'Important' win as Newcestown going for Double Senior A titles

After four years away, the West Cork outfit have reclaimed a seat at the top table of Cork hurling.
'Important' win as Newcestown going for Double Senior A titles

ONE DOWN ONE TO GO: Newcestown players celebrate the win over Blarney in the Co-Op Superstores Cork SAHC final replay at Pairc Ui Chaoimh. Pic: Eddie O'Hare

Cork SAHC final replay

Newcestown 3-17 Blarney 0-24 

It is very rare that 24 scores doesn’t win you a county final. It took an exceptional effort to better Blarney’s 24 scores on Saturday evening. Exceptional are the dual men of Newcestown, in every sense.

In what was their 12th game in 14 weekends, Newcestown came with a rollicking opening and closed with a resolute final act to tie the prettiest of bows around part one of their Senior A double bid.

After four years away, the West Cork outfit have reclaimed a seat at the top table of Cork hurling.

The final quarter of Saturday’s replay must have felt four years long for the besieged Newcestown rearguard. Centre-back and sweeper supreme Luke Meade thought it would never end.

“We said in the dressing-room at half-time that we needed to up it again,” Meade remarked of their 3-10 to 0-14 interval lead. “I don’t know did those words make any sense because for the second half it just seemed to be Blarney coming the whole time and us hanging on with a point nearly every 10 minutes being about it.

“It felt like we couldn’t win a ball or couldn’t get a score for ages. If they had got level, they probably would have kicked on. We just had to stay that one or two points ahead because they were the better team in the second half, without a doubt.” 

Newcestown never did allow Blarney gain parity. How they managed such when themselves going scoreless for a 14-minute period is a near mystery.

Behind by eight on 24 minutes and five at the break, Blarney twice whittled the deficit down to the minimum in the dying embers.

When sub Eoghan Kirby left a white flag between them on 56 minutes, Newcestown’s 40-year-old midfielder Tadhg Twomey won a free that Edmund Kenneally converted.

Shane Barrett’s ninth point again left the minimum between them in the second minute of injury-time. There was a whiff of extra-time now rising from this one.

Newcestown, with a Senior A football final against Dohenys in a fortnight, said to themselves, we need to conserve the little energy we have left. Sub Ciarán O’Donovan, just on, landed the clincher.

“They are a special group of lads,” Meade continued. “To keep going in the hurling and football, and to come back from all the tough games we have played, it is an unbelievable group to be involved in.” 

It was a special county final. A strong contender for club game of the year on Leeside. The first half wasn’t far off unbelievable.

Blarney positioning Cork senior Barrett in the inside line briefly upset Newcestown. Newcestown pulling out their half-forward line and creating a meadow of space for their inside men more than briefly upset Blarney.

Two goals in the 10th minute. A nine-point Newcestown swing. 18 scores in the first 18 minutes.

All six Blarney forwards on the scoresheet by the 21st minute. All six Newcestown forwards on the board by the 24th minute. A third Newcestown goal. From three down inside seven minutes to a lead now eight-strong. A Blarney response. An interval gap of five. And breathe.

Newcestown’s goals came like buses. The first stemmed from a David Buckley forced turnover. Colm Dinneen provided the assist, Kenneally the finish.

In the ensuing play, Buckley broke possession and Dinneen went from provider to finisher in an instant. A Dinneen white flag in the play after that and Newcestown had gone from 0-5 to 0-2 behind to 2-5 to 0-5 in front.

Blarney were back within four, 2-8 to 0-10, when the red card-cleared Richard O’Sullivan conjured a third major from nowhere. Buckley’s point thereafter left them 3-9 to 0-10 ahead.

Four unanswered points from Pádraig Power, Shane Mulcahy, and a Barrett pair put Blarney within reach at the break. Their inability to ever get back level or find the net - Power had a shot deflected out for a 65 - ultimately sunk them.

“It is so important to have won,” said Meade. “Because if we lost this game, let’s be honest, there would be doubts going into the football final. We have one done and definitely on a bit of a bounce now for the next two weeks.” 

Scorers for Newcestown: E Kenneally (1-6, 0-5 frees); R O’Sullivan (1-4); C Dinneen (1-1); E Collins (0-2); S O’Donovan, J Meade (sc), D Buckley, C O’Donovan (0-1 each).

Scorers for Blarney: S Barrett (0-9, 0-4 frees, 0-1 ‘65); P Power (0-4); J O’Keeffe, M Coleman (sc), S Mulcahy (0-2 each); C Dunlea, C Hegarty, C Barrett, E Kirby, C McCarthy (0-1 each).

Newcestown: C Wilson; J Kelleher, M McSweeney, G O’Donovan; C O’Neill, L Meade, E Collins; T Twomey, N Kelly; S O’Donovan, J Meade, D Buckley; E Kenneally, C Dinneen, R O’Sullivan.

Subs: T Horgan for Kelly (47); S O’Sullivan for Dinneen (53); F Keane for Kelleher, C O’Donovan for R O’Sullivan (both 61).

Blarney: C Murphy; P O’Leary, D Murphy, S Crowley; J O’Keeffe, P Crowley, C Power; O Hegarty, C Hegarty; S Mulcahy, M Coleman, C Barrett; S Barrett, P Power, C Dunlea.

Subs: C McCarthy for C Power (HT); E Kirby for Dunlea (36).

Referee: C McAllister.

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