A battling Newmarket team succumbed to a stronger and more clinical Freemount side in the final quarter of the EPS Bison Duhallow Junior Hurling Championship encounter played at Lismire on Friday night, in a game which ended 2-15 to 2-10.
Newmarket got off to a flying start when the outstanding Barry O’Leary pointed in the opening stages, however they were dealt a blow with Freemount finding the net moments later. Tony O’Keeffe reduced the arrears before two Freemount points gave them a clear three point lead by the tenth minute. A tough and uncompromising encounter developed with both sides up to the task of championship fervour.
The accuracy of John Ryan from placed balls was a feature of the half and he split the posts on two occasions midway through the half as Newmarket gained momentum. Freemount responded and answered with two points to restore their advantage of three points.
As the game entered the final ten minutes of the half, Newmarket scored their first goal of the evening. A fine build up involving John Ryan and Kevin O’Sullivan picked out half forward Jonathan Flaherty, one of five starting debutants on the night and he took on the Freemount rearguard with a typical rampaging run before clipping the ball to the net past the Freemount custodian. This tied the scores for the first time at 1-4 apiece and while Freemount had the next score, Newmarket grew in confidence that stemmed from the defence. The full back line of young Padraig Allen, Brendan Stack and Nicky Flanagan impressed while at the other end John Ryan hit two superb pointed frees, the second of which gave Newmarket the lead for the first time and left them in front at the turnover, 1-6 to 1-5.
Buoyed on by their first half display, Newmarket resumed in fine form as Michael Kenneally and Barry O’Leary increased the advantage with two well struck points within three minutes. The game was littered with stoppages, as injuries played a big part throughout, with three Newmarket players having to depart the fray due to the nature of injuries suffered.
Freemount gained the authority and five unanswered points edged them in front again at the three quarter mark. As the injuries began to take their toll, Newmarket received a timely boost as a long delivery from distance by Barry O’Leary found the net to overturn the lead again, 2-8 to 1-10.
Newmarket’s joy was short lived however as a minute later a breaking ball in the goalmouth was whipped to the net to put Freemount in poll position again. Freemount reigned in on victory as they reeled off three quickfire points. Once again for Newmarket it was Barry O’Leary who drew inspiration as he pointed. The sides then traded points as John Ryan cut the deficit to four points late in the contest but Freemount ensured progression on adding a further point and seal a semi final place.
The Newmarket team and scorers…
Barry O’Leary (1-3), John Ryan (0-5), Jonathan Flaherty (1-0), Tony O’Keeffe (0-1), Michael Kenneally (0-1).
|Paudie Allen||Brendan Stack||Nicky Flanagan|
|Shane Murphy||Kevin O'Sullivan||Robert Stack|
|Timothy Murphy||Conor Cronin|
|John Ryan||Tony O'Keeffe||Jonathan Flaherty|
|John Lane||Michael Kenneally||Barry O'Leary|
|Subs: Gavin Forde, Pa O’Brien, Seanie Francis O’Connor, Niall O’Connor, David Enright|