Original Report: The Corkman, Friday, October 23th, 1998.
By John Joe Brosnan.
Newmarket take title in thriller
NEWMARKET won their eighth Duhallow football title, and their first since 1993, when they beat Millstreet by a point in a thrilling final at Banteer on Sunday.
The closing stages were packed with drama when Millstreet cut the margin to the minimum with two minutes of ordinary time left, and battled unavailingly for the equaliser in the remaining five minutes of play, with three minutes of injury time being played.
After ten minutes of the second half it looked as if Newmarket were in a very strong position when they led by five points, but a goal at the three quarter stage brought Millstreet back into contention and the scores were level twice before Newmarket eventually took the game by the narrowest of margins.
Originally fixed for Kiskeam, the game was transferred to Banteer after an inspection of the Kiskeam ground on the Saturday morning, and the Kiskeam club members assisted by the Banteer officials handled the arrangements with great efficiency.
Newmarket were the pre-match favourites because of their impressive display against Kanturk the previous Sunday, and also because their line-up included a third of the Duhallow side that had run Bantry Blues to five points in the county senior final a fortnight previously.
Millstreet were fielding their first team in this championship for the first time in 35 years, and the belief that they would not be easily beaten proved correct when they stayed within a point of Newmarket in a closely contested first half and rallied strongly in the second period after Newmarket had opened up a five point gap.
With the teams being well matched throughout the field, Mark O’Sullivan’s marksmanship for Newmarket proved a crucial factor in their victory. He scored eight points, five from play, with his three points in the first four minutes of the second half giving them an advantage that made Millstreet’s task a very difficult one.
But all credit to Millstreet for rescuing the game when it seemed to be slipping away from them. The goal by Kevin McCarthy in the 45th minute, after Liam O’Connor had sent the ball into the square, provided the break they needed to retrieve their fortunes.
From then on the destination of the title was very much in the balance, and it took all of Newmarket’s strength and ingenuity to prevent them from at least forcing a replay.
Newmarket got off to a good start when Michael Cottrell pointed in the second minute after gaining possession from Tony O’Keeffe, who had run to a ball kicked in by Mark O’Sullivan from a move started in the half-back line by Maurice Hourigan.
After Newmarket had made most of the running in the earlt stages, Millstreet created the first real goaling chance in the fifth minute when it took a great save by Newmarket Goalkeeper James Morgan to prevent Finbarr O’Leary from finding the net after John O’Sullivan had kicked the ball in from the side-line.
Shortly afterwards there was drama at the other end when the Millstreet keeper Jerry Pat O’Leary, saved a punched ball from Mark O’Sullivan at close range.
O’Sullivan Pointed for Newmarket from a 45 in the tenth minute, but soon afterwards Millstreet opene their account when Kevin McCarthy pointed after taking a pass from John O’Sullivan, the move having been initiated by Seanie Barrett, who was one of Millstreet’s most dynamic players.
A few great catches at midfield by Danny Culloty delighted Newmarket supporters in the subsequent play. Culloty was, as usual, a major player on the Newmarket side, With Denis O’Brien also playing strongly at midfield.
But they hadn’t matters all their own way there, for Michael Thornton and John O’Sullivan also played very well in the centre for Millstreet, with both of them moving forward into attacking positions at times.
Nearing the end of the first quarter, Mark O’Sullivan raced in from the left to kick a Newmarket point, but Millstreet responded quickly when Niall Kelleher pointed after taking a pass from Finbarr O’Leary, who had raced out to a centre by William O’Leary.
Millstreet narrowly missed the chance of the equaliser when William O’Leary’s kick from a free on the right wing came back of the post, to be cleared by Kieran Quilter and taken upfield by Dermot Moynihan.
In a Newmarket raid Patrick Coleman saved a dangerous situation for Millstreet when he punched the ball out of Mark O’Sullivan’s reach in the square, the ball having been sent in by Tony O’Keeffe. And subsequently the Millstreet backs covered a threatening goalward burst by John Paul O’Neill after good work by Jerry McCarthy on the left wing.
