Newmarket’s junior hurlers suffered an agonising two point defeat in the replayed EPS Bison Duhallow junior championship game played on an exceptional Meelin pitch on Saturday evening last.
As the game entered the final seconds of injury time after incessant pressure Newmarket, needing a goal, saw a superb effort from Shane Anthony Murphy diverted superbly by the Freemount goalkeeper and hit the upright before rolling to safety. As a result the game ended 2-8 to 1-9 in Freemounts favour after another gripping hours hurling played on a dull misty evening.
Newmarket got off to an abysmal start and a sharp Freemount side hit four points in the opening five minutes before a goal in the next minute gave them a seven point advantage after just six minutes.
Credit to Newmarket, they withstood this major setback and in the tenth minute team captain Tony O’Keeffe led from the front when he ran in on goal and kicked an unstoppable shot to the net. John Lane pointed a free before some neat play ended with Maurice Feehan slotting over a point after fifteen minutes. Newmarket growing in confidence, with Brian Daly a beacon at centre back, maintained their period of dominance and this culminated with fine scores from Kevin O’Sullivan and a memorable long range point from Barry O’Leary to tie the sides after twenty three minutes. Newmarket then edged in front when Shane Anthony Murphy pointed a free to complete a remarkable turnaround in fortunes. As the half entered injury time Freemount pointed to ensure the sides yet again remained deadlocked at the end of the half at 1-5 apiece.
The sides resumed with Freemount converting a free within two minutes. Shane Anthony Murphy found the target for Newmarket six minutes later to tie the sides again. John Lane edged Newmarket in front again but within a minute Freemount had equalized. As the game entered the final quarter a well worked move by Newmarket saw Kevin O’Sullivan split the posts from long range and restore the lead. This lead lasted until the fifty fifth minute when a Freemount point saw the sides level for a fifth time. The crucial score of the contest arrived in the next minute when Freemount scored a decisive second goal. Newmarket poured on the pressure in the remaining minutes and were denied by some inaccurate shooting and resolute defending. Donnacha O’Dea saw a shot skim over the crossbar to reduce the deficit before the final series of action brought some amazing drama but Newmarket ultimately fell short by a slender margin.
Newmarket had a number of fine individual displays. Brian Daly was a colossus at centre back and was ably assisted by John McSweeney, Anthony Crowley, Nicky Flanagan. Kevin O’Sullivan and Barry O’Leary worked tirelessly at midfield as did Tony O’Keeffe while Shane Anthony Murphy was in fine form in attack. Newmarket must now await an open draw to find out their opponents in the second round.
The Newmarket team was…
|Pa O’Brien||John McSweeney||Nicky Flanagan|
|Niall O’Connor||Brian Daly||Anthony Crowley|
|Kevin O’Sullivan (0-2)||Barry O’Leary (0-1)|
|Shane Anthony Murphy (0-2)||Kieran Hayes||Maurice Feehan (0-1)|
|John Lane (0-2)||Tony O’Keeffe (1-0)||Donnacha O’Dea (0-1)|
|SUB: Michael Kenneally|