BY BARRY O’MAHONY
DONOUGHMORE created history in July when they won the county U21C football championship title.
The Muskerry side defeated Tadhg MacCarthaigh in the final by 2-13 to 2-12. The emotional scenes on the Páirc Uí Rinn pitch after the final whistle had to be seen to be believed, as Donoughmore players, supporters and club officials mingled in the middle of the pitch.
One of their heroes was wing-back Darren Lucey, who is the winner of the Auld Triangle and Muskerry Sports Star award for July.
Lucey scored 2-3 on that historic evening, with the talented youngster converting a 45 metre free in the last minute of the contest to clinch the win for his side. On top of that, Lucey went in goal just for a Tadhg MacCarthaigh penalty after ten minutes, and superbly saved Charlie McCarthy’s well-struck effort.
‘It’s a fantastic achievement to collect this unique award. I was only told tonight that I am the first Donoughmore player to win this award, so I am just thrilled to be honest,’ Lucey said.
There was no shortage of action in July, so for Lucey to come out on top is testament to the 21-year-old’s showing in the decider.
‘It was a shock when I received the call. A couple of the friends were onto me recently saying you will surely win the July award, and thankfully I came out on top.’
Lucey’s showing in the final can’t be underestimated. It’s the kind of performance you dream of when you’re a kid.
‘I was always confident we were going to win. I messaged one of the lads a few hours before the game saying, we will be county champions in a few yours time. You might say that’s being cocky, but I and the rest of the team had belief and confidence,’ he said.
Lucey kicked only one free in the 2018 championship but it was a decisive one, to say the very least.
‘Believe it or believe it not, it was my first 45 metre free of the year,’ he explained.
‘It was the Kerry inside me that put the ball over the bar; my father is from Kerry. My initial reaction was to win the kick-out. If the opposition won it, the ref would have given them time to muster up a chance. Thankfully we won the kick-out and the final whistle sounded.’
Lucey was delighted for one family after the historic triumph.
‘It meant a lot to the club. The selector Sean O’Shea came up to me after the game, he grabbed me and gave me a big hug, and said thanks a million for what you have just produced. Sean’s son Darragh was team captain, but was unable to play due to illness. The win meant more to the O’Shea family than me. I was thrilled for them.’