GLEANINGS FROM THE GAELS
ONE moment in time, as the song says. A whole season, months of strife and endeavour, commitment and dedication, rising hopes and bright future, all come down to that one moment in time.
Will it be a glorious one such as Jack Murphy kicking the winning point for Dromtarriffe or a heartbreaking one such as Liam Thompson miskicking the chance of an equaliser into the goalkeeper’s hands in injury time? Fate can be cruel at times.
Kilmacabea were on the cusp of a glorious launch of the new ship, Kilmac Intermediates, but instead it turned into the disastrous shipwreck of the Kilmac Juniors.
As they examine the wreckage all along the shore this week, they will indeed wonder how they can set about rebuilding the ship for a new season in 2019. It certainly won’t be easy as they know they had this one in their hands, the finishing line in sight.
How they stumbled and got caught in the doldrums within sight of the shore is something that will, and must, be closely examined so that when they rebuild the ship there will be subtle differences here and there that will make it more slick, more sturdy and more storm-proof than the old model.
The missed penalty by Daniel O’Donovan that might have put them out of sight at half time, the failure to kick on from a five-point lead in the second half, the concession of two sloppy goals, the heartbreak of missed chances to kick an equaliser that might have guaranteed another day out, all of that experience will be part of a new ship that will sail out from Leap and Glandore in 2019.
It was Sonia O’Sullivan’s father who once said when his famous daughter was beaten, ‘Nobody died here,’ and Kilmacabea will indeed reflect that while the ship may have sunk, the crew all survived and with a little rest and recuperation will be ready to crew the new ship in 2019.
Under the old junior system, Kilmacabea would probably be county junior champions today as they beat divisional winners from Duhallow and the City in the county championship.
However, under the new system we now have divisional runners-up as county champions for the second year in a row as Dromtarriffe follow the example of their fellow-Duhallow men, Knocknagree. Whether that is right or wrong is an argument for another day but it certainly is tough on the Kilmacs.
However, when all is said and done, the Kilmacs will reflect that this was a game they should have won. They looked the better football side for much of the game, seemed to have it in their grasp in the second half and deserved at least a draw in the closing minutes. That they lost despite all that isn’t easy to swallow but lessons will be learned. No county title is easily won and it’s the team with their noses in front at the end of the final that carries home the silverware.
Certainly, the Kilmacs weathered a few tough storms in this campaign, including the South West quarter-final against Castlehaven, the double final against Tadhg MacCárthaigh and the county quarter-final and replay against Boherbue. All these games showed that the Kilmacs have really matured as a team during the past five seasons and that they are within touching distance of the county title.
A couple of adjustments here and there, especially in defence, will make them even harder to beat. It was encouraging that it was two of the unsung, young heroes, Ian Jennings and Timmy Nyhan, who got the goals on Saturday and they will have to squeeze another couple of seasons out of the established ‘veterans’ Daniel O’Donovan, Clive Sweetnam, Donncha McCarthy, Sam O’Driscoll, etc.
The ship and crew had a new captain this season, Noel McCarthy, and he nearly did the job in his first season in charge but as his predecessor, Kevin O’Driscoll, will tell him, it takes time to turn a crew into a trophy-winning combination and now that he has found his feet, he will be better able to leave his own mark on this outfit.
This final defeat, one that should and could have been reversed, will either break them or make them. How many great boxers would tell you that it’s not how many times you’re knocked down in a fight that counts but how many times you get back on your feet and keep going.
It won’t be easy for either Kilmacabea or Kilbree to face into another long season in 2019. What did Kilbree think when they saw their semi-final conquerors by a single point, Russell Rovers, losing the final narrowly to Cloughduv on Saturday.
The forward who did most of the damage for Rovers against Kilbree, Budd Hartnett, managed only a single point on Saturday. Had Kilbree limited Hartnett like that, they could be county champions today, but such is championship hurling and football.
What Kilmacabea and Kilbree both proved is that Carbery junior football and hurling is right up with the best in the county. Bandon and Gabriel Rangers proved that in football in recent years but we were genuinely worried about the standard of junior hurling in the division.
The Carbery finalists, Kilbree and Ballinascarthy, both proved in the county championship that there is not much wrong with Carbery hurling and that we might see a county junior title coming to the division, sooner rather than later.
– Slán go Fóill