Newmarket rounded off the playing season on the highest possible note, when they captured the Nevin Cup for the second time in four years and also the second time in the clubs history, with a dramatic, exciting victory over Knocknagree by 1-10 to 2-6 at the latters splendid` floodlit venue on Friday evening last.
Kevin O’Connor scored a magnificent free from long range and a difficult angle with the last kick of the game to claim a fine victory on a bitterly cold night.
Knocknagree opened the scoring with a point in the first minute. Newmarket had a number of chances, but availed of none, until they were awarded a penalty in the sixth minute. From the resultant kick, Kevin O’Connor pointed to get Newmarket on the scoreboard. Kevin O’Connor pointed again two minutes later with Knocknagree next to gain parity. Newmarket goalkeeper, Niall O’Connor was at his best at the end of the first quarter, producing a super save but Knocknagree did find the net in their next attack. A brace of converted frees from John Ryan brought Newmarket right back into contention but Knocknagree hit back with two points of their own to regain their three point lead. John Ryan kicked a fine point from an acute angle five minutes before the interval, with what proved to be the final score of an entertaining half, which left the hosts in front by 1-4 to 0-5.
Knocknagree were first to get off the mark in the second half after four minutes but this triggered a major response from Newmarket. John Ryan scored a free after seven minutes before Newmarket scored a crucial goal two minutes later. A sweeping move that began in defence, and was a feature of Newmarket’s performance on the night, ended with Kevin O’Connor seeking Robert Stack with a cross field pass, and the forward surging half back done superbly to gain possession to set up John Lane, who kept his nerve and composure to duly slot the ball home and edge Newmarket in front. John Ryan added two points as Newmarket impressed, especially the rearguard with the six backs on top form, keeping the home attack at bay time after time. With ten minutes remaining, John Lane played a sublime crossfield pass to Kevin O’Connor and despite having to turn his back to goal, he found the target to score a fine point. This left Newmarket in front by 1-9 to 1-5, having scored a goal and four points in succession. As the minutes began to ebb away, Knocknagree were given a lifeline when they struck for a fine second goal and they got back on level terms minutes later, to tie the sides for a third time.
Newmarket managed to find that extra effort required and finished the game in the Knocknagree half. They had a few opportunites but they dropped short and wide before they got one final chance. A difficult chance presented itself but Kevin O’Connor produced a memorable kick that sailed into the night sky and over the Knocknagree crossbar to register a score worthy of winning any contest. This proved to be the final score of the game and Newmarket claimed the trophy named after Newmarket man Jim Nevin.
It was a great all round team performance in a very entertaining game. The six backs especially, will reflect on fine individual performances with Mark Murphy a colossus at full back and ably assisted by Donnacha O’Dea and David Guiney. The half back line were heroic in the second half with Trevor Murphy, Kevin O’Sullivan and Robert Stack all outstanding, emerging from defence and breaking forward at every opportunity. In attack Kevin O’Connor and John Ryan made telling contributions on the scoreboard in a very hard working unit.
After the game, team captain Gerard Casey was presented with the cup by Duhallow Board Secretary, Tom Dennehy.
Congratulations to all the players and to their team of mentors, Neilie McCarthy, Barry O’Leary and Vincy Murphy on their fine win. The club would like to thank the Newmarket Pipe Band who led the victory parade after the game.
The Newmarket team was…
|Donnacha O’Dea||Mark Murphy||David Guiney|
|Trevor Murphy||Kevin O’Sullivan||Robert Stack|
|Gerard Casey||Shane Anthony Murphy|
|Sean Doody||Kevin O’Connor (0-4)||Maurice Feehan|
|John Ryan (0-6)||John Lane (1-0)||Shane Murphy|
|SUBS: Colin Stack, Nicky Flanagan, Brian O’Riordan, Michael Kenneally, Anthony Crowley, Timothy Murphy|