BY JOHN MURPHY
HOLDING the aces in attack and defence Newcestown’s second string were crowned worthy Rowa/Rowex Pharma South West junior B football champions at Aughaville last Sunday night week.
While the gap between the teams at the finish was a clear seven-point margin, a defiant Goleen produced another of their famous second-half comebacks with ten minutes left, reducing the margin to just four points, 3-9 to 3-5, by the 56th minute.
But the St John’s lads had the experience and football guile to ride out the Goleen storm and points by Trevor Horgan, Cian Healy and captain Rick Bradfield in the dying minutes saw them safely home.
It meant badly-needed silverware for the Newcestown trophy sideboard given the disappointment of their senior football counterparts the previous week, something manager Niall O’Mahony felt was important for the club.
‘It was nice to win, our senior footballers were disappointed but it just goes to show we still have a good nucleus of quality footballers. We had a number of injuries early in the year but some of these lads were able to come back and play again recently which is great,’ O’Mahony said.
‘There is a county competition in this particular grade. We will represent Carbery to the best of our ability and give it our best shot.
‘Goals win games, we felt that we were possibly stronger and ran at the Goleen defence, especially in the opening half. We got those two from Ger O’Driscoll and the penalty by Cian Healy, they were killers for the opposition.
‘In fairness to Goleen they came back at us strongly late in the game, the penalty put them right back in it, but we drove on and won with a few late points.
‘Any trophy is a boost for a club and maybe we might get a few more before the end of the year. It was an important win for us.’
This game, like the famous Dana classic, had all kinds of everything: six goals, two penalties (both converted), the Goleen goalkeeper black carded, a bevy of yellow cards and another brave Goleen comeback when all seemed lost, with copious amount of goalmouth tussles thrown in.
Newcestown’s opening goal in the 11th minute by Ger O’Driscoll – after marvellous approach play by James Curran, Murt Kennelly and Rick Bradfield – was a joy to the eye of the beholder. But it was outshone by Sam Coughlan’s opening goal four minutes later for Goleen. Daniel O’Driscoll and Darren O’Donovan were the service providers as Coughlan acrobatically curled the leather into the right corner of the net, a magnificent strike.
Goleen were just a point adrift, 1-2 to 1-1, and with Sean Sheehan, Patrick Scully and Daniel O’Driscoll defending staunchly they looked to be well in touch.
However, disaster struck in the 20th minute when goalkeeper Ronan Kennedy was black carded after being deemed to have fouled Newcestown’s full forward Ger O’Driscoll in the square.
Substitute goalkeeper Kieran Sheehan manned the gap but to no avail as Cian Healy smashed home the penalty kick. It left Newcestown 2-3 to 1-2 ahead at the break, a late Liam O’Connell free having reduced the deficit.
Tadhg Cullinane (free) and Cian Healy exchanged early points on resuming but when Greg Murphy buried Newcestown’s third goal after Tadhg Ryan found him with a peach of a pass in the 37th minute, to be quickly followed by points from Andrew Shorten and another brace from Murphy, the winners led 3-7 to 1-3 at the close of the third quarter.
But rising Lazarus-like from the ashes Goleen threw caution to the wind and when Sam Coughlan fired home his second goal after a melee in the 51st minute, the comeback was in train.
Darren O’Donovan raised a white flag and then with four minutes remaining the Goleen centre-forward stepped up to the penalty spot and blazed the ball to the net.
Newcestown’s lead was now down to four points, 3-9 to 3-5, and Goleen had momentum – but they didn’t panic and hit back with three late points through Horgan, Healy and Bradfield.
Newcestown: Cian Healy 1-5 (1-0 pen, 2f), Greg Murphy 1-2, Ger O’Driscoll 1-0, Andrew Shorten, Murt Kennelly, Trevor Horgan, Rick Bradfield, Mark Courtney 0-1 each.
Goleen: Sam Coughlan 2-0, Darren O’Donovan 1-1 (1-0 pen), Tadhg Cullinane 0-2(f), Liam O’Connell, Jason Whitley 0-1(f) each.
Newcestown: Aidan O’Sullivan; Ryan Collins, Mark Courtney, Mark Shorten; James Curran, Trevor Horgan, Rick Bradfield; Denis Fahey, Andrew Shorten; Murt Kennelly, Tadhg Ryan, Greg Murphy; Kieran Kelly, Ger O’Driscoll, Cian Healy.
Subs: Patrick Kennelly for Shorten (48), Cormac Ryan for Collins (54).
Goleen: Ronan Kennedy; Sean Sheehan, James Scully, Dan O’Callaghan; Daniel O’Driscoll, Patrick Scully, Tom Fitzgerald; David O’Leary, Liam O’Connell; Brendan Goggin, Darren O’Donovan, Tadhg Cullinane; Jason Whitley, John Cullinane, Sam Coughlan.
Subs: Kieran Sheehan for Ronan Kennedy (black card, 20), Paudie Scully for Goggin (25), Shane O’Leary for Whitley (35), Aaron Barry for Paudie Scully (49).
Referee: John Forbes (Dohenys).