TOM LYONS REPORTS
REVENGE is a dish best served cold and Clon had to wait 12 months to gain revenge for a surprise semi-final defeat by Newcestown in last season’s RCM junior A hurling championship.
However, this was a quarter-final they could easily have lost again and they were thankful for a cracking solo goal by former Cork football goalkeeper Mark White in the 29th minute that gave them the leeway to survive a second-half comeback by Newcestown, the St John’s men having trailed by eight points shortly after half time.
Although conditions were perfect for this game in Ballinacarriga on Sunday afternoon, despite all the rain of the previous few days, the fare on offer fell well short of what one would expect of a knock-out quarter-final game. Not that it will worry Clon who find themselves through to yet another semi-final despite the absence of key players like Thomas Clancy and Sean White through injury.
‘Goals win games and Mark’s goal before half time was definitely vital as it gave us a bit of a cushion when they put on the pressure in the second half,’ admitted a relieved Clon manager Seán Byerley. ‘The lads really stood up to it today as we had a point to prove from last year. Our aim was to improve our conversion rate from last year, we had 19 wides that day, and we did that. Eoin Ryan is our new free-taker this season and he is doing the job for us.’
With county footballer Liam O’Donovan switching from midfield to full back to pick up Daniel Twomey, the Clon defence limited Newcestown to four points in the opening half. Clon had seven points from six different scorers – Eoin Ryan (play and free), Cian O’Donovan, Aaron Cullinane, Mark White, Brian White and David Lowney while Eoin Kelly (two frees) and Daniel Twomey (play and free) shared Newcestown’s four scores.
Newcestown would have been happy to retire at half time only three in arrears but they got caught in the 29th minute when Mark White raced in along the end line to crack home a superb solo goal. When Ryan pointed a free, the gap was up to seven at half time, 1-7 to 0-4.
Séamus O’Sullivan opened the second-half scoring with a Newcestown point but scores from Ryan (free) and Cian O’Donovan had the gap up to eight. However, gaining a solid grip at midfield, Newcestown went on to dominate the rest of the half as Clon failed to drive home their superiority.
Scores from Séamus O’Sullivan, Conor Goggin, Kenneally, and Kelly (two frees), with a single response from Mark White, had the deficit down to a manageable three points, 1-11 to 0-11, entering the last quarter. It was then the wides, 16 in total, came to haunt them as they never cut the gap to less than three in the final quarter.. Points from Ryan (2) and Brian White, in response to scores from Eoin Kelly (2) and Daniel Twomey kept the three-point gap between the sides. It was Clon who finished stronger with two clinching frees from Ryan to emerge winners by five.
‘We have the champions Ballinascarthy in the semi-final. If we want to test ourselves we have to play the best and Bal are the best in West Cork right now,’ Byerley added.
Clonakilty: E Ryan 0-8 (7f); M White 1-2; B White, C O’Donovan 0-2 each; D Lowney, A Cullinane 0-1 each.
Newcestown: E Kelly 0-7 (5f); D Twomey 0-3 (1f); S O’Sullivan 0-2; M Kenneally, C Goggin 0-1 each.
Clonakilty: S Collins; T McCarthy, L O’Donovan, T Palmer; C Crowley, D Lowney, J O’Mahony; D O’Sullivan, N Barrett; B White, C O’Donovan, E Ryan; A Cullinane, M White, C Kenneally.
Subs: D O’Regan for N Barrett (55), K Calnan for C Kenneally (55).
Newcestown: R McSweeney; C O’Sullivan, C Twomey, C White; C Clarke, E Kelly, F Keane; M Kenneally, N Hurley; S O’Sullivan, O Walsh, A Shorten; C Goggin, D Twomey, D McSweeney.
Sub: M Bradfield for D McSweeney (ht).
Referee: J Forbes (Dohenys).