Newmarket retained the Duhallow U-21 A Football Championship on Saturday last against Kanturk on a score line of 0-12 to 1-5. The reply, which was played a full seven months after the drawn final, was on in a perfect Rockchapel field. Newmarket have completed a two in a row now having won it last year against Boherbue, again after a replay. This is the eight U-21 title for the club.
The ball was thrown in at 2pm and within a minute Kanturk took the lead which incidentally enough was the only time they would lead throughout the game. Newmarket struck back with a placed ball five minutes later through the in form John Ryan. Newmarket took the lead for the first time through another John Ryan free on eight minutes. Newmarket began to take control as they kept Kanturk at bay with Michael Kenneally playing very well in the half back line and Kevin O’ Sullivan playing a big part at midfield. John Ryan once more pointed from a free after ten minutes.
After fifteen minutes John Ryan hit his first point from play to extend the lead to three points at the quarter mark. Once again Ryan hit a glorious long range free from forty yards to bisect the posts and put Newmarket four up. Kanturk replied a minute later when they converted a close in free. Newmarket replied through another Ryan free. Then Kevin O’ Sullivan, who had a magnificent game in the middle of the park, fielded the resulting kick out and soloed towards the left corner forward position, turned his man, and struck a huge point from thirty five yards to put Newmarket five points up. Kanturk had the final say in the first half when they pointed on twenty eight minutes to leave the score line 0-7 to 0-3 at the short whistle.
The second half began as the first half did with Kanturk instantly pointing from a difficult angle this time. Newmarket did once again strike back through T.J. Bodie who put over his first of the day with a good point off his left after a super run in which Michael Kenneally ran sixty yards with the ball in hand before he laid it off. John Ryan pointed again a minute later to give Newmarket a five point lead.
Immediately after this Kanturk hit Newmarket with the games only goal after a long ball in from a sideline kick, the ball broke to a Kanturk man who couldn’t miss to put only two points between the sides. The game was in the balance for a period while both sides contested well at midfield. With Conor Cronin, Brendan Stack and Paul Cashman coming into the game more and more as it went on Newmarket looked hard to break down in defence. Newmarket pointed on the three quarter mark again through T.J. Bodie to hold a three point advantage. John Ryan put Newmarket four ahead with another free. Kanturk had their final point of the game with five minutes to go. Newmarket had the final say though, when Robert Stack kicked a fine long range point to finish off the scoring for the day and leave the score line at 0-12 to 1-5.
Celebrations followed at the final whistle as Newmarket capped off a fine year in style with the divisional cup spending another year in town. The team which reached the county final earlier in the year and put on a spirited performance against the Barrs were well deserving of the win.
It was a fine performance from the team and the defence in particular as a unit were excellent. Niall O’ Connor made a couple of crucial saves and was in great form on the day. The full back line of Brendan Stack, Brian O’ Riordan and Robert Stack were in mighty form. The half back line played a huge part in the final with Paul Cashman, Conor Cronin and Michael Kenneally inspirational throughout and in the second half particularly. Kevin O’ Sullivan and Bart Daly were very good together at midfield. The forwards all had a part to play and John Ryan had a fine day at wing forward with eight points, six from placed balls. Of the 12 points Newmarket kicked 11 were off the left boots.
Niall O’ Connor, the stand in captain for the day as captain all year Timothy Murphy was unable to play, lifted the Connie O’ Sullivan cup for the eight time in Newmarket’s history to a rapturous applause.
Congratulations are extended to this great bunch of players who have given the club so many memorable days out over the years. Also a special thanks to the teams mentors Paul Murphy, Pat Flanagan, Pat O’ Brian and Benny O’ Keeffe who put in a lot of their free time to this team. The team was paraded through the town by the Newmarket Pipe Band who on such short notice always turns out for the G.A.A. and this is greatly appreciated.
The team on the day was…
|Niall O’ Connor|
|Brendan Stack||Brian O’ Riordan||Robert Stack (0-1)|
|Paul Cashman||Conor Cronin||Michael Kenneally|
|Kevin O’Sullivan (0-1)||Bart Daly|
|John Ryan (0-8, 0-6 frees)||T.J. Bodie (0-2)||Ian Flanagan|
|John Lane||John Scanlon||Nicky Flanagan|