Donoghue and Pearses are ready for the challenge

John Donoghue is one of the most enduring clubmen in Roscommon GAA. As long as I can remember, John has been involved in  Padraig Pearses at club management level in both football and hurling. In fact I came up against him on a number of occasions when I was manager of various football teams with Roscommon Gaels over the years.    In recent years John has taken on the Padraig Pearses senior hurling team and here they are in the  final of the Roscommon Senior Hurling championship for the second year in a row. On Sunday they will have a chance to avenge last year’s defeat at the hands of Sunday’s opposition, Athleague.   It’s hard to believe that Pearses have only won two Roscommon senior hurling titles (1984 and 1987) and John is determined that the current famine will end on Sunday.   I spoke to John in Athleague last Sunday after he witnessed Athleague defeat Oran in a semi-final replay. ‘We have waited since last year’s final for this one. Last year we simply didn’t turn up, so hopefully we will give a better account of ourselves this year’ he said.    John says that it has been hard to plan for the final as he would have liked because of the uncertainty and the draws along the way.    ‘We have played nine matches so far in this championship and it’s been a very long campaign. When it comes to Sunday we will be a month without a game and it’s hard to prepare when we thought the match would have been last Sunday, but that’s the way it goes. We have to get on with it and we will be ready for the fray next Sunday’ he went on.   John Donoghue says that this year’s Pearses team are much stronger than the one that went down in the final last year.    ‘We were short five players last year that we have this year, so that is a boost for a start. We have five or six excellent subs who are just as good as the fellas that are on the team so we are very happy that we have a much stronger panel this year’ he said.    John says that beating Athleague in the championship last year told against Pearses on final day. ‘We had beaten Athleague well in the championship earlier last year and even though we were not complacent it was in the back of the players’ minds and we just didn’t perform on the day and it cost us.    ‘This year we know that Athleague will provide a massive test. They are the county champions and the team to beat so we know what’s ahead of us’ he went on.   John agrees that a twenty-year gap back to the club’s last success in the senior championship is far too long.    ‘We want to bridge that gap this year. It’s been far too long. We would love to follow our minor footballers and bring home the cup on Suinday’ he commented.    He says that the work has been put in by the players. ‘We have worked so hard and trained well. We have a nice balance of young and older skillful hurlers and if we click on the day we will be there or thereabouts. I’m really looking forward to it, I must say’ he concluded.