Original Report: The Corkman, Friday, October 1st, 1993.
By John Joe Brosnan.
Newmarket’s day of glory
IT was a long wait, but when the final whistle sounded at Banteer on Sunday, leaving Newmarket Duhallow football champions for the first time in 23 years, it all seemed worth it to the players and their legion of supporters who swarmed on to the pitch to celebrate a momentous achievement.
The fact that it was a victory hard won made it all the sweeter. In the end the margin was nine points but it was really only in the last ten minutes that Newmarket could feel secure in the knowledge that they had overcome a great bid by Kanturk to overcome the pre-match odds.
Indeed, in the first twenty minutes it was Kanturk who called the tune and delighted their supporters when playing some great football in the process of building up a sixpoint lead (1-4 to 0-1).
At that stage Newmarket must have been wondering whether the title was going to elude them again-as it had done so many times since their previous victory in 1970.
But by half-time their fears had been allayed to a large extent, for a strong peformance in the last ten minutes of the first half enabled them to turn over with a point lead ( 1-5 to 1-4). And the fact that they had scored a goal and four points without reply from Kanturk during that period was very encouraging for them.
However, a second goal for Kanturk within two minutes of the resumption showed that they were still very much in contention and subsequently Newmarket had to call on all their resources to wear them down.
It was a gradual process, as is indicated by the fact there were three points between the teams at the three-quarter stage. That was pushed to four points soon afterwards but the Kanturk missed two good pointing chances and hit the crossbar before Newmarket, gaining from the wonderful marksmanship of John Sheehan from frees, went five points clear with eight minutes to go.
It was hard to see Kanturk wiping out that deficit, and any hopes they may have harboured of doing so were killed when Mark O’Sullivan goaled for Newmarket seven minutes from the end.
On a glorious day, with the sun shining on a colourful scene as a huge crowd packed the Banteer grounds, the quality of football was of a high order as two teams hungry for the title battled mightly for the upper hand.
Victory in the end went to Newmarket because they showed great strength in depth when fighting back from a bad start and also because they had some individuals who struck brilliant form on the day
Some great understanding between Danny Culloty and Neily McCarthy at midfield enabled them to dominate in that sector in the second half; Liam O’Connor’s attacking play from the half-back line had an important influence and up front the combined talents of Mark O’Sullivan and John Sheehan brought the all-important scores.
These individuals were backed up by a strong all round team performance, with no member of the side being found wanting on the day.
On the Kanturk side, it was really more a team performance than individual brilliance that carried them to their early lead and enabled them to maintain a serious challenge until the late stages.
They were, of course, hugely indebted to Alan Buckley and Declan Browne for taking their goaling chances in such expert style. But the fact that their forwards only scored a point after Browne’s goal early in the second half shows how well they were held during that period by the Newmarket backs.
One of Kanturk’s main problems in the second half was getting the ball past the Newmarket half-back line, which was bang in form, with Liam O’Connor outstanding on the right, John Paul O’Neill and later Kieran Quilter steady in the centre and Tommy Browne having a great second half, launching many attacks from the left wing
In these circunstances the Kanturk full-forward line’s talents were not seen to full effect because of the difficulty of keeping them supplied with the ball once the Newmarket half-back line gained control
To some extent, however, Kanturk’s failure to add to their goal soon after the resumption was due to a concentration on scoring another goal once they fell five points in arrears. Two close-in frees in the late stages were blasted against a wall of Newmarket defenders when it was obvious that there was really no chance of getting through.
Kanturk’s nearest miss was when the ball came back off the crossbar from Frank Healy’s shot in the 50th minute. A goal at that stage would have injected new life into the game, for it would have reduced the margin to a point.
But really, in the long run, there could have been no doubt about the merit of Newmarket’s win, for they were the stronger team for most of the second half.
There was a great duel at midfield between Danny Culloty and Kanturk’s Jerome Walsh and both emerged from it with credit. Kanturk were, indeed, lucky to have a man of Walsh’s calibre available to make the Newmarket captain fight hard for every ball.
But Culloty, despite a foot injury picked up in the game against Derry for which he had been receiving treatment all the week, played a major part in Newmarket’s triumph in conjunction with his midfield partner Neily McCarthy. The understanding between them was a crucial factor, for they anticipated each other’s play very well.
Culloty played a shrewd game, bringing other Newmarket players into the picture with good passes rather than trying to go it alone; and McCarthy had what was probably his greatest hour in the red and black colours.
