Newmarket’s minor footballers qualified for a third successive Duhallow final when they edged past Knocknagree in a gripping, titanic semi final at Castlemagner on Sunday, which went to extra time before ending 1-12 to 0-13 in the defending champions favour.
Knocknagree led within a minute with the superb Conor Cronin tieing the sides in the third minute. John Lane put Newmarket in front with Knocknagree level again by the end of the quarter. Knocknagree regained the lead before Jerry McCarthy pointed, as little separated the sides. Knocknagree got the next two scores before Nicky Flanagan reduced the deficit with his first point. The sides exchanged two more points before the interval with Conor Cronin on target for Newmarket, leaving the score 0-6 to 0-5 in Knocknagree’s favour.
Newmarket got off to an ideal start to the second half as within two minutes John Lane pounced to score the only goal of the game, converting cooly from close range. Knocknagree responded with a point, but Newmarket, now playing well, pointed when the impressive Brian O’Connell slotted over a fine score. The exchanges continued to be tight but Knocknagree got the next two points to once again tie the game. As the game entered the final ten minutes, Newmarket found an extra gear resulting in points for John Ryan and Jerry McCarthy. Knocknagree responded in impressive fashion and scored three points in quick succession to take a slender lead with time rapidly running out. Newmarket salvaged a draw and extra time when Nicky Flanagan pointed in the dying moments, the sixth time the sides were equal during the game, 0-12 to 1-9 at full time.
Extra time began with both sides understandably feeling the strain with fatigue and cramp prominent. Newmarket pointed twice during the first half through John Ryan and Nicky Flanagan as scores were now at a premium. Knocknagree reduced the lead to the minimum of margins again, with both sides now out on their feet to find just one final score. It fell to Newmarket when John Lane danced through the Knocknagree rearguard before being upended in the square. Brian O’Riordan pointed the resulting penalty with the final kick of the game to edge Newmarket home.
Both sides performed admirably providing a fitting undercard to the Duhallow junior football final.
|David Guiney||John Scanlon||Brendan Stack|
|Robert Stack||Bart Daly||Brian O’Riordan (0-1)|
|Kevin O’Sullivan||Conor Cronin (0-2)|
|Brian O’Connell (0-1)||John Ryan (0-2)||Nicky Flanagan (0-2)|
|John Lane (1-1)||Billy Hourigan||Jerry McCarthy (0-2)|
|SUBS: Danny Allen, Shane Drumm|