WEST CORK GAEL REPORTS
NEWCESTOWN moved a step closer to a first South West U21A football title in ten years following an impressive semi-final victory against Dohenys at windswept Enniskeane last Sunday.
Granted, impressive champions Clonakilty – who will meet Ilen Rovers in their semi-final – are still the people’s choice to retain their title, but many have dubbed Newcestown as the dark horses in the race – a tag they are living up to after another impressive performance, hot on the heels of that fine win over a fancied Castlehaven in the quarter-final.
But Newcestown manager Conor Condon, while cautiously optimistic, is adamant his charges will have to ramp up the tempo another couple of notches if they are to get their hands on the cup.
‘We have plenty to improve on. If we play like today, when we impressed for 20 minutes, but then drifted out of the game, that will not suffice. More than anything, I feel we need to step up to the plate regarding our consistency. No matter what team we play in the final that is a vital component to get right,’ Condon said.
Newcestown’s decision to face into the strong wind appeared to have given underdogs Dohenys the ideal opportunity to make their mark on affairs in the first half.
Instead, it was the winners who proceeded to call all the early shots, with Cork U21 player Micheál McSweeney, centre-back and captain Trevor Horgan, promising midfielder Sean O’Donovan, Luke Meade, Darragh Curran, Jack O’Toole, Colm Dineen and Jason Jordan collectively cleaning up all the loose ball, while in the corner Cian Healy was impeccable from frees.
Bar the Trojan work of Cork U21 Eoin Lavers and Timmy Buckley, and Ray Jennings who shot a brace of first-half points, with good support from Tom Murphy and Stephen Daly, the Dunmanway boys were playing second fiddle for most of the opening 30 minutes.
Indecision in defence cost them in the fifth minute when a fine clearance by Gearóid O’Donovan was collected by Jack O’Toole and when full-forward Jason Jordan won a seemingly lost cause ball out near the wing and flicked it back into the danger zone, Luke Meade billowed the Dohenys rigging.
By the end of the opening quarter the Newcestown advantage had stretched out to 1-4 to 0-1, the scoring service temporarily interrupted by a fine Ray Jennings white flag in the 17th minute.
However, normal service was soon restored when Jack O’Toole found the back of the Dohenys net for Newcestown’s second goal in the 20th minute, Luke Meade and Cian Healy the joint service providers.
It left struggling Dohenys with an Everest to scale, but a trio of excellent points from Lavers, Jennings and Buckley did give them a glimmer of hope at the interval. They were 2-5 to 0-4 adrift, but still in with a chance, albeit an outside one.
After towering midfielder Seán O’Donovan had extended the Newcestown advantage on resuming, an absolute gem from Buckley in the 33rd, quickly followed by a free from the Cork minor saw Dohenys whittle down the deficit, 2-6 to 0-6, by the 37th minute.
But then Newcestown’s Jack O’Toole clipped over an absolute stunning score and then pointed a subsequent free and when corner-back James Kelleher raced all of 60 metres to register the point of the game, the show was over (2-9 to 0-6), as the last quarter dawned.
While Eoin Lavers’ untiring efforts were rewarded with two further points, there was still time for Jason Jordan, Darragh Curran and substitute Shane Scanlon to apply the coup-de-grace in the dying minutes.
‘Against the wind, to be up six or seven points at the interval was a huge bonus,’ Newcestown manager Condon reflected.
‘Granted they (Dohenys) came much more into the game towards the close of the second quarter. We were aware of that at half-time – the game was far from over. However, we were able to up the tempo and our forwards took some good scores. It settled us down again.
‘With Micheál (McSweeney) doing a good man-marking job on their best forward Mark Buckley, who is a fine talent, it negated their (Dohenys) forward threat and we were able to see the game out’.
Newcestown now await the winners of the Clonakilty v Ilen Rovers semi-final.
Newcestown: Cian Healy 0-5 (3f); Jack O’Toole 1-2 (1f); Luke Meade 1-0; Darragh Curran 0-2; James Kelleher, Jason Jordan, Shane Scanlon, Sean O’Donovan 0-1 each.
Dohenys: Eoin Lavers 0-3 (1f); Mark Buckley 0-3 (1f); Ray Jennings 0-2.
Newcestown: Cathal Clarke; James Kelleher, Greg Murphy, Ryan Collins; Gearóid O’Donovan, Trevor Horgan, Murt Kennelly; Micheál McSweeney, Sean O’Donovan; Darragh Curran, Luke Meade, Colm Dineen; Jack O’Toole, Jason Jordan, Cian Healy.
Subs used: Niall Murray for Murphy (44), Padraig Collins for Horgan (49), Marshall Kingston for Gearóid O’Donovan (52), Cathal Cadogan for Jordan (55), Shane Scanlon for Curran (55), Sean Coughlan for Healy (56).
Dohenys: Paul O’Mahony; Adrian Cronin, Tom Murphy, Alan O’Driscoll; Kevin Murphy, Sean Daly, Padraig O’Mahony; Eoin Lavers, Cathal O’Donovan; Aidan O’Donovan, Mark Buckley, Gareth Crowley; Ray Jennings, Padraig Crowley, Keith White.
Subs used: Maurice Herlihy for Padraig Crowley (48), Stephen Daly for O’Driscoll (53), James Murray for O’Mahony (53), Brian McCarthy for White (54), Vincent Roche for Aidan O’Donovan (55).
Referee: Mick O’Mahony (Kilbrittain).