Newmarket ‘s under 21 football team recorded their third successive Duhallow championship victory, and ninth in the club’s history when defeating Knocknagree in the final at Dromtariffe on Saturday evening.
A testimony of the Dromtariffe pitch was the fact it was playable considering the torrential rain showers it withstood in the hours leading up to the game. Despite playing against the breeze in the first half, Newmarket started brightly and the quick thinking Nicky Flanagan found John Ryan from a free and he dispatched a fine point in the second minute. Knocknagree tied the proceedings on converting a long distance free and a second point gave them the advantage after seven minutes.
Newmarket levelled within a minute when some fine approach play was rewarded when Kevin O’Sullivan burst forward to kick an excellent score.
Newmarket grew in confidence with corner forward John Lane in terrific form. He scored his first point of the game in the thirteenth minute before John Ryan doubled the advantage instantly. A turning point in the game came in the eighteenth minute when Newmarket were indebted to goalkeeper David Quinlan who produced a stunning save which lifted the rest of the side. Although Knocknagree pointed next, Newmarket went on dominate the remainder of the half. A feature of the Newmarket display throughout the hour was the brilliant display of the six defenders who gave an exhibition in defending with David Guiney and Conor Cronin prominent. At the other end Newmarket produced a scoring blitz in the final five minutes of the half. The prolific John Lane was inspirational and he scored three points in as many minutes to confirm Newmarket’s dominance. The half ended when John Ryan slotted over a free and Newmarket went into the break in front by 0-8 to 0-3 after an excellent first half performance.
The second half resumed and the deteriorating conditions contributed to a scrappy affair. Once more John Lane was on target for Newmarket but a similar score for Knocknagree proved to be the only two scores during the first twenty minutes of the half. It was Newmarket’s defence that were to the fore again as they withstood everything that Knocknagree threw at them. As the game entered the final ten minutes Newmarket found their rhythm again, firstly through influential midfielder Kevin O’Sullivan who scored a much needed point for Newmarket. The confidence began to flow again and Newmarket saw the game out to a conclusion with further points from Nicky Flanagan, Robert Stack and John Ryan to end up champions on recording a nine point victory.
Goalkeeper David Quinlan has been a revelation in his first season at this level, a penalty being the only goal conceded in four games. The full back line excelled with David Guiney, team captain Brian O’Riordan and Michael O’Leary inspirational to their teammates in front of them.
The half back line of Conor Cronin, Paul Cashman and Robert Stack were outstanding in keeping their defence intact and also as a base for the Newmarket attacking options. Kevin O’Sullivan and Bart Daly worked tirelessly throughout at midfield covering every blade of grass in trying conditions. The half forward line of Ian Flanagan, John Ryan and Nicky Flanagan were pivotal in the first half when Newmarket performed admirably despite playing against the elements and contributed four points between them. John Lane was a match winning forward with John Scanlon and Jerry McCarthy excellent in gaining possession and linking with their fellow teammates, which led to so many scores. Anthony Lynch and Eugene Bodie slotted into the side naturally when introduced and have played their part throughout a hard campaign.
Team captain Brian O’Riordan was presented with the cup by Duhallow Board Secretary, Tom Dennehy. Congratulations to team manager Pat O’Brien and his mentors on another memorable achievement for the club.
This particular panel of players have written their way into the clubs history. On winning Duhallow under 16 football league and championship titles in 2004, many of this panel of players have gone on to record 3 Duhallow minor football championships (2004-06), 2 Duhallow minor football leagues (2005-06), a County minor football league in 2005 where they also ended runners up in the championship final. They have now subsequently followed on the win 3 Duhallow under 21 football championships (2007-09) having also contested last years county final, a truly remarkable achievement.
The Newmarket team was…
|David Guiney||Brian O’Riordan (Captain)||Michael O’Leary|
|Conor Cronin||Paul Cashman||Robert Stack (0-1)|
|Kevin O’Sullivan (0-2)||Bart Daly|
|Ian Flanagan||John Ryan (0-4)||Nicky Flanagan (0-1)|
|Jerry McCarthy||John Scanlon||John Lane (0-5)|
|SUBS: Anthony Lynch, Eugene Bodie, Brendan Stack, Kieran Lehane|