NEWCESTOWN U21 hurlers served up the latest evidence that goals really do win games.
In an even South West U21A hurling final under lights in Ovens, Newcestown hit the back of the net four times to get their hands on the cup, while Clonakilty didn’t raise a green flag.
All of Newcestown’s goals came at vital moments in the game. Clon started well, looking the better side and leading by 0-2 to 0-1, but were hit by a Sean O’Donovan goal in the fifth minute.
Clon quickly regained control, with county player David Lowney, Tiarnán O’Connell and Liam O’Donovan prominent. O’Donovan’s goal meant Newcestown were level at the end of the first quarter, 1-2 to 0-5, their points coming from Colm Dineen and O’Donovan, while O’Connell, Lowney (two frees), goalkeeper Mark White (free) and Niall Barrett pointing for Clon.
As the teams fought hard for supremacy, with O’Donovan, Dineen, Padraig Collins, Gearóid O’Donovan and James Kelleher prominent for the Newcestown lads, the second goal arrived in the 20th minute when Gearóid O’Donovan raced through the centre of the Clon defence and kicked to the net.
Newcestown were now looking the hungrier side and points from Dineen (free and play) and Daire McAree, in answer to a single point from Sean O’Donoghue, had them five points in front as half time approached, courtesy of a point-blank save by goalkeeper Timmy O’Sullivan from O’Connell.
Right on the stroke of half time the winners struck for their third and most important goal when a lovely move saw Eugene Courtney finishing to the net. Even though Lowney pointed a free, it was double scores at the break, 3-5 to 0-7, in favour of Newcestown.
‘We didn’t expect this team to be taking the cup here tonight because all the way up through the grades this Clonakilty team has been dishing out some hidings to us,’ said Newcestown manager Seamus O’Donovan.
‘Some four or five very good U17s have come through and they made a huge difference to the team. The older lads played very well tonight. We’re thrilled because this team has suffered a lot and it’s great to see them winning something at last.’
As expected, Clonakilty launched a gallant comeback in the third quarter. Five points from Liam Halligan, Brian White (two frees), O’Connell and Donagh Shorten, with only a single reply from Colm Dineen, had the lead down to three points, 3-6 to 0-12, by the end of the third quarter.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man and in the final quarter it was Newcestown senior Colm Dineen, who had moved to full forward after receiving a knock, who took this game by the scruff of the neck. With Collins and Kelleher dominating the half back line, Newcestown surged forward in the last quarter and Dineen did the damage on the scoreboard.
Following a fine Kelleher point that broke Clon’s rhythm, Dineen hit four points, even though nodding with a few frees, and when he lashed a rasper to the net after a great passage of Newcestown hurling, the lead was up to ten points and the Teddy Kehily Cup was on its way back to Newcestown.
Newcestown: Colm Dineen 1-8 (2f), Sean O’Donovan 1-2, Gearóid O’Donovan, Eugene Courtney 1-0 each, James Kelleher, Daire McAree 0-1 each.
Clonakilty: Tiarnán O’Connell 0-4 (1f), David Lowney 0-3 (3f), Brian White 0-2 (2f), Niall Barrett, Donagh Shorten, Liam Halligan, Sean O’Donoghue, Liam O’Donovan, Mark White (1f) 0-1 each.
Newcestown: Timmy O’Sullivan; Gerard Murphy, Mark Shorten, Darragh Buttimer; Eoghan Collins, James Kelleher, Padraig Collins; Gearóid O’Donovan, David Buckley; Cathal Cadogan, Colm Dineen, Olan Walsh; Daire McAree, Sean O’Donovan, Eugene Courtney.
Subs: Brian Murphy for E Collins (57), Sean Coughlan for D McAree (57), Timmy Coughlan for O Walsh (58), Shane Collins for E Courtney (60).
Clonakilty: Mark White; Thomas Palmer, Peter Walsh, Cian O’Donoghue; Shane Collins, Sean O’Donoghue, Brian White; Liam O’Donovan, David Lowney; Liam Halligan, Tiarnán O’Connell, Ross Mannix; Olan O’Donovan, Donagh Shorten, Niall Barrett.
Subs: David Walsh for C O’Donoghue (ht), Clement O’Donoghue for O O’Donovan (37), Odhran Bancroft for N Barrett (37).
Referee: David Whyte (St Mary’s).