Newmarket’s minor hurling team created history on Sunday when for the first time, county hurling honours were acclaimed in the club, on winning a gripping County Minor C Hurling Championship final replay against St. Colum’s at Coachford on Sunday. It was a victory borne out of sheer resilience, determination and no little skill as a stunning final quarter enabled Newmarket to claim a three point victory by 1-11 to 1-8.
Having fought out an exciting encounter two weeks previous at Macroom, the rematch began in similar vein as the play flowed from end to end. It did take until the tenth minute before the first score of the game which came from a converted St. Colum’s free. The Carbery side enjoyed the better of the exchanges at this stage and they found a way past the otherwise outstanding Newmarket rearguard for the only time to strike for a twelfth minute goal. A second point followed and as the quarter ended St. Colum’s enjoyed a five point lead.
Newmarket got on the scoreboard for the first time in the fifteenth minute when Donal Hannon found the target on converting a difficult free from distance. Newmarket’s defence were to the fore at this stage with David Enright particularly outstanding throughout the hour and inspiring others around him like Padraig Allen, Gavin Forde and Michael O’Leary whose brave defending kept Newmarket in contention during this difficult phase of the game.
St. Colum’s goalkeeper stepped up to convert an impressive sixty five as his side regained a five point advantage by the nineteenth minute. Newmarket driven on by their inspirational defenders, eventually stepped up to the mantle. Vinny Molloy struck a fine point from distance before some excellent approach play resulted in further points from Jack Birtley and Nicky Barrett as the deficit was reduced to 1-3 to 0-4 towards the end of the half. St. Colum’s doubled their lead on scoring the next two points but Newmarket were now in a good vein of form and Donal Hannon concluded the scoring for the half with a neatly taken point which left the score reading 1-5 to 0-5 in St. Colum’s favour at the halfway point.
As the second half resumed it was St. Colum’s who began the brighter and two points within four minutes gave them a clear five point lead. Once more however, Newmarket stood up to the mantle with the outstanding David Enright surging forward before supplying a sublime finish to score a much needed point for his side.
Donal Hannon was on target from a free to leave Newmarket in arrears, 1-7 to 0-7, ten minutes into the half. St. Colum’s established a four point lead once more as the third quarter concluded but crucially this proved to be their final score of the game.
Newmarket put in a resounding performance for the remainder of the game, with Paudie Allen sensational, the ever outstanding David Enright and Gavin Forde the driving force behind the Newmarket onslaught. Donal Hannon pointed from a free as the contest entered the final ten minutes. Newmarket saw a succession of well carved out goal scoring opportunities go a begging at this stage but kept chipping into the deficit with the superb Gavin Forde landing a truly excellent sixty five to leave two points the difference. Despite the frustration on seeing scoring opportunities pass them by, Newmarket failed to be deterred.
As the game entered the final minutes, once more Gavin Forde landed a huge delivery from a placed ball dangerously towards the St. Colum’s goal and Vinny Molloy was on hand to supply the finishing touch as Newmarket crucially took the lead for the first time, late in the contest. At this stage every player in the black and red, were not going to be found wanting and stronger the team got as the game concluded. Vinny Molloy scored an excellent point from distance and once more Donal Hannon was on hand to split the posts from a free as Newmarket built up a three point advantage. As the game came to a conclusion, Newmarket responded to the final whistle in raptures as history was created on a 1-11 to 1-8 scoreline.
Congratulations to a special panel of players on their outstanding achievement and total commitment spanning the full calendar year and also to their tremendous mentors and selectors, Robert Stack, Tony Lehane, Kieran Lehane, Donnacha Fitzpatrick and Donnacha O’Dea who have shown incredible levels of dedication and preparation to attain their glory.
In goal Shane McAuliffe inspired throughout the year, producing a string of breathtaking saves and telling deliveries from puck outs.
The full back line of Paudie Allen and captain Michael O’Leary were the cornerstone of the side with their displays and defensive talents inspiring.
The half back line of Alan Ryan, Gavin Forde and David Enright were the launch pad to the Newmarket attack and on completing their defensive duties supplied the teams forwards with the possession required to forge out scores as well as their own natural ability to also find the target.
At midfield, Jack Birtley had the fitness and reserve of energy to keep his performance to the optimum, especially at the very end of the game when he particularly stood out to add to his defensive and attacking qualities which included a well taken point.
The half forward line of Vinny Molloy, Timmy O’Keeffe and Nicky Barrett contributed greatly to the sides success and their work ethic was as much a factor to ultimate success as well as their ability to find the target and their fellow team mates.
The inside forward line of team talisman Donal Hannon and David Quinlan posed problems throughout and their contribution to the scoreboard and ultimate victory was evident all through the campaign.
In both the drawn contest and the replay, the introduction of both Jonathan Flaherty and Ivan King had an instant positive impact on their team mates and provided an injection of impetus all over the team.
The Newmarket team was…
|Paudie Allen||Michael O’Leary (captain)|
|Alan Ryan||Gavin Forde (0-1)||David Enright (0-1)|
|Jack Birtley (0-1)|
|Vinny Molloy (1-2)||Timmy O’Keeffe||Nicky Barrett (0-1)|
|Donal Hannon (0-5)||David Quinlan|
|SUBS: Jonathan Flaherty, Ivan King|