Defence of All Ireland 11s Title

Post date: Sep 7, 2013 12:36:27 PM

Magh Cuilinn are in Ratoath defending their All Ireland 11 title from 2012.

Eric Fox, Eanna Noone, Sean Rossa McDermott, Barry Faherty, Seosamh O'Faharta, John Faherty, Michael Hurney, Niall Mannon, Chris Hurney, Paul Burke, Tommy Newell, Morgan Darcy, Jack Kelly, Ronan Higgins, Seamus Conneely are battling hard to retain the Cup.

In their first match straight off the bus they played Knockaderry of Limerick who forced a draw with us in last year's competition. They also played in the exact same jersey as Mágh Cuilinn but as Mágh Cuilinn came prepared, they played in their white set. It was nip and tuck again with a goal from Niall Mannion the crucial score in a 1-04 to 0-07 point victory.

The second game against Abbeyknockmoy started well with Tommy Newell scoring a fine goal to put Magh Cuilinn in front but it was all Abbey after that as they ran out 4-06 to 2-03 winners.

In the third game, Mágh Cuilinn faced Confey of Kildare and although they were the dominent side an early emphasis on scoring goals and some poor tracking in defence meant the champions never pulled away as should have. Despite conceding 3-02, a score of 1-09 provided the bare minimum to just get over the line at the end.

It appeared that Mágh Cuilinn's qualification would be secure if Abbeyknockmoy defeated Knockaderry as expected and they overcame Blackhall Gaels in their final game. That was not how it turned out. Having already lost a player from their panel through injury in the Mágh Cuilinn game, Abbeyknockmoy suffered a straight red after five minutes against Knockaderry. In an 11 a-side game on a full pitch being down to ten men is a huge disadvantage and although the now 13 man panel battled bravely to the end Knockaderry prevailed by the game's only goal. With Knockaderry finished their programme, Mágh Cuilinn's previous narrow wins meant their had vastly inferior points difference to both Knockaderry and Abbeyknockmoy (should they beat Confey in their last game). In fact to overcome Knockaderry would require an 18 point victory over Blackhall Gaels.

With Blackhall tiring and Mágh Cuilinn showing determination, over half the required total had been achieved by halftime. In the second half, Paul Burke, reprised his opportunist goal in the Minor final of 2003; twice. In the end a 24 point margin was secured to guarantee a place in the semifinals by 6-10 to 1-01 with almost a dozen players scoring.

So sure were Knockaderry of Abbeyknockmoy's victory in the final game that several of their players showered and changed in preparation for the journey home. However, drained by their valiant effort with 10 men and reduced to only 2 interchange players, Abbey imploded going down 4-08 to 3-05 and the Knockaderry boys had to get the gear out of the bag again and faced Lusmugh of Offaly in the first semi-final losing a five point first half advantage, going down inthe second to come back and win by one.

Meanwhile, Mágh Cuilinn faced local rivals Kilconieron in their semi-final, the game turned on a couple of unlucky incidents. Trailing two point to one, Mágh Cuilinn went for goal from a 20m free, but Eanna Noone's shot hit the underside of the crossbar, bounced down and in the absence of Hawkeye was swept to safety. Not only that but a handling error from the clearance let Kilconieron through on goal and the they completed the six point turnaround. Some overanxious shooting and focus on goals meant a deficit of 1-03 to 0-01 at halftime. An early point from Chris Hurney was encouraging and when Niall Mannion finished to the net decisively, Mágh Cuilinn were right back in it. However, Kilconieron went straight back down the pitch and restored their advantage and added a further point moments later. Mágh Cuilinn now pressed for goals but when Seán Rossa McDermott's shot came off the foot of the post it looked like it was not to be Mágh Cuilinn's day. So it proved and despite several half chances for goals, Mágh Cuilin could do no more that exchange points once before the end. Final score 2-05 to 1-03.

In the final it was the team in the green jersey and the white sash who were ready to head for the N7 a couple of hours earlier, that once again prevailed. Their county player Tom Condon was declared Player of the Tournament.