By Noel Horgan
Tadgh MacCarthaigh 2-12
AS agonising defeats go, they don’t come any more painful than this.
Having erased a seven-point interval deficit, Tadgh MacCarthaigh had their bid for glory in the county U21 C football final shattered when Darren Lucey slotted over a 45 for Donoughmore with virtually the last kick of a pulsating encounter at Páirc Uí Rinn last Friday evening.
To say it was traumatic experience for the Caheragh side would be an understatement, as was acknowledged by selector Shane O’Driscoll, who suggested they didn’t enjoy the rub of the green over the hour.
‘We missed a penalty in the first half, and it was a heartbreaking way to lose it in the end,’ he stated.
‘To be honest, we felt we were in a good position at half time, because there was a fairly strong wind there, but we didn’t make the most of our chances in the second half.
‘Maybe Donoughmore were that bit stronger than us at the same time, but we’re immensely proud of our lads, and I’ve no doubt we’ll be seeing them on a bigger stage than this in the years ahead,’ Crowley concluded.
Tadgh MacCarthaigh made the better start, with centre back Charlie McCarthy instigating a move that yielded a point from Paddy Burke before firing over another himself in the sixth minute.
By the time Tadgh MacCarthaigh added to their tally, courtesy of a free by McCarthy, Donoughmore had put 1-3 on the board – their goal coming from a converted penalty by Darren Lucey.
After Lucey, taking over from goalkeeper Michael Buckley, proved equal to a Charlie McCarthy penalty, he really sent Donoughmore’s prospects soaring when completing a powerful run from deep with a cracking goal that left them leading by 2-4 to 0-4 inside 16 minutes.
It was 2-6 to 0-5 at half time, with Gavin Dineen completing the first-half scoring for Tadgh MacCarthaigh.
Dineen was on target again five minutes into the second half, and Tadgh MacCarthaigh had received a massive boost two minutes earlier when Eugene Daly goaled from close range after latching on to a sideline kick by Killian Murray.
Donoughmore responded with a brace of points from ever-menacing corner forward Martin O’Sullivan – the second of which was a goal-attempt that went over via the crossbar – before Daly struck again for Tadgh MacCarthaigh, touching home a low delivery from Paddy Burke to make it 2-8 to 2-6 in the 39th minute.
Daly and especially Burke were most impressive up front for Tadgh MacCarthaigh after the interval when centre back Charlie McCarthy and midfielders Sean McCarthy and Killian Murray were also very much to the fore as an enthralling battle for supremacy unfolded.
Crucially, the Carbery standard-bearers, despite enjoying a slight territorial edge in the second half, were unable to regain the lead, but Donoughmore were certainly relieved after the hard-working Dylan Murray blasted a goal-chance over the bar for Tadgh MacCarthaigh in the 52nd minute.
That left the teams tied at 2-10 apiece, and a replay looked on the cards after the rampant Paddy Burke negated a couple of Donoughmore scores to earn Tadgh MacCarthaigh parity again deep in the stoppage time.
Ice-cool Darren Lucey tilted the issue in Donoughmore’s favour with his converted 45 at the death, however, much to the frustration of the gallant losers, whose hopes had suffered a set-back prior to the throw-in when regular centre-back Tom Daly failed a fitness-test.
Donoughmore: D Lucey 2-3 (1-0 penalty, 0-1 45), M O’Sullivan 0-5, B Barrett 0-2, J Bruton, J Fordem J Kennedy (f) 0-1 each.
Tadgh MacCarthaigh: E Daly 2-0, P Burke 0-4, C McCarthy 0-4 (3f), G Dineen 0-2, E O’Donovan and D Murray 0-1 each.
Donoughmore: M Buckley; K Aherne, B O’Callaghan, D Looney; N O’Callaghan, A Looney, A Jones; D Lucey, J Forde; C Murphy, B Honohan, B Barrett; M O’Sullivan, J Bruton, J Kennedy.
Sub: O Buckley for Aherne (37).
Tadgh MacCarthaigh: B Keohane; M McCarthy, G Barnett, D O’Connor; B Crowley, C McCarthy, P Keane; S McCarthy, K Murray; P Crowley, E O’Donovan, D Murray; E Daly, P Burke, G Dineen.
Subs: K Daly for P Crowley (40), M Cotter for Dineen (55, black card).
Referee: T Lyons (Douglas).