Newmarket increased the margin to two points in the 25th minute when John Cronin punched over the bar after taking a pass from Mark O’Sullivan, the move having been started by Denis O’Brien.
However Millstreet hit back again and equalised with two points in quick succession, the first being sent over by Finbarr O’Leary and the second by John O’Sullivan after a great solo run.
Just before the interval Newmarket regained the lead, with a clearance from the half-back line by Maurice Hourigan reaching John Cronin, who raced forward to kick over the bar, leaving the half time score O-5 to 0-4 in Newmarket’s favour.
The first ten minutes of the second half saw Newmarket well on top and scoring five points to Millstreet’s one, to leave a margin of five points between the teams (0-10 to 0-5).
The first three points were scored by Mark O’Sullivan and the others by John Cronin and John Paul O’Neill, while Michael Thornton had Millstreet’s point after combining well with John O’Sullivan in a move started by Niall Kelleher.
At that stage it looked as if Newmarket were getting a real stranglehold on the game, but Millstreet, to their credit, battled back in determined fashion and were narrowly wide from a free in a favourable position before Michael Thornton pointed after a centre by Liam O’Connor, who had just come on the team.
Then the break that Millstreet badly needed came at the three quarter stage when Liam O’Connor kicked a long ball into the square and Kevin McCarthy finished it to the net when it broke in the goalmouth.
The game was now up for grabs again as Millstreet played with renewed heart and energy, Anthony O’Callaghan bursting in from the left wing to kick the equalising point with 12 minutes to go.
There was now a real buzz around the ground, with Millstreet’s fortunes having risen enormously in a few minutes and Newmarket wondering whether they could regain the control they had exerted earlier.
Points from frees by Mark O’Sullivan and William O’Leary left the scores still deadlocked before O’Sullivan pushed Newmarket two points in front, kicking the first from a free and the second after a pass from Sean Francis O’Connor, who gained possession from a delivery by Danny Culloty.
Newmarket pushed hard to clinch the issue, with Michael Cottrell and John Paul O’Neill making a few determined goalward dashes, but the Millstreet backs held firm and went upfield from a clearance by Niall Kelleher to reduce the margin to the minimum with a pointed free by John O’Sullivan.
Excitement was at a high pitch as Millstreet battled hard for an equaliser, but Newmarket gave no further ground and were still a point to the good at the final whistle.
Amidst great jubilation, the cup was presented to the Newmarket captain, John Paul O’Neill, by Jerry Keating, chairman of the Duhallow Board, who praise both teams for serving up a great sporting game.
The match was played on 18th of October in Banteer, Final score was Newmarket 0-13 to Millstreet 1-09. The team on the day was as follows:
|Michael O’Keeffe||Dan Murphy||Kieran Quilter|
|Dermot Moynihan||James Cashman||Maurice Hourigan|
|Danny Culloty||Denis O’Brien|
|John Cronin (0-3)||Michael Cottrell (0-1)||Jerry McCarthy|
|Tony O’Keeffe||John Paul O’Neill (0-1) Capt.||Mark O’Sullivan (0-8, 0-2 frees, 0-1 45)|
|Subs: Sean Francis O’Connor, Brian Daly.|
Millstreet – JP O’Leary, J Cronin, P Coleman, M Dennehy, D Twomey, D Cashman, R Burke, M Thornton, J O’Sullivan, S Barrett, N Kelleher, K McCarthy, W O’Leary, A O’Callaghan, F O’Leary, Sub: L O’Connor for R Burke, j Keating for K McCarthy.
Scorers for Millstreet: K. McCarthy 1-1, M. Thornton, J O’Sullivan 0-2 (0-1 free), N. Kelleher, F. O’Leary, A. O’Callaghan, W. O’Leary (free) 0-1 each.
Referee – Donie O’Connor, knocknagree.