St Finbarr’s 0-14
JOE KENNEFICK REPORTS
A GRITTY and determined display from Newcestown saw them edge past St Finbarr’s in this opening round tie of the Cork senior hurling championship.
Played last Sunday afternoon in Ballygarvan, a strong opening half from Newcestown left them five points ahead, 1-8 to 0-6, at the interval, and their defence stood firm in the closing stages, when St Finbarr’s threw everything at them as the city club went down fighting.
Key to Newcestown’s win was their backline, who cleaned up an amount of ball in the opening half, while in Luke Meade, Trevor Horgan, Eoin Kelly, and the Twomey brothers, Tadgh and Daniel, they had forwards who made good use of their possession.
‘It’s a relief to win the first round,’ said Newcestown manager Jim O’Sullivan.
‘I’m not really sure what way the championship is going to work out, between the county and club scene, but for today, it’s short term. We’re happy with the win, but I don’t know what’s going to happen in the next couple of months now.’
St Finbarr’s led for the only time in the game when Colm Barrett pointed after only 15 seconds.
Eoin Kelly converted a couple of frees for Newcestown before Colm Keane had the sides level after five minutes.
Tadgh Twomey and Kelly pushed Newcestown ahead before Colm Keane hit his second as the opening quarter was evenly contested. But Newcestown increased the tempo. Cian Twomey at full-back, and their half-back line of Greg Murphy, Conor O’Neill and Fionn Keane started to dominate, while Cork star Luke Meade was very influential and got on a lot of ball.
Points from Twomey, Kelly and a good effort from Carthach Keane pushed them further ahead before Horgan struck the decisive goal in the 24th minute, when he finished to the net after a long delivery from Fionn Keane was superbly caught by Luke Meade, who fed the young forward.
The game was in danger of running away from the Barrs, but they dug in and finished the half strongly. Newcestown led 1-8 to 0-6 at half-time.
Newcestown lost Eoin Kelly to an injury at half-time, but they had the opening two scores of the second half from Dan Twomey and the impressive Horgan. However, St Finbarr’s looked much more assertive on the resumption.
With Cork senior star Damien Cahalane much more influential, midfielder Cian Walsh and forwards Lordan and substitute Robert O’Mahony proving difficult to handle, they set about reducing the deficit.
Lordan (2) and Finn had points before a good move involving Glenn O’Connor and Colm Keane ended with O’Mahony through on goal, but his shot went over the crossbar and Newcestown were left off the hook.
Daniel Twomey hit his third white flag but similar scores from Lordan and Walsh left the score 1-12 to 0-12 after 48 minutes.
Heavy rainfall made the final quarter difficult for all involved. Horgan gave Newcestown some breathing space with a fine point, but it was all St Finbarr’s to the final whistle.
Colm Keane brought it back to a three-point game, but that elusive goal would not come. For that Newcestown were thankful to goalkeeper Kieran Kelly, who handled a couple of tricky high balls confidently.
Keane had a goal attempt from a free, which was saved at the expense of a 65, which Lordan fired between the posts, but in a thrilling finale, which included six minutes of additional time, Newcestown held on and reversed the outcome of a narrow loss to the same opponents two years ago.
Newcestown: T Horgan 1-2, E Kelly 0-5 (4f), D Twomey 0-3 (1f), T Twomey 0-2, C Keane 0-1.
St Finbarr’s: I Lordan 0-6 (4f, 1 65), C Keane 0-3 (2f), E Finn 0-2, C Barrett, C Walsh, R O’Mahony 0-1 each.
Newcestown: K Kelly; M McSweeney, C Twomey, M Courtney; G Murphy, C O’Neill, F Keane; J Meade, T Twomey; C Dineen, D Twomey, L Meade; E Kelly, C Keane, T Horgan.
Subs: S Ryan for E Kelly (ht, inj), G O’Donovan for J Meade (49), S O’Donovan for C Keane (57).
St Finbarr’s: S Hurley; C Dennehy, J Burns, J Neville; J Goggin, D Cahalane, B Hennessy; C Walsh, C Barrett; G O’Connor, C Keane, E Finn; I Lordan, P Kelleher, C Cahalane.
Subs: R O’Mahony for P Kelleher (29), E Maher for E Finn (51), O Murphy for C Barrett (55).
Referee: Diarmuid Kirwan (Éire Óg).