COIS FARRAIGE REPORTS
NEWCESTOWN’S deserved South West U21 A football championship quarter-final win against Castlehaven in Dunmanway on Saturday last is a big boost to football in the club, according to manager Conor Condon.
A strong final quarter saw Newcestown – who last won this championship in 2006 – power into the semi-final, where they will meet Dohenys for a place in the final.
‘We’re not looking any further than the semi-final against Dohenys,’ said Condon when asked about a possible final against reigning champions, Clonakilty, whom they should have beaten last year.
‘This was a fantastic win for the club (against Castlehaven). We needed a boost for the footballers in the club. Although we do everything 50/50, it was nice for the footballers to get a big win like this. Hopefully, we’ll take this form into the semi-final.’
Having lost the last three finals, the Haven, winners of the prestigious Glenville Tournament for the second year in a row, entered this game as favourites but had to give way to a physically stronger Newcestown 15, whose work rate and commitment were simply outstanding. There was nothing between the sides in the first half, all square at the break, but the second half belonged to a Newcestown side which upped a gear and left no doubt as to their superiority.
‘It was a fantastic win for us,’ said Newcestown manager Condon.
‘The players, themselves, got together early in the year. They knew they had the makings of a good team and they showed that here today. We played seven or eight games beforehand and we trained with the seniors.
‘In the first half we should have gotten a couple of goals, we were unlucky. Jason (Jordan) came very near a couple but we kept plugging away. The goals we did get were decisive, especially the second goal which came immediately after their goal. That was vital and it was a great score.’
On a rare fine spring afternoon the football served up in this clash was top-drawer, with some outstanding individual displays. Cork U21 player Micheál McSweeney had a stormer at midfield for the winners, with great help from the tall Sean O’Donovan but they certainly didn’t get it all their own way from the hard-working Haven pair of Darragh Cahalane and Conor Nolan.
Trevor Horgan was an inspiring centre back for Newcestown, with all six backs putting in tremendous defensive work all through. Specially prominent were full back Greg Murphy,and winger Gearóid O’Donovan. Up front, strong full forward Jason Jordan led an attack in which all six players had their moments and five of the six got on the scoreboard.
The Haven’s Cork U21 player, Michael Hurley, was their go-to man at full forward, threatening to do a lot of damage in the first half, but Newcestown effectively double-marked him after the break. Conor Cahalane was another to have a fine first half on the 40 but was drawn too far outfield in the second period.
Ronan Walsh, David Whelton, sweeper Shane Kearney and corner forward Ryan Foley were others to impress for the western outfit.
There was little between the teams early on as Cian Healy and Conor Cahalane (free) swapped points but the Haven seemed to have a better cutting edge, with Conor Cahalane dictating, and his two points gave them a lead they were lucky to hold when Jason Jordan’s thundering shot came back off the Haven crossbar in the 13th minute.
Jack O’Toole closed the gap to one before Jordan had another goal effort flashing just wide of the post. Centre back Trevor Horgan raided forward to blaze over the crossbar to tie the scores and the lively Michael Hurley finally got on the scoreboard with a fine point.
It was again Horgan who started the move in the 25th minute which ended with Micheál McSweeney setting up Luke Meade for the first goal of the game. The Haven responded well to the setback with Hurley and Ryan Foley kicking points to level the scores, 1-3 to 0-6, at the break.
However, it didn’t look too promising for the winners at the beginning of the second half when Cian Healy’s opening point was answered by Michael Hurley and Conor Cahalane. In the 40th minute Conor Nolan cut through for a cracking goal to give the Haven a four-point lead. Any notions that Newcestown might collapse after this blow were quickly squashed when they went straight down the field from the kick-out and a high ball into the Haven goalmouth was beautifully fielded and finished to the net by Jason Jordan.
A minute later a pointed free from Cian Healy tied the scores for the fifth time and it was all to play for as Hurley kicked the Haven into the lead again to end a hectic third quarter.
The last quarter belonged solidly to a Newcestown side whose work rate was ferocious, covering back in numbers and then breaking forward in sweeping moves.
The Newcestown points flowed from Jordan, O’Toole (play and free), Healy and the strong Darragh Curran as the winners struck for home.
The Haven’s only response came from a Cahalane free and even though outstanding wing back Gearóid O’Donovan was black-carded in the dying minutes, it was the winners who closed the scoring with a Jack O’Toole pointed free.
It finished 2-11 to 1-10, with Newcestown now going on to meet Dohenys in the semi-final.
Newcestown: Jason Jordan 1-1; Jack O’Toole (2f), Cian Healy (1f) 0-4 each; Luke Meade 1-0; Trevor Horgan, Darragh Curran 0-1 each.
Castlehaven: Conor Cahalane 0-5 (2f); Michael Hurley 0-4; Conor Nolan 1-0; Ryan Foley 0-1.
Newcestown: Cathal Clarke; James Kelleher, Greg Murphy, Ryan Collins; Gearóid O’Donovan, Trevor Horgan, Murt Kenneally; Micheál McSweeney, Sean O’Donovan; Darragh Curran, Luke Meade, Colm Dineen; Jack O’Toole, Jason Jordan, Cian Healy.
Subs used: Niall Murray, Murt Kenneally.
Castlehaven: Colm O’Driscoll; Ciarán O’Sullivan, Ronan Walsh, Colin O’Driscoll; Aidan Pearse, David Whelton, Daniel O’Mahony; Conor Nolan, Darragh Cahalane; Shane Kearney, Conor Cahalane, Patrick Bohane; Ryan Foley, Michael Hurley, Cathal Maguire.
Sub used: Rory Maguire.
Referee: Tim Murnane (Goleen).
A lot of strong candidates for this accolade, including Jason Jordan, Trevor Horgan and Gearóid O’Donovan of Newcestown and Conor Cahalane and Michael Hurley of the Haven but for sheer work-rate, football skill, great leadership and ball-winning ability, Cork U21 player McSweeney shone out at midfield.