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Duhallow junior football semi final report of 1993

Original Report: The Corkman, Friday, August 27th, 1993.

By John Joe Brosnan.

Newmarket resist late surge by Rockchapel

NEWMARKET qualified to meet Kanturk or Millstreet in the Duhallow junior football final when they overcame a great challenge from Rockchapel in a semi-final that provided a fine standard of football and non-stop excitement at Kanturk on Sunday.

Having led by five points at half time, when the score stood at 1-6 to 1-1, Newmarket were even better placed at the three-quarter stage when they were six points in front. But, true to their reputation, Rockchapel put in a great finish and there was no lack of drama in the closing stages as they battled hard to come to terms.

It was very tense with two minutes to go when Rockchapel had closed the gap to two points. Considering the Rock’s penchant for late goals in most of their games this season, Newmarket lived on their nerves until a point by John Sheehan cased them three in front.

But even then the drama did not subside, for Rockchapel put in a last-ditch effort to salvage the game and centre half-back Dan Joe Murphy saw his shot for the equalising goal go narrowly wide.

In the end, there was elation and relief for Newmarket on reaching the final for the first time since 1989 when they lost to Knocknagree. They have not won the competition since 1970. Whether the opposition in the final is provided by Kanturk or Millstreet it will be a unique pairing, for Newmarket have never met either of them in the deciding game.

In Sunday’s game the teams had to cope with a stiff breeze and very lively underfoot conditions so lively, in fact, that the hop of the ball was often misjudged by players. It was not unusual to see the ball hopping ten or twelve feet when it hit the ground with high velocity.

The wind favoured Newmarket in the first half and created problems for them, especially in the early stages when they had a succession of wides five in the first ten minutes. They had eleven wides over the hour to Rockchapel’s ten. An indication of the trend of play is given by the fact that nine of Rockchapel’s wides came in the second half.

It was a fine game of open football, played with fierce determination but very sportingly. There were some great individual performances, not least by the four midfielders on view.

Danny Culloty was always a towering figure for Newmarket in this region and got good support from Neily McCarthy, whose work-rate was commendable; but the Rockchapel pair also emerged from the game with great credit. Paul Murphy fielded some great balls and was never better than in the last ten minutes when he played a big part in Rockchapel’s drive to save the game; and Jerry Casey, roving back and forth with good effect, provided a fine link between the Rockchapel defence and attack.

Otherwise, most players acquitted themselves well but special mention must be made of Sean Culloty’s display at full-back for Newmarket. His positional sense enabled him to be in the right place to break up numerous Rockchapel raids, even far out from his own goal. It seemed at times indeed, as if Rockchapel were playing the ball directly to him; but that had a lot to do with his positioning.

Newmarket, with the wind advantage, did most of the pressing in the early stages and although they had good points from Tom Doherty and Danny Culloty in the first ten minutes they must have been quite worried by their wastage of chances during this period.

Rockchapel, struggling to get into the game, had a point from Martin Casey from a free in the 11th minute but had to withstand a strong Newmarket attack a minute later which ended with Niall O’Callaghan’s shot coming back off the post.

Rockchapel then went forward after Paul Murphy had fielded well in the midfield region and Joe Casey, who was showing up well in attack, blasted the ball too the net from twenty yards’ range.

That score, coming at a time when they were battling against the wind, gave Rockchapel’s prospects a great boost but the advantage disappeared four minutes later when Michael Cottrell goaled for Newmarket. The ball came across the centre to Cottrell from the left wing and, seeing that the Rockchapel backs were badly positioned, he took the ball forward before letting go with a low shot that went all the way.

That score left Newmarket a point in front and between then and half time they added four point without reply, the scorers being Danny Culloty (two points from far out) an Mark O’Sullivan (two points from frees).

Rockchapel’s inability to add to Casey’s goal in to 13th minute was largely due to excellent defending by the Newmarket backs, With Sean Culloty’s anticipation a big factor in front of goal and Liam O’Connor strong play at left half back being particularly noticeable.

A half-time deficit of five points was a big liability for Rockchapel but they were by no means out of the game, for they had the wind advantage to come and everyone remembered that was strong finishes that had won them most of the games this season.

They had a let-off fo minutes after the resumption when Tom Doherty shot came back off the post but Newmarket had compensation in the 40th minute when Mark O’Sullivan sent over a point from free, stretching his team lead to six points.

Soon afterwards Rockchapel made a brave effect to get through for a goal when a good move down the left wing ended with John Murphy shooting for goal from close range. However, the shot was cut off in the square by Newmarket corner-back John Dugdale.
Jerry Casy and Mark O’Sullivan exchanged points from play to leave Newmarket still six points in front at the three-quarter stage. By now Rockchapel’s position was getting serious and it was obvious that they would have to step up their game if they were to survive.

And that is precisely what they did. With their half-back line of Conor Guiney, Dan Joe Murphy and Maurice Murphy playing strongly they began to push forward regularly and a point by Jerry Casey from a free and another from play by Martin Casey, who had taken a good pass from Anton O’Mahony, had the margin down to a more manageable four points with thirteen minutes remaining.

After this Rockchapel had two costly wides and they were still battling hard to cut into Newmarket’s lead when a break upheld saw Newmarket half-forward John Sheehan, who had been showing up impressively, send over a point after good work by Tom Doherty.

Jerry Casey had now moved into attack for Rockchapel and was gaining possession frequently. With four minutes to go he sent his brother Martin away for a point and added one himself from a pass from Anton O’Mahony two minutes later. Then, when Martin Casey added another point from a free the margin was down to two points and the Newmarket supporters were gravely “worried no doubt” remembering how thay had lost last year’s semi-final to Millstreet in the dying seconds.

It was, then, with great jubilation that they greeted a fine point by John Sheeban which again stretched the margin to three points. It was then up to Rockchapel to seek the equalising goal and as they threw their forces forward half-back Dan Joe Murphy shot for the net. But the ball was a few feet wide of the post.

So Newmarket weathered the late storm and their victory was undoubtedly a very meritorious one, for they played some great football and will now be strong contenders for the title.

The match was played on 22nd of August in Kanturk, Final score was Newmarket 1-10 to Rockchapel 1-07. The team on the day was as follows:

James Morgan

Kieran Quilter
Sean Culloty
John Dugdale

Liam O’Connor
John Paul O’Neill
Tommy Browne

Danny Culloty (0-3)
Neily McCarthy

John Sheehan (0-2)
Michael Cottrell (1-0)
Dave Fitzgibbon

Niall O’Callaghan
Mark O’Sullivan (0-4)
Tom Doherty (0-1)

Referee: Bill O’Keeffe, Boherbue.

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