the loose ball over the bar. Darcy was on hand to feed Eanna Noone again and he calmly stepped inside the defender to score from 60 metres. Several chances fell to both sides before Pearses responded with a point from play. The three point gap was restored by Vinnie Faherty who was finding more space as Pearses committed Cyril Donnellan to the attack. Pearses tagged it back again but Vinnie delivered the ball toward goal and the onrushing Niall Mannion directed first time but precisely to Morgan Darcy in space and in on goal. Forced to take it on his less favoured right his low shot was parried superbly by Fergus Flannery but Chris Hurney was on hand again to coolly lifted it over the prone and scrambling Flannery into the roof of the net. It was now a five point game, 1-11 to 0-09 and even though things in Loughrea had tightened, Pearses were fighting for their Championship lives. Jimmy Gelston pulled back two points from play but a Mark Lydon surge out of defence was halted illegally and Morgan Darcy added to his tally. Vinnie Faherty restored the five point margin as Mágh Cuilinn tried to see out the final minutes. Tomás Higgins halted another Donnellan surge illegally and paid the price receiving a second yellow card. As the latest score in Loughrea was announced as 2-13 to 1-15 to Larkins, Ward went for goal, unsuccessfully with first Eric Fox, then Barry Faherty and finally Morgan Darcy all defending the line from successive shots. Cyril Donnellan fired over a frustrated point as the clock ticked on. With Mágh Cuilinn defending another onslaught inside the 13 metre line, Emmett Ward stood off and when the ball broke out to him and he stepped to his right and fired a rocket to the left of unsighted Eric Fox in goal. The scoreboard clock was stopped on 30 minutes but a point might be enough for Pearses. They got one last free under the stand almost exactly where Morgan Darcy had hit his two in the opposite direction. Cyril Donnellan took it on after two others had squared up and moved the ball a little closer. It still lacked the legs, although landing dangerously but Mágh Cuilinn claimed possession and some redemption as the final whistle sounded.

Magh Cuilinn: Eric Fox, Seán Rossa McDermott, Matt Donohoe, Barry Faherty, Tomás Higgins, Mark Lydon, Seosamh O'Fatharta, Eanna Noone, Patrick Reilly, Christopher Hurney, Vinnie Faherty, Niall Mannion, Morgan Darcy, Conor Bohan, Seamus Conneely:

Subs: Robert Molloy for Patrick Reilly

Subs not used: Michael Darcy, Michael Hurney, David Faherty, John Faherty, Paul Burke, Shane Barrett: