When starting the Galway Intermediate Hurling Championship last year, Croke Park did not feature much in Cappataggle’s thoughts, but that is where they will be operating on Sunday.
An All Ireland final clash with Blarney provides the latest chapter in Cappataggle's history, and with senior hurling following in April, these really are exciting times for the east Galway club..
Who would have predicted that Cappataggle would embark on such an adventure after their second group game in the county intermediate championship ended in a trimming by Abbeyknockmoy? That was a cruel hour for Cappataggle, but since that loss, they have regrouped impressively.
Dealing with setbacks is crucial in sport, and Cappatagle absorbed the lessons from that disaster to claim senior status for 2009, and a trip to GAA headquarters is a welcome fillip for any club in the land.
Serious questions were asked of Cappataggle's in the All Ireland semi-final by a Nicky Horan inspired Kilmessan. Horan has been a significant contributor for Meath during the past decade and was hurling well at the penultimate stage, but Cappataggle remained resolute.
Inevitably Cappataggle will trust that county panellists James Skehill and Damien Joyce can guide their colleagues through the Croke Park process. Skehill is among the country's most promising custodian's, while Joyce offers guile and experience to Cappataggle, and it was his fortuitous goal that laid the foundation for victory against Kilmessan.
Joyce's free gave Cappataggle hope just at a stage when Kilmessan were beginning to believe. With Alan Dolan drilling over points too, Cappataggle remained in contention, and though Kilmessan kept plugging away, the Galway outfit showed the pluck and perseverance needed. With the issue delicately poised David Burns netted the major after Daniel Loughnane's initial effort had been saved, and Cappatagle's berth in the decider was booked.
It was an encouraging start to competitive action in 2009. Having been grouped with Kinvara, Liam Mellows, Clarinbridge, and Kiltormer in the Galway senior championship Cappataggle will not be resting for another couple of months, but the constant challenges brings interest and anticipation to the hinterlands of Cappataggle, Kilconnell, and Kilreekil from where the panel hail.
The county semi-final triumph over Annaghdown was achieved with a goal-laden display, but in the local showpiece Cappataggle were forced to eke out a narrow success over Killimordaly in a game that was all about heart. Killimordaly shaded the first period, but throughout this stirring campaign Cappataggle have proven to be adept at surviving, and such grit may be required on the Jones Road next Sunday.
At this stage last year Tommie Larkins came within a whisker of landing a national trophy, but Clonkill of Westmeath grabbed the silverware, while 12 months previously Killimordaly were seen off by London outfit Robert Emmets. Cappataggle will venture to the capital aware of the considerable task that awaits against a Blarney outfit has special incentive to win the final as, like the GAA itself, this is the club’s 125th anniversary. However Cappataggle are blessed with enough expertise to make a bold bid for honours.