A stirring second half performance enabled Newmarket’s junior hurlers defeat Tullylease by 1-19 to 3-7 in the Singleton Cup semi final played in ideal conditions at Meelin on Saturday evening.
It was Tullylease who opened the scoring on pointing in the third minute but a Kevin O’Sullivan free from distance had Newmarket level within two minutes. John Ryan found the target with another long range point but a Tullylease point restored parity after seven minutes. Newmarket created a number of clear-cut goal and pointing opportunities but were guilty of failing to capitalize on the majority of these chances. However, Newmarket kept plugging away and were rewarded through points from Colin O’Sullivan and Donnacha O’Dea. At this stage Newmarket were indebted to their goalkeeper Paul Verling who produced the first of two wonderful saves during the half and this buoyed on his team-mates with two points from John Lane giving Newmarket a four point advantage, 0-6 to 0-2 after eighteen minutes.
Tullylease rallied with two points before Paul Verling’s second memorable save and he was will assisted by a well marshalled defence led by the inspirational Kevin O’Sullivan with Shane Murphy and Brendan Stack also excelling. Tullylease reduced the gap to a point before the excellent Tony O’Keeffe finished off a move by scoring his sides seventh point. The entertaining and evenly matched half ended with a Tullylease point and Newmarket turned over with a slender lead, 0-7 to 0-6.
Newmarket were the quicker side to settle in the second half and John Lane whose influence grew throughout the contest added two points in eight minutes. Michael Kenneally pointed next before Tullylease had their first point of the half. Newmarket grew in confidence as the game progressed and some excellent hurling began to reap the rewards. John Lane and Tony O’Keeffe pointed before Ian Flanagan gave Newmarket a six point lead, 0-13 to 0-7 at the three quarter mark.
The crucial score of the game for Newmarket arrived two minutes later when a John Scanlon effort found the back of the Tullylease net. Newmarket’s accuracy was unerring at this stage and the terrific John Lane pointed twice before John Scanlon gave Newmarket a twelve point advantage courtesy of an excellently taken point. Tullylease went looking for goals at this stage and they found the net for the first time with little over five minutes of normal time remaining. Newmarket failed to be deterred and responded in fine fashion as John Lane and Barry O’Leary hit two quickfire points. Tullylease hit a second goal but once more Newmarket replied with Tony O’Keeffe pointing. Tullylease failed to relent and deep into stoppage time they scored a third goal from a close in free despite a goal line full of Newmarket defenders. However, Newmarket would not be deterred and a superb performance was well rewarded with a place in the Singleton Cup final for a second year.
The Newmarket team was…
|Niall O’Connor||Brendan Stack||Donnacha Fitzpatrick|
|Shane Murphy||Kevin O’Sullivan (0-1)||Robert Stack|
|John Ryan (0-1)||John Lane (0-8)|
|Tony O’Keeffe (0-3)||Michael Kenneally (0-1)||Colin O’Sullivan (0-1)|
|Barry O’Leary (0-1)||John Scanlon (1-1)||Donnacha O’Dea (0-1)|
|SUB: Ian Flanagan (0-1)|