HAVING been involved with the Magheracloone senior team for a decade and half now, Gavin Doogan thought that the surprises were all but over – but 2019 has shown that football still can always raise eyebrows.
It has probably been the most up and down season of his club career. Sinkholes at the Mitchell’s pitch meant that they had to travel around various clubs inside and outside Monaghan just to train while a first year at intermediate level for the versatile player wasn’t exactly leaving him licking his lips.
But on the flipside there has been the Monaghan Intermediate title annexed by James Kieran’s side while they are now just one match away from the Ulster final with Down champions Glenn standing in their way.
Magheracloone’s participation in Ulster is not a shock. Once they dropped down from senior they were always tipped to go straight back up.
The hype is one thing but living up to it is another and Doogan has been impressed with their attitude.
“It was something we didn’t look too much into at the start of the year,” Doogan said.
“We set our stall out to get back to senior football, whether through league or championship.
“We had a decent league although we were beaten in the semi-final (by Monaghan Harps) but we had a good championship and managed to get back up.
“We have hit our main goal for the year but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to push on in the Ulster Club. The boys are enjoying it and it has opened up new opportunities.
“It has definitely been one of the most enjoyable seasons. Dropping into intermediate, there was a bad air about that, but the group really gelled together especially when we had to travel to Louth, Cavan, Meath for training.”
The Mitchell’s didn’t have it all their own way in the quarter-final win over Derry outfit Foreglen.
Goals from Michael Metzger and Allan Kieran seemed to have them in the driving seat, but they came under extreme pressure from the Oakleafers before emerging with a 3-10 to 2-10 victory.
Doogan said that it was a reminder of just how competitive this tournament is.
“You have to be very careful, we saw that against the Derry champions,” he said. “We were in control of the game in the second half and they came back and got right back into it with two goals.
“You just don’t know about these teams, you don’t know the individual players or the match-ups.
“When you’re playing teams in Monaghan you know the individuals but in these games you do your analysis but you still don’t really know until the game begins.”