Such a painful way to lose a game...such a thrilling way to win
Imagine leading a game by five points with five minutes of second half injury time played.
Imagine it was a preliminary quarter final in the Galway senior hurling championship. Imagine the relief, the elation as you allow yourself to think about the quarter final, the draw and the build-up.
Imagine the opposition went down the other end of the field not once but twice, to score goals in the sixth and seventh minutes of additional time to break your heart. To take your quarter final place away and to leave the whole parish shell-shocked.
Craughwell will have woken up this Monday morning with pains in their heads. What if we'd done this, what if we hadn't done that.
The hammer to the stomach doesn't really bear thinking about but for Ahascragh-Foghenagh, it's a completely different set of emotions. The 2016 intermediate champions have endured some tough days of their own in recent years but with the Mannion brothers, Padraic and Cathal, in the prime of their lives, the east Galway club are now through to their first ever Galway senior hurling quarter final.
Craughwell would rather not have been a part of this romantic story.
On the 65th minute of the game, streamers could hardly have been blamed for exiting the page and closing the laptop. The four minutes of added time were up. So too was this game.
Cathal Mannion stood over a 70 yard free but it was too far out, too little and too late for the newcomers.
Mannion landed it in the danger-area and John Finnerty, that danger-man with three goals to his name in the championship so far, got a hurley to it and stuck it in the net. Still, two down. A consolation, maybe?
Craughwell managed to win the resultant puck-out but they gave it away and there was time for one last lamp of the ball. Cathal Mannion, by this stage, gliding over the unfamiliar terrain of the full back line, gave it welly to land it down on the opposite 21. Ball breaks for Padraic.
"For the first time in their history since their amalgamation, Ahascragh Foghenagh are in the Galway senior quarter final."
Watch it all unfold here.
A simply jaw-dropping strike of the ball, with no breeze, from Cathal Mannion. 14 yard line in own half to 21 in the opposition. Such a delicious side-step too. Rolls-Royce of a player 👏 pic.twitter.com/mL2Cwk0EKJ
— David Connors (@peterswellman) August 30, 2020
Just like that. The breath sucked out of Craughwell's lungs. The pain on their faces.
Inevitably, there would be questions about the seven minutes of injury time but Patrick Earley, a journalist for the Connacht Tribune and Tuam Herald in Galway helped clear up some of the confusion.
I timed those 2 injuries and they took a combined time of 2 mins 40 secs and there were also 2 subs made in that time so based on that, I'd say the 7 mins was bang on. Ahascragh scored their 2nd goal as the clock hit 67 mins which was the final play #galwayhurling #GAA
— Patrick Earley (@PatrickEarley8) August 31, 2020
Either way, the people of Ahascragh-Foghenagh will be on top of the world today.