Donal O’Hara: “Future’s bright.  We just have to keep pushing on”

Cushendun defender Donal O’Hara speaks to Brendan McTaggart after his side were defeated in the Intermediate Final…

Cushendun’s centre half Donal O’Hara was with friends and family at the final whistle, taking in his surroundings when we approached him for an interview.  Graciously, O’Hara didn’t think twice.  A leader on the pitch for the Emmett’s and showing those attributes also in defeat.  “Ahoghill are a good team” O’Hara started, “they’ve been there or there abouts for the last number of years.  They are a good hard side to put away.  I thought the first half they were the better team but the second half we came out and showed what we could do for 20 minutes but they sort of took over in the last ten.”

Having trailed by three at the interval, Cushendun were superb after the restart and converted that three point deficit into a three point lead inside just 17 minutes such was their domination.  All roads pointed towards the Emmett’s pushing for victory but O’Hara paid tribute to Clooney Gaels on how they came back into the final with their backs to the wall: “We hit a few wides but we maybe took our foot off the pedal as a collective and they came back into it.  Fair play to them. They never stopped and kept coming back at us.  We just couldn’t get back into it in those last 10.”

He continued: “It’s great for a club like ours to get here.  It’s probably the two smallest clubs in Intermediate to get to the final.  It’s great for us.  We won the Junior four years ago and shows how much we’ve progressed.  We played in the first division for a year there and we didn’t win anything but we learned plenty and never gave up and it was tough going.  We kept going and I suppose it shows what our lads have in them too, after a long season of not winning, we brought it back and got to the final of the Intermediate.  On another day we could have won it but it wasn’t to be.”

Despite defeat, O’Hara said the 2022 season has been another step on the trajectory of Cushendun and insists they will be back again to challenge for the Intermediate honours: “The future’s bright.  We just have to keep pushing on.  There’s some really good hurlers in this squad and we’ve just got to keep going.

When we started, there was a group of us lads in the fourth division.  We’ve shown a willingness and determination to push this club on, hopefully we’ll be back here in 12 months time and win it this time.”

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