It doesn’t get a whole lot sweeter than reaching your first ever senior county semi-final – that is unless of course, you defeat your bitter rivals to do it.
That is exactly what Cappataggle achieved on Sunday and the magnitude of their achievement was clear to see both on the field and around the ground as referee Leonard Fay’s final whistle sounded sparking scenes of jubilation as Cappataggle progressed to the final four at the expense of near-neighbours Sarsfields.
Sunday will go down as one of, if not the best days in the clubs history on a day where to a man, Cappataggle went above and beyond the call of duty to assure of a semi-final meeting with either Clarinbridge or Liam Mellows in the coming weeks.
Rewind three years and Tony Nevin’s side were plying their trade at intermediate level, desperate to shake-off the tag of the ‘nearly men’ in Galway intermediate hurling. A victory over Ahascragh/Fohenagh in that year’s decider saw them make the jump up to senior level for the first time since 2009 only this time round, they made senior their home.
Their rise has been rapid since earning promotion three years ago, qualifying for Senior ‘A’ in 2015 and following that up with an appearance in the preliminary quarter-finals last year.
On Sunday they looked like they belong at the business end of the championship, seizing the initiative in the early going and grasping on to it like men possessed. No way were they letting this opportunity slip between their fingers.
This game had all the components prevalent in any real local derby. The hits were hard and oftentimes too hard but both sides knew full well the type of game they were involved in. Before the ball had even been throw-in Jarlath Mannion and Ian Kelly were on the deck exchanging pleasantries but referee Fay started the game nonetheless.
Full report in this week’s Connacht Tribune.