St Mary’s 1-10
JOHN MURPHY REPORTS
IT took Cian Healy’s 52nd minute goal to put some daylight between Newcestown and St Mary’s in this RCM Tarmacadam South West JAHC Round 2 winner-take-all joust at blustery Castletownkenneigh.
Given that most of the scoring came from the expertise provided by the two opposing dead-ball marksmen – Darren O’Donovan for Mary’s and Healy for Newcestown – it was fitting that one of them should provide the spark of genius that finally put this game to bed.
Healy’s goal, struck from a free, came at a stage when just two points separated the teams, 1-11 to 1-9. That moved Newcestown five in front, and Mary’s were dealt another blow when Billy O’Brien was red-carded with seven minutes left.
‘We were under pressure when that second goal arrived, it was a vital score because we were playing against a gale-force wind and Cian Healy stuck it away well,’ Newcestown selector Daniel O’Mahony explained.
‘We brought on two stalwarts of junior hurling there near the end, Denis Fahey and Andrew Shorten, while Darren Heffernan was excellent at wing back. We have a nice mix, the oldest is 36 years, while the youngest is 17.’
Having taken the lead in the opening minute courtesy of a Cian Healy long-distance effort, Newcestown were rocked back on their heels a minute later Darren O’Donovan’s mammoth free against the wind was acrobatically flicked to the net by Jason Collins.
With O’Donovan and Healy benefiting from the benevolence of both sets of defender’s concessions of frees, by the 23rd minute St Mary’s held a narrow two-point advantage, 1-4 to 0-5.
Then out of the blue Mark Courtney tried his luck from a free from all of 90 metres. He was handsomely rewarded as the ball flew past a wall of defenders and attackers to nestle in the Saints rigging.
Healy and O’Donovan exchanged points and a deft flick of the wrist by Cian Twomey saw the St John’s man raise a white flag, the hard-grafting Murt Kenneally the service provider.
Mark Courtney, Mark Kelly, Healy, Olan Walsh, Padraig Collins, Heffernan and Sean Ryan were to the fore for Newcestown at this juncture, while Peter Daly, Mark O’Driscoll, Brian Everard, Jason Collins and Darren O’Donovan were giving everything in the Saints’ cause.
The second half followed a tit-for-tat scoring pattern, mostly from frees but then with St Mary’s pouring forward in search of scores, Newcestown delivered a real killer blow.
Cian Healy delivered a speculative ball from a free, Padraig (Podge) Collins was grounded and up stepped Healy to rifle the resultant free to the back of the net.
Numerically disadvantaged one minute later, St Mary’s carried the fight to the opposition, their only reward a Darren O’Donovan free as Newcestown comfortably eased past the winning post.
Newcestown: Cian Healy 1-9 (1-8f), Mark Courtney 1-0 (1-0f), Cian Twomey, Padraig Collins 0-1 each.
St Mary’s: Darren O’Donovan 0-10 (8f), Jason Collins 1-0.
Newcestown: Graham Courtney; Mark Shorten, Chris White, Darragh Buttimer; Mark Courtney, Mark Kelly, Darren Heffernan; Rick Bradfield, Murt Kenneally; Darragh Curran, Cian Twomey, Padraig Collins; Olan Walsh, Sean Ryan, Cian Healy.
Subs: Denis Fahey for Rick Bradfield (54), Andrew Shorten for Darragh Curran (57).
St. Mary’s: Gearóid Harrington; Brian Brady, Rory O’Connor, Jack Hurley; Billy O’Brien, Peter Daly, Mark O’Driscoll; Brian Everard, Michael O’Driscoll; Niall Kelleher, Brian McCarthy, Finghin O’Driscoll; Brian O’Mahony, Jason Collins, Darren O’Donovan.
Subs: Ryan Scannell for Brian O’Mahony (33), David Curtin for Jack Hurley (inj, 59).
Referee: Mick Walsh (Barryroe).