DOON GAA CLUB 2020 ROUND-UP
2020 was a very strange year for the GAA, both nationally and in our own club.
With the sudden onslaught of the Covid 19 pandemic hitting everyone in March, it was an extremely difficult time for a lot of our members. From worry about job losses, health, businesses being closed, schools being closed and concern about the vulnerable in our community, who will ever forget 2020 ?
From a GAA perspective in our club , who would ever have thought that we would have to lock up our grounds and walkway from our members in March and not reopen the facilities again until the last week of June. This was a very difficult thing to do, but one that was deemed necessary by the Health experts.
When we finally got back to training and matches after the lockdown, it was to be a very different environment. Some of these changes involved training in smaller groups at first, no dressing rooms allowed for training or matches and matches varying between limited supporters and being played behind closed doors. Having said that it was a great joy to everyone to see the club reopen during the summer and be able to go to the pitch to watch our teams training.
Our senior team had a new management team this year with Tony Ward of Sarsfields, Galway coming in as manager and Garry Mernagh of Thurles as coach. The players responded with great enthusiasm from the start, working hard over the winter with strength and conditioning coach Stephen Walsh.
We had started to play a number of challenge games in February only for lockdown in March to really break our stride. This was very difficult for the new management who were only getting to know the players at this stage. During lockdown spirits were kept up through individual programmes being set and monitored for each player. We eventually got back to training as a group in the final week of June and set about playing 2 challenge games each week to get up for the championship. It was a pleasure for all those who saw training after lockdown to see 35 to 40 players every night and full blooded 15 a side matches being played at training.
Because of the time lost to lockdown no county leagues were played and the championship groups had to be redrawn into smaller groups. Because of the short timeframe available and all championships being run off at the same time, it meant some of our younger players were playing u21 on a Wednesday, u18 on a Friday and a senior or junior A game at weekends. This was not easy at times but it was what it was and we all knew we were lucky to have games at all.
Our first senior championship game was on the August Bank Holiday weekend against Adare. With Adare having the benefit of a game the previous weekend we were up against it in a tough game that eventually finished level. This pitted us against reigning champions Patrickswell a week later. A very strong display from Doon saw us dictate the game from the start, only to concede late scores which allowed Patrickswell salvage a draw.
In the county quarter final we played South Liberites. Expected to win the game we did not play well for long periods but took over in the second half to win quite comfortably. A serious injury to Darragh O Donovan in the first half of the game dampened the win.
Six days later, we met Kilmallock in the county semi final. Robbed of the services of Darragh through injury on top of the long term loss of Richie English who was already out or the year, we needed a big performance to have any chance. The boys gave a huge performance from start to finish to run out winners by 6 points.
In the final a week later we came up against a Na Piarsaigh team in top form. We could never get ourselves into the game and finished up losing by a big margin. This was a hugely disappointing finish to the year as we knew the performance on the night did not reflect where this team was at. As we all know from sport you can get days like this when everything goes wrong for you and the opposition hit top gear. While everyone was gutted, all we can do is take it on the chin and regroup for next year and go at it again.
The Junior A championship was played under a new all county structure this year, having always been played through the Divisions up to this. This posed its own difficulties as it meant the Junior A team were playing on the same weekends as the Senior team, often on the same day. This worked in our favour as both teams worked together as a unit in training for games on the same weekends.
After wins over St Kierans, Ballybrown, Caherline and Garryspillane and a solitary loss to Castletown Ballyagran we qualified for the county quarter final. In the Quarter final we came up against a much stronger Croagh Kilfinny first team which ended our good run in the championship.
Our Junior B team competed in the East Limerick championship, After receiving 2 walkovers from Cappamore and Fedamore and a win over Ballybricken, our interest in the competition ended when we were beaten in a play off by Fedamore.
The u21 championship was the first to start again this year. As defending champions hopes were high for this team. Our first game was against Patrickswell on 4 February and we emerged comfortable winners against a depleted Patrickswell team. A week later we lost out narrowly to Na Piarsaigh in round 2. This meant everything depended on our third game against Kilmallock. Played in Na Piarsaigh grounds this game was abandoned after a serious leg injury to a KIlmallock player.
