Original Report: The Corkman, Saturday, September 27th, 1969.
By John Joe Brosnan.
Newmarket took title in final spoiled by gale
NEWMARKET won their second successive Duhallow junior football title and their fifth in all, when they overcame Ballydesmond’s challenge by 1-7 to 0-6 in a final which was completely spoiled by a gale force wind at Millstreet on Sunday.
It is doubtful if a divisional final has ever been played in more difficult conditions. The crowd lining the embankment on the shady side of the field, got an idea of what it was like out in the open spaces as the teams paraded behind the Kiskeam Brass Band. The flag-bearer had to exert all his strength to stay on his feet as the gale threatened to blow him backwards into his colleagues.
Ballydesmond won the toss and elected to play with the wind in the first half. Their aim was to run up a score that Newmarket would not be able to bring down, but as the first half progressed and Ballyesmond’s scores came very slowly appeared that their chance of making a serious challenge for the title was going by the board.
Surprisingly enough, it was Newmarket who called the tune in the early stages. Taking a firm grip at midfield, and keeping the ball low, they were almost continuously on the attack in the first seven minutes and Ballydesmond followers got few bad frights as the ball bobbed around the square.
But Newmarket failed to score, and after ten minutes Ballydesmond were two points in front. The first came from a free by Tim Joe O’Connell and the second from a 50 by Danno Dennehy.
Eventually Ballydesmond settled down and began to direct a series of assaults on the Newmarket goal. They were narrowly wide with a few goaling efforts and as the minutes ticked by they became more and more frustrated as the scores refused to come. This was due to a very solid display by the Newmarket backs and the inability of the Ballydesmond men judge the effect of the wind, which played havoc with high balls.
In the 13th minute when Newmarket moved upheld in a movement which ended with Billy Daly sending over the bar, it looked as if the writing was already on the wall for Ballydesmond. To finish the first quarter only a point in front, and to be held to this margin with 20 minutes gone, seemed a very bad position for a team playing with a storm behind them.
The second quarter of the game saw Ballydesmond laying an all-out siege of the Newmarket goal area. The strength the wind can be gauged from the experience of Newmarket corner back Jimmy Culloty, who saw the ball being caught from kick-out and blown back over the end line. It was nothing unusual to see a player kicking into a vacant space as the ball blown away from his boot.
It was a trying experience for backs, but neither was it a picnic for forwards, who found their efforts at scoring foiled as the ball was repeatedly blown off course. In the last ten minutes of the first half Ballydesmond did manage to score three points, but only one of these came from play when Tommy Murphy took advantage of a pass from Thade Healy. The two others came from frees by Tim Joe O’Connell, whose kicking from placed balls all through the game was impeccable.
At half time, with Ballydesmond a mere four points in front (0-5 to 0-1), the general opinion was that Newmarket would coast to an easy victory once they got the wind to their backs.
But, surprisingly enough, this did not happen. Immediately on the start of the second half it became apparent that Ballydesmond were imbued with a grim determination to hold their ground, and their backs settled down to give a very sound display. They could not keep Newmarket from getting an occasional score, but they prevented the expected avalanche from materialising.
Michael Flanagan had a Newmarket point soon after the resumption and Tony Forde added another in the 40th minute. From the kick-out Nelius Collins got possession and sent over the bar, cutting Ballydesmond’s lead to a single point.
Within a minute Newmarket struck again. Jim Deasy got the ball about forty yards out and sent a perfectly judged shot just beneath the crossbar. Ballydesmond goal-keeper Paddy Fleming got his hands to it but the wind and the force of the ball threw him off balance and the leather went to the net for a decisive goal.
Newmarket kept up the pressure but a solid defensive display and the difficulty of shooting accurately in the condition prevented a major breakthrough. Points by Billy Daly (free) and Tony Forde in the 44th and 46th minutes gave Newmarket a four point lead, but there was still the possibility that Ballydesmond would snatch a surprise goal against the wind.
With Danno Dennehy occasionally bringing the ball upfield, the Ballydesmond men did initiate a few raids that might have paid dividends. On two occasions they made good openings but things went wrong in the end and the Newmarket backs be cleared their lines.
The last quarter saw each side score a point. Tim Joe O’Connell sent over a Ballydesmond free in the 51st minute Neilus Collins had the last word for Newmarket just before the finish.
Oddly enough, both sides had more reason to be pleased with their displays against the wind than with it. But maybe expectations of a high score with the advantage were over optimistic. The forwards on both sides found that scoring in a gale that played all kinds of tricks with the ball was not as easy as it seemed.
In better conditions this might have been a very good final, but in the circumstances it was a very disappointing game which never roused the enthusiasm of the crowd.
Mr. D. J. O’Connor, Chairman of the Duhallow Board, Presented the championship cup to Neilus Collins captain, after the game.
The match was played on 21st of Sept in Millstreet, Final score was Newmarket 1-7 to Ballydesmond 0-6. The team on the day was as follows:
|Jim Culloty||Seanie Daly||D.J. Daly|
|Jack Collins||Ted Feehin||Con Collins|
|Neilus Collins (0-2, Capt.)||Billy Daly (0-2)|
|Tony Forde (0-2)||Michael Flanagan (0-1)||Jim Deasy (1-0)|
|Donie O’Sullivan||T. D. Cronin||Michael O’Halloran|
|Subs.: P.J. Murphy, P.J. Piggott, Eddie O’Sullivan, Donal Burke, Jim Tobin, Patsy Browne.
Selection Committee: Jim Cross, Jerry Daly, John Sheehan, Neilus Collins & Michael Flanagan.