Original Report: The Corkman, Saturday, November 14th, 1970.
By John Joe Brosnan.
Late point earned thrilling victory for Newmarket
NEWMARKET qualified to meet Adrigole or Bandon in the county junior football championship final when they defeated city champions Douglas by a point (2-6 to 1-8) in a thrilling game at Coachford on Sunday.
The scores were level four times during the hour and tension was at breaking point with less than three minutes to go when Newmarket full-forward Ben Eardley sent over the bar from a free to give the Duhallow title holders the lead for the fifth and last time.
It will be Newmarket’s third appearance in the deciding game of the championship. They lost to Urhan in the 1927 final – played at Killarney in March, 1928 – and went down to Canovee on a replay in 1950.
They won Sunday’s game on merit. If the scoreline had been a reflection of the play they would have been nicely in front facing the closing stages, but as it was they had Douglas breathing down their necks right through the hour and surrendered the lead to them twice in a hectic second half.
Weather conditions during the game were ideal, as there was very little wind and the rain held off. However, the pitch was very slippery and the ball was heavy and greasy. But despite this, both teams served up a fine display of football and maintained a high standard of sportsmanship right through.
Having come through the city championship in fine style and beaten North Cork champions Grange in the quarter-final, Douglas came to the game with a very good reputation. Newmarket had beaten Valley Rovers decisively in their first-round game, but the South East Cork side was not highly rated and it was generally agreed that the Duhallow champions were facing their first major test.
The early stages of the game saw Newmarket calling the tune in no uncertain manner. They were on the offensive for most of the first ten minutes, but found the Douglas backs a hard nut to crack. They had to be content with two points from frees by midfielder Billy Daly.
Then, in the 12th minute fortune smiled on them. Billy Daly dropped a fifty yards kick into the square and in a goalmouth tussle T. D. Cronin punched the ball to the net.
The first quarter ended with Newmarket leading by 1-2 to nil. Although the Duhallow champions had enjoyed much more of the play, Douglas looked quite dangerous when they went downfield and erratic shooting cost them a few scores.
The city side had two points by centre half-forward Cyril Kavanagh in the 16th and 17th minutes. And they were on level terms in the 19th minute when Brendan Larkin raced right through to the edge of the square before shooting to the net.
This score was a bit of a tragedy for Newmarket, for one of the backs had the ball covered when he slipped on the greasy sod, leaving Larkin with nobody to beat but the goal-keeper.
Newmarket edged into the lead again with a point by Billy Daly from a free in the 20th minute, and they held this margin until half-time, when the score was 1-3 to 1-2.
There was not a great deal in it one way or the other on the play in the early stages of the second half but Douglas continued to look quite dangerous when they went into attack and the Newmarket backs conceded three frees which Brendan Larkin tapped over the bar, giving his team a two-point lead after nine minutes play in this half.
It looked at this stage as if Newmarket were losing their grip, but the score that brought them thundering back into the game came in the 40th minute. Billy Daly sent a free kick from a position near the sideline into the goalmouth and in a lightning bit of anticipation Ben Eardley connected with his fist and rocketed the ball to the net.
Within a minute it was level pegging again when Tom McCarthy sent over a fine point for Douglas from far out.
It was obvious now that victory was going to be hard earned, irrespective of which side came out on top. Every score counted, and Newmarket followers were greatly cheered by points in the 43rd. and 46th minutes, the first from play by T. D. Cronin and the second from a free by Ben Eardley.
However, the issue was thrown into the melting pot again when Douglas returned to the attack. Substitute Pat Coughlan reduced that margin to a point and with seven minutes to go Brendan Larkin sent over the equaliser from a free.
GOT THE BREAK
Both teams were flat out now in the battle for the upper hand and Newmarket, rising to the occasion, proved the stronger team. They kept play moving towards the Douglas goal, but erratic shooting and a staunch defence prevented them from going ahead.
They got the break they needed however, with less than three minutes of play led Mick Flanagan centred the ball to Donal Burke, who passed to Ben Eardley. The latter was fouled as he tried to make an angle for himself and he sent the resultant free over the bar for the decisive score.
In the remaining minutes Newmarket were well on top and looked more like increasing their lead than losing it.
This was a great game to watch and in winning it Newmarket established themselves as a very fine team indeed.
They played soundly in all departments and showed tremendous grit in the second half when the issue hung on a slender thread.
They were able to win a good deal more than 50 per cent of the play because Billy Daly and Neilus Collins played their hearts out at midfield and also because their half-back line adopted an attacking role, especially in the second half Seanie Daly was a towering figure at centre-half back and Jack Collins emerged as a dynamic wing half-back after the change of ends. Con Collins had a tough assignment on the speedy Ned Flynn, the best man in the Douglas attack, but the tenacious Newmarket man stuck to his guns and turned in a fine second half.
The Newmarket full-back line played soundly and goalkeeper Jimmy Culloty brought off some good saves. He had no chance with Larkins shot from the edge of the square.
Considering the good service they got, one might be inclined to blame the Newmarket forwards for not running up a bigger score. However, the conditions did not favour forwards, as the greasy sod allowed little room for manoeuvre. The half-forwards did very well on the play and mostly elected to feed the inside men rather than go for their own scores. But with the Douglas full-back line playing it very close this did not result in a high return.
The Douglas defence as a whole played a staunch game, conceding only one point from play apart from the two goals, which came as a result of fine pieces of opportunism. Midfielders Cathal Toal and Joe O’Sullivan got in a lot of good work although shaded in the overall picture by Daly and Collins. The most dangerous members of the Douglas attack were Ned Flynn and Brendan Larkin, although Cyril Kavanagh deserves top marks for snapping two points midway through the first half at a time when he was finding it very difficult to win possession from Seanie Daly.
This will rate as one of Newmarket’s best performances since they hit the top in Duhallow football in 1968 and there is every reason to believe that they will make a bold bid for the title against Adrigole or Bandon.
The match was played on 8th of November in Coachford, Final score was Newmarket 2-6 to Douglas 1-8. The team on the day was as follows:
|Tony Forde||Jerh Dowling||Ted Feehin|
|Jack Collins||Seanie Daly||Con Collins|
|Neilus Collins||Billy Daly (0-3, Capt.)|
|Donal Burke||Michael Flanagan||Jim Deasy|
|Donal O’Gorman||Ben Eardley (1-2)||T. D. Cronin (1-1)|
Referee – Jimmy Dennigan, Fermoy.