Cappataggle hoping to end semi-final heartbreak
By Cian O’Connell
Cappataggle, one of the great Galway club stories, will contest a fourth county semi-final in a row at Pearse Stadium against St Thomas’ on Sunday.
The past three years have all ended at the penultimate round with Liam Mellows just about managing to dig out a victory.
So near, but so far for Cappy, who continue to deliver in a cool and consistent fashion in the west. Darragh Dolan has been a central player in Cappataggle’s recent rise so is relishing another opportunity in the last four and too much emphasis can’t be placed on those harrowing losses.
“Definitely not, every game is different,” Dolan states. “The last three years we have been unfortunate enough that it was Mellows for those three years. This year it is different as it is on its own.
“Of course you learn lessons, you are three years knocking on the door, you have to get the monkey off the back, to see can something happen. It is great getting to semi-finals, but you want to go another step to really test yourself. Hopefully we can do that.”
While the Covid pandemic tested people in different ways, a new summer club hurling format has provided entertainment and hope.
In the west Cappataggle have responded to the challenge again. “To a degree every club is in the same boat,” Dolan remarks.
“When the format came out it was good and compact. Every lads could commit to it because there really was nothing else going on.
“You couldn't go on holiday or do anything, you had none of that this year, lads couldn't go anywhere. If anything training and hurling was the only social side lads had which drove everything on, it got lads down to the pitch. It really started from there. It has been great to have a full deck of cards.”
Through sheer hard graft at underage level and a splendid ability to unearth new talent, Cappataggle have found a way to turn themselves into a respected force.
“Definitely, for our club anyway to get to a fourth semi-final in a row is due to all of the hard work that went in beforehand,” Dolan says.
“It is exciting times now, so hopefully on Sunday we will do the business. We are very lucky to have the likes of a Damien Joyce in our panel, a James Skehill, a Michael Broderick, James Egan; lads that are settled heads.
“There has been a lot of youth, but they are seasoned campaigners able to come in to drive it. What brings on the young lads and everyone is that there is a massive drive there every evening.
“You are hoping to do your best, you have standards then that you want to meet every year. You are trying to get the best out of yourself while you can.”
Former Galway corner back Damien Joyce was also a key figure in Mícheál Donoghue’s backroom when the Clarinbridge man steered the Tribesmen to All Ireland glory in 2017.
“He is invaluable, he is very good,” Dolan remarks. “Not alone what he brings, but when he talks everyone listens. That is just a mark of respect to the man that is there. He is definitely a good asset to have there in the team.”