Fr O’Neill’s 2-17
NOEL HORGAN REPORTS
HAULED back to equality by a fortuitous Fr O’Neill’s goal deep in stoppage time, Newcestown’s frustration was understandable following the county senior A hurling championship tie at Páirc Uí Rinn last Sunday.
Yet when the dust settles, they will surely take a lot of positives from their performance against the Imoklly men, who finished three goals to the good in last year’s semi-final clash between the teams.
Despite the traumatic manner in which they were denied a prestigious win, Newcestown manager Charlie Wilson was certainly in an upbeat mood as he reflected on developments in an exhilarating encounter
‘We’d be happy enough overall because we closed the gap from last year, and the lads tried exceptionally hard, which was as much as we could have asked of them,’ he said.
‘Fr O’Neills’ late goal was unfortunate from our point of view, but they are favourites (to lift the title) for a reason, they have unbelievable forwards, so you’d have to say this was a good result for us.
‘We won’t be patting ourselves on the back, of course, because we’ve two more tough games to come in this group, but the important thing is we’re still well in the hunt for a quarter-final place after today.’
While Fr O’Neill’s were a little quicker to settle, Newcestown goals from Jack Meade, who punished a glaring defensive error, and David Buckley allowed them to lead by 2-1 to 0-5 with ten minutes gone. With Meade making his presence felt at centre-forward, Colm Dinneen to the fore at midfield, and their defence resisting stoutly as a unit, Newcestown were four points up after Dineen, fed by the hard-working Luke Meade, made it 2-5 to 0-7 in the 19th minute.
After Declan Dalton cut the gap from a free, however, Fr O’Neill’s got back on terms five minutes later when a dipping drive from distance by midfielder Mark O’Keeffe went all the way to the net. Making light of that setback, Newcestown, with David Buckley bagging their third goal after expertly gathering a probing delivery by midfielder Tadgh Twomey at the edge of the square, turned over leading by 3-7 to 1-11.
Not surprisingly, the pace of the game dropped a little after the interval, but it remained an absorbing battle for supremacy. Following good work by Colm Dinneen and Luke Meade, Jack Meade shot narrowly wide with a gilt-edged goal-chance for Newcestown in the 43rd minute.
The teams were tied, 3-8 to 1-14, at the time, but a flurry of Newcestown points – shared by Richard O’Sullivan, who bagged a brace, one from a free, Eoin Kelly and Colm Dineen – followed to put them back in the driving seat. There they remained until Fr O’Neill’s made a major breakthrough when a cracking shot from Joe Millerick took a wicked deflection off a Newcestown defender en route to the net shortly before the last whistle.
Cruel as it was on the Carbery men, it’s fair to say a draw was the most equitable outcome overall, given that Fr O’Neill’s had twice gone tantalisingly close to goaling approaching the last ten minutes. Firstly, Declan Dalton had an effort from close-range foiled by tenacious Newcestown full-back Cian Twomey and then corner-forward Billy Dunne blazed a golden opportunity outside the posts.
Scorers – Newcestown: D Buckley 2-1; C Dinneen 0-5; J Meade 1-2; R O’Sullivan 0-3 (2f); S O’Donovan 0-2; E Kelly 0-1 Fr O’Neill’s: D Dalton 0-9 (6f); M O’Keeffe 1-2; Joe Millerick 1-0; D Harrington, K O’Sullivan 0-2 each; B Dunne, P McMahon 0-1 each.
Newcestown: C Wilson; M McSweeney, C Twomey, J Kelleher; F Keane, E Collins, C O’Donovan; T Twomey, C Dinneen; S O’Donovan, J Meade, L Meade; R O’Sullivan, E Kelly, D Buckley. Subs: J Crowley for Collins (inj, 37), S O’Sullivan for O’Sullivan (inj, 51), C Keane for Kelly (inj, 56).
Fr O’Neill’s: C Sloane; M Millerick, S O’Connor, E Motherway; R Kenneally, T Millerick, K O’Sullivan; M O’Keeffe, D Harrington; Joe Millerick, C Broderick, J Hankard; John Millerick, D Dalton, B Dunne. Subs: R Cullinane for K O’Sullivan (inj, 14), P McMahon for Kenneally (ht), K O’Sullivan for John Millerick (35), Cian O’Connor for O’Keeffe (inj, 58), M Motherway for Motherway (61).
Referee: K O’Regan (Ballyhea).