It has been a positive hurling year for Domhnall McMahon so far, even if part of it was lost to the Covid-19 lockdown.
2020 saw the Tubber man making his senior debut for Brian Lohan’s Clare as he played his part in Clare’s National League run.
That progress was brought to a sudden halt with the outbreak of the virus, but since the resumption of sporting activity, McMahon has continued his strong form to play a key role in helping Tubber to a third Clare intermediate hurling final in the last four years.
McMahon, a final year business student in Athlone IT, admits even getting back on to the field was a bonus but they are now ready to make the most of the opportunity that lies ahead.
“It is was unexpected for everyone this year I think given all that has gone on over the last few months but we are just happy to be back in a county final. We were there in recent years and it did not fare out too well for us, but we are back there now again and we are hoping to get a good result. We are a much different team now than we were on those days and we have had some really good young players join up with us in the likes of Joey Droney. There are a few lads from places like Ballyvaughan who have also been a big help to us because numbers can often be tight so that is a positive too. We have experience of what it is like to get to finals but the other side of that is we have two of them lost now at this stage so hopefully this will be our year to put that right” he outlined.
Tubber have shown patches of good form en route to Sunday’s decider, opening their campaign with a 3-13 to 0-10 win over Cratloe’s second side. Another second string pushed them all the way in the second round as they had to dig deep to see of the challenge of Inagh-Kilnamona by the minimum. A strong second string Sixmilebridge were their quarter final opponents, and that 5-14 to 0-12 win announced the North Clare men as real title contenders. They followed that up with a blistering 5-15 to 0-15 dismantling of fellow contenders St Joseph’s Doora Barefield, and McMahon is confident there is more to come.
“We had a rocky game against Inagh-Kilnamona and we felt that we didn’t really perform that day even though we still got over the line. Our form has been good though since that game so we are pleased with how we are progressing. It means a lot to us to be back in the final, particularly during the times that we find ourselves in now because it has given a lift to the whole community. Hopefully there will be a few spectators at the game because the crowd always helps with the atmosphere and can often drive you on at times when you might be struggling. That being said, I don’t think it has made much impact on how we approach games or I don’t think not having them has had a negative impact on us either” he said.
McMahon’s intercounty debut saw him link up with clubmate Pat O’Connor on the county flagship team. He feels he has been having a positive year so far.
“It was great to get that call, and while I did a bit with the county panel last year, I was really thrown into it this year and got a bit of game time and I have been really enjoying it to be honest. It has been great having Pat O’Connor in there with me too and he has been a great help because he knows the ropes of it at this stage. It is always good to know someone that is in there already. I am really enjoying my hurling this year, and that might be down to not having anything during lockdown. Since we went back training with the club after lockdown, we have had a great commitment and lads really appreciate having that outlet back again” he stated.
A strong test from a balanced Scariff awaits in Sunday’s final, with the Tubber men being coached by Galway’s Iarla Tannian. McMahon admits it will be a tough challenge but feels confident they are prepared for what lies in store.
“They are going to be no pushover and I felt they were really flying in their semi-final win over Smith O’Brien’s. There will be nothing between us on the day but hopefully we can come out on top. We have had great numbers at training and things have been going really well since our win against St Joseph’s. The intensity levels have been really high and everyone is just really looking forward to getting on to the field. Having Iarla involved with the team has been great because he brings great experience to the set up and that is great for the younger lads to draw on. He has been through it all before himself so having the level of knowledge on our side is a real positive” he concluded.