Original Report: The Corkman, Saturday, December 19th, 1970.
By John Joe Brosnan.
This was an Historic Day for Newmarket
NEWMARKET won their first county junior football championship title at Macroom on Sunday when they defeated Adrigole by two points in a game that gripped the interest of the big attendance from the very start and held it until Jimmy Dennigan of Fermoy sounded the final whistle. It was a game that provided a fine standard of football and exemplary sportsmanship, even when tension was at breaking point and the issue hung on a slender thread.
Adrigole were not beaten until the final whistle, which was followed by scenes of wild enthusiasm as Newmarket supporters swarmed on to the pitch to toast their heroes. Twice previously they had got to the county final – in 1927 and 1950 – but without success. Adrigole lost by a point in their first appearance in the deciding game two years ago, and to be foiled again by a narrow margin must have been a heart-break to them.
But there could be no disputing the fact that the better team won. After having been two points down at half time, Newmarket took firm control of the game in the second half and the wonder was that they were still battling for survival with a few minutes to go.
It happened because they wasted numerous scoring chances in the third quarter, when they were completely on top on the play. During this period the Newmarket forwards completely lost their touch and scoreable kicks from frees and from play were driven wide.
Eventually, however, they broke through for a goal and this put them a point in front facing the last quarter. They held this lead until four minutes from time, when Adrigole equalised. The issue was wide open then, but in a hectic finish Newmarket were able to find that bit extra and Ben Eardley clinched matters with two late points.
The teams had never met previously and it was anybody’s guess prior to the game as to what trend play would take. Adrigole were probably the more confident team after having been sharpened by two games against Bandon in the semi-final, but in the early stages it was Newmarket who showed up best and set the pace.
Billy Daly emerged as the outstanding man at midfield in the opening minutes and got the play moving towards the Adrigole goal. In the very first minute Donal Burke gave a neat pass to Ben Eardley, who promptly pointed. Four minutes later Eardley added a point from a free and in the eighth minute Newmarket were three points up when Billy Daly sent over from far out.
After this Adrigole settled down and came much more into the picture. They broke Newmarket’s grip on the play and moved upfield threateningly on a number of occasions but their forwards were wide of the mark in their shooting. It was not until the 14th minute that they had their first score, when Michael Regan pointed from a free.
Within a minute Newmarket had negatived this score. Corner forward T.D. Cronin got the ball well outfield and went on a great solo run along the left wing before sending in a hard shot that barely grazed above the bar.
Adrigole immediately came upfield after this score and full-forward ML Regan, after chasing a ball out the left wing, parted to centre half-forward Gerry O’Sullivan, who slammed a great shot to the net from close range.
This levelled the scores Newmarket went ahead again with a point from a free by Ben Eardley and another from play by Donal O’Gorman, but in the 20th minute Adrigole were back for their second goal, this time from a high lobbing kick by Gerry O’Sullivan.
Eardley equalised with a point from a free in the 21st. minute, but then Adrigole moved into a two-point lead, the scorers being Gerry O’Sullivan and Michael Regan (from a free).
At half-time, the betting slightly favoured an Adrigole victory, in view of their reputation as a great second half team. But straight from the start of the second half they were thrown on the defensive and they could consider themselves very lucky not to concede scores as Newmarket mounted a series of attacks.
The Adrigole backs defended stoutly, but Newmarket did get their chances, only to throw them away. As the minutes ticked relentlessly by and the West Cork men clung tenaciously to that two-point lead there were many worried faces in the Newmarket camp.
Then in the 43rd. minute, the break came. Ben Eardley tried for a goal from close range but the ball was deflected over the end line by an Adrigole defender. From the 50 Billy Daly sent the ball into the corner of the square and in a flash T. D. Cronin fisted to the net.
It was a vital score, giving Newmarket a point lead, but the game was far from over. Adrigole tried hard to get back into the picture and after thirteen minutes of hard, exciting football they equalised when Michael Regan pointed a free.
There were four minutes left and it was now anybody’s game. Adrigole missed a few chances and were on the offensive when Newmarket full-back Jerh. Dowling, who was having an outstanding game, got the ball out to the left wing. There Ted Feehan got possession, eluded a few tackles and came well outfield to clear. The ball eventually reached Ben Eardley, who neatly sidestepped his man and sent over the bar for the lead.
After this Newmarket looked like winners and Eardley clinched it with another point just before the finish.
Newmarket won because of a great team effort in which every man pulled his weight. No matter how hard Adrigole tried, they could not find a chink in Newmarket’s armour in the second half, as their score of a single point from a free clearly demonstrates.
It was obvious that Newmarket’s biggest task was at midfield, where they had to cope with county player Kevin J. O’Sullivan and another good player in Nealie O’Sullivan. It was because Newmarket were able to hold their own in this region, and at times to hold the upper hand, that they were in a position to limit the supply of the ball to the Adrigole forwards.
Billy Daly had a fine game at midfield, but the man with the big job was Nelius Collins, who was given the task of policing Kevin J. O’Sullivan. The latter did show his fine fielding and kicking ability, but Collins won an equal share of the play, and this was vitally important to Newmarket’s prospects.
The Newmarket forwards generally played very well, if one excuses their misses in the third quarter. They disputed every ball as if their lives depended on it and their tenacity prevented the Adrigole backs from getting length into their clearances, especially in the second half.
The Newmarket backs were not all that sure of themselves at times in the first half, but they never put a foot astray in the second period. Apart from the two goals, which caught them on the wrong foot, they conceded only a point from play in the hour.
Adrigole played good, solid football but in the long run they had to concede victory to a better team. Newmarket were able to last the gruelling pace better and they had the edge in the vital closing minutes, when Ben Eardley’s opportunism meant all the difference.
The match was played on 13th of December in Macroom, Final score was Newmarket 1-9 to Adrigole 2-4. The team on the day was as follows:
|Tony Forde||Jerh Dowling||Ted Feehin|
|Jack Collins||Seanie Daly||Con Collins|
|Neilus Collins||Billy Daly (0-1, Capt.)|
|Donal Burke||Jim Deasy||Eddie O’Sullivan|
|Donal O’Gorman (0-1)||Ben Eardley (0-6)||T.D. Cronin (1-1)|
|Sub used: Michael O’Halloran.|