Seventh heaven for Kilcar

By Michael McMullan

KILCAR won their seventh Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachtatitle on Monday in Cork.

It was fitting on two fronts. Captain Eoin McHugh followed in the footsteps of his father James who lifted the cup in 1990.

With the club celebrating its 100 year, it was another entry into the roll of honour of Donegal’s smallest parish.

Kilcar won four titles in five years at the turn of the nineties, a spell when they annexed half of their six Donegal Senior Championships.

Their latest success makes up for losing the 2019 to Kerry’s An Gaeltacht when their semi-final and final both went to extra-time over the weekend.

“In the end, players were just dropping and we lost by a point,” said club PRO James Byrne. “It’s nice to make up for that loss. We were supposed to host it this year as well but Covid knocked everything back two years.”

The competition is played over the bank holiday weekend. Kilcar were winners over Cork’s Béal Atha an Ghaortaidh on Saturday evening.

It was a scrappy performance but enough to book a semi-final spot with host club Cill na Martra.

“We were three points down with eight minutes to go and Matthew McClean scored an injury-time point from wing to equalise it up,” Byrne said of their semi-final.

“Then we were down two points the next day and we came back even though men were falling with cramp.

“Ciarán McGinley is 34 and Martin McHugh is 35. Ciarán just keeps going and going.

“That was really the team you had to beat because they were the hosts, had a big crowd and were really up for it.”

Kilcar were 0-20 to 1-8 winners of Galway’s Naomh Anna in their first ever final. Five points from Stephen McBrearty capped off his 1-14 tally over the weekend with McGinley again leading the charge from midfield.

With the silverware tucked away, Kilcar can now continue their plans for the rest of the season. Their last Dr Maguire success came in 2017. Since then, their penalty shoot-out defeat to Naomh Conaill in the final three years later.

Michael Hegarty has taken over as manager and has Martin McHugh involved. They have former senior winning managers Barry Doherty (2017) and Seamus Gallagher (1993) involved in the setup that has senior and reserves all under the same roof.

“They have a wealth of experience along the line,” Byrne said.

There is also the pride of having Patrick McBrearty lifting the Anglo Celt Cup before making his 150th senior appearance for Donegal in Cork when his seven points couldn’t reel in a goal hungry Rebel side.

“It was great to see Patrick lining the cup, it’s great the great buzz about that…pride that one of our own is the captain of the team,” Byrne said.

“This is a massive year for us with the centenary. We struggled for years in the sixties with emigration and just different things.

“Maybe at the AGM, you’d have three or four people turn up to it trying to keep things together.”

A junior title in the early seventies was followed by three successive u-21 wins to lay the foundation for their successful team of the late eighties. By 1980, the club’s second team were in the junior final.

“Things developed in that space of time,” Byrne sums up. “Ciarán McGinley’s father Seán played for years up to the late 40s and he’s the current president. “There’s the McHughs and all of the family ties still there now.”

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