In the early stages Walsh had Declan Browne as his midfield partner and, with both of them playing well and the Kanturk team generally showing form-with James Healy’s play in the half-back line being particularly notable they pushed forward to build up a sixpoint lead in the first eighteen minutes.
They had wrested back the initiative which Newmarket had shown in the first few minutes when Mark O’Sullivan sent over a great point from 40 yards. Indeed, Newmarket missed a few good chances of adding to that score through erratic shooting.
Timothy Healy equalized with a point from a free for Kanturk in the 2nd minute and the next twelve minutes passed without a score as the teams battled for the upper hand, with little between them on the play.
Then, in a four-minute spell, Kanturk opened up a six-point lead. Their scoring burst started with a point from a free by Timothy Healy; then Aidan O’Keeffe, who was playing well at centre half-forward, and Frank Healy added points before Alan Buckley goaled.
The move that led to the goal started out on the left wing with Tim Burke, who was stretching the Newmarket defence at that stage, gaining possession and sending the ball towards the corner of the square. As it dropped it was broken down by Ger Lehane to Alan Bluckley who showed great skill shooting to the net from a tight angle.
Newmarket seemed to be in quite an amount of trouble at that stage, for Kanturk were going forward repeatedly and might indeed have increased their lead had their forwards been more accurate in their shooting.
But the move that changed the trend of play came in the 22nd minute when Newmarket full-back Sean Culloty brought the ball up the right wing and sent a long ball to Michael Cottrell, who found Mark O’Sullivan with a good pass. O’Sullivan rounded his marker, controlled the ball well as he went forward and then let loose a great shot that went just beneath the crossbar to the net.
It was, indeed, a score that seemed to inspire Newmarket, for they added four points without reply in the last seven minutes of the first half. Two of these points were marvellous scores from half-back Liam O’Connor, who raced upfield confidently to send over from long range, and the others were scored by John Sheehan from a free, after Niall O’Callaghan had been fouled, and Tom Doherty.
Indeed, it took a great save by Kanturk goalkeeper Kieran Fitzgerald, who had an outstanding game, to deny Mark O’Sullivan another goal just before the break.
Leading by 1-5 to 1-4 at half time, Newmarket extended their lead with a point from a free by John Sheehan within a minute of the resumption. But only a minute later Kanturk’s hopes jumped again when they went through for a fine goal.
The move started when Alan Buckley won a ball near the sideline and sent it across to Aidan O’Keeffe, who transferred it to Declan Browne, now playing at centre half-forward. Browne went forward and sent a great kick to the net.
Newmarket responded strongly and it was only another great save by goalkeeper Fitzgerald that prevented the Kanturk net from falling.
John Sheehan, with a point from a free, levelled the scores in the 37th minute and three minutes later gave his team the lead with a marvellous kick from a free 45 metres out on the right wing.
Indeed, Sheehan’s marksmanship from frees was to prove vital as Newmarket built up their lead, for he added three more from long range kicks.
Mark O’Sullivan was causing major problems for the Kanturk defence, ranging all over the place to gain possession, and his goal in the 53rd minute, secured after getting a pass from Liam O’Connor, was the score that finally put the lid on Kanturk’s challenge.
Other scorers for Newmarket in the second half were Neily McCarthy and Michael Cottrell while Kanturk’s only score in the last 28 minutes was a point from Frank Healy.
But, as mentioned earlier, they were not interested in points in the late stages and there were always too many Newmarket players in the way when they tried for a goal.
The championship cup was presented to the Newmarket captain, Danny Culloty, by Duhallow Board Chairman Jerry Keating amid scenes of great jubilation.
The match was played on 26th of September in Banteer, Final score was Newmarket 2-14 to Kanturk 2-05. The team on the day was as follows:
|Kieran Quilter||Sean Culloty||John Dugdale|
|Liam O’Connor (0-2)||John Paul O’Neill||Tommy Browne|
|Danny Culloty (Capt)||Neily McCarthy (0-1)|
|John Hartnett||Michael Cottrell (0-1)||John Sheehan (0-8)|
|Niall O’Callaghan||Mark O’Sullivan (2-1)||Tom Doherty (0-1)|
|Subs: Eddie Lane.|
Kanturk: K Fitzgerald, C Cronin, T Walsh(Capt), P Geaney, B O’Connell, G O’Sullivan, J Healy, D Browne, J Walsh, F Healy, A O’Keeffe, G Lehane, T Healy, T Burke, A Buckley Subs: H Buckley and N Galvin.
Scorers for Kanturk: A Buckley and D Browne (1-0),T Healy and F Healy (0-2), A O’Keeffe (0-1).
Referee: Richard Murphy, Lyre.