The Covid lockdown then hit and no further games were played over the coming months. The rearranged Kilmallock game was the first game to be played in any grade in Limerick after the lockdown. Played behind closed doors in the Gaelic grounds Doon were sluggish for a long time before finally coming to life in the second half and running out comfortable winners. In the semi final we had a big win over Garryspillane, setting us up for a final appearance against Patrickswell. Played on 19 August behind closed doors in the Gaelic grounds, after a very high standard game, Doon emerged winners on a scoreline of Doon 0.18 to Patrickswell 0.17
Once again the u18 championship had to be redrawn into smaller groups once games were allowed to resume. Doon were drawn in a very difficult group with Mungret, Ballybrown and Patrickswell. Our first game against Mungret ended in a draw and we were beaten by Ballybrown a week later. A big win over Patrickswell saw us qualify for a quarter final game with Na Piarsaigh, After a poor start Doon found themselves 1.5 to nil down after 15 minutes. Doon started to take over from here and finished comfortable winners in the end. A week later we met a very strong Ballybrown team in the co semi final in the Gaelic grounds. After a superb game which swung both ways over the hour Doon lost out to an injury time 65 , losing out by a point on a score of Doon 1.21 Ballybrown 3.16 . Ballybrown went on to have a big win in the county final .
Off the field of play, our activity was seriously curtailed because of Covid 19. We were not allowed to have club meetings and our fund raising plans for the year were wiped out. The Senior players did hold a very successful Road Hurling tournament on New Years Day and also a hugely popular and successful Last Man Standing over the winter months.
Doon GAA Underage Report
2020 started like any other year. Our underage players started training and playing challenge games, getting ready for the year ahead. In mid March everything closed down along with the rest of the country and the field was closed. For young players and their parents who had been used to regular GAA activities, this was a big change.
Restrictions started to lift well into the Summer and some training and activities recommenced. Unfortunately due to the condensed timescale, there were no U15 or U13 competitions this year. Our U12’s played several games though not as many as in a normal season. Our U10’s, U8’s and U6’s also had a reduced number of games but a short
season is better than no competition at all. The Annual Commemorative games / tournaments that we normally play every year also had to take a break this year.
Our U16 team were in a competitive group with Kildimo-Pallaskenry,
Mungret and Cappamore. They had 3 great contests in the group stage
winning their 3 matches. This qualified them for the county semi-final
against a very strong Monaleen team. This was played on the 4th of
October in windy conditions at St Enda’s Complex in Limerick. Doon put
up a very brave display, keeping the game very close until the dying
minutes when Monaleen got a goal to seal the win.
Doon’s U14’s had games against Mungret, Ahane, Monaleen and Murroe in
the group stages. Good wins were achieved against Mungret, Ahane and
Murroe, with a loss to Monaleen. This was enough to qualify for the
county semi-final against Na Piarsaigh. This semi-final was played in
Claugaun and Doon recorded a great victory in an exciting game.
Disappointingly the County Final to be played against Bruff hasn’t
been fixed yet because of a second wave of Covid Restrictions at the
time of going to print.
Congratulations to all the Doon players who represented Limerick during 2020
Senior : Richie English, Darragh O Donovan and Pat Ryan
U21. Jack Ryan, Bob Purcell and Cormac Ryan
County Minor: Adam English and Tomas Lynch
U16 Kevin Maher
U15 Donal Coughlan, Sean Og Blackmore and Ewan McLoughlin
U14 Aidan Moloney, Sean McDonnell, Tommy Ryan C and John Stokes
Jack Ryan and Adam English had the added honour of captaining the Limerick u20 and County Minor teams respectfully.
Doon Camogie Club
It was a strange year for GAA and it was no different for Doon camogie. It
was a great year for our junior B girls who got to the County Final against
Mungret on 4th October, it was a close match in miserable conditions we
lost by just four points. We welcomed newcomer Nora Maloney who proved
to be a huge asset to the team. The U14’s, U16’s and minor girls also had
great turn outs. We have great representation at all levels and at county level
and wish them all the very best in the county championship. A huge thank
you to all our management and back room teams who again excelled in their
roles. Wishing all our players and their families a very happy and peaceful
Christmas and hope to see them back next year in better times please God.