It was 30 years in the making but last Sunday evening shortly after 5pm, all the memories of those 30 years were put to bed when Michael Conroy climbed the steps of McHale Park and collected the Sweeney Cup in front of delighted team-mates, family, friends, and supporters from all over the Ballindine and Irishtown area.
It has been a long road since the dark evenings in early January when Pete Warren gathered together the squad for the first time this year and the plan was plotted for the year. A plan which all in black and red last Sunday committed to, and they were rewarded with the ultimate prize and a crack at senior football next summer. “The dark days are over,” said Conroy, in his speech before the crowds, and they certainly are for Davitts.
Playing with the aid of a strong wind in the first half Davitts raced into a 0-10 to 0-3 lead a the break. Conroy was the main man in attack, leading the attack in the first half, kicking five wonderful points in the opening 30 minutes. His pace and power was something Burrishoole were not able to cope with as he kicked four of those five points from play. But it was not in the full forward line alone that the strong foothold in the game was started. In the middle of the field Paul Carey and Ronan McNamara dominated the exchanges and they set in motion a lot of the play that was finished off by the attack. In defence Colm Boyle was heroic putting in an almost man of the match-stealing display in the number six shirt, while David McDonnagh showed all his experience doing the simple things right, and when called upon hitting a a duo of wonder points none more so than the one from out near the sideline on the standside of the pitch in the first half.
While the first half went as well as could be hoped for, they knew the second half was going to be tough when they played into the teeth of a gale. Only once did Burrishoole draw level them in the contest and put the game back on a knife edge, but Davitts reacted like true champions. First Aidan McTighe scored a point under pressure close in to re-establish their lead, and then a last gasp interception by Colm Roache when a killer goal looked to be there for the taking. From that interception, the ball was worked up field where a free was awarded well out from goal. But Ronan McNamara stepped up and hit as sweet a shot as you could hope for to drive the ball over the bar and kickstart the celebrations as full time was just around the corner.
Minors match their mentors
It was not just the older heads who were celebrating in black and red last Sunday evening, as the club’s minor team provided the perfect support act earlier in the day. In a tough and hard fought contest it was goals that proved to be the kingmaker, and two goals from the boot of Clive Hennigan were the deciding factor in Davitts’ win over Kiltimagh in the county minor B final in McHale Park. Hennigan picked up the man of the match award after the game, but players like David Mitchell in goal, Mark Roynane, Jason Connelly, and Andrew Peters all played more than their part in kicking off a historic day for Davitts.