Newmarket have qualified for the Premier Intermediate Football Championship Final after another outstanding team effort fashioned a well earned victory over St. Vincent’s by 0-8 to 0-6, in a gripping semi final contest dictated by difficult breezy conditions at Ballyclough on Sunday afternoon.
Playing against the stiff breeze in the opening half was always going to pose its own problems and after initially settling well early, Newmarket had to withstand the inevitable pressure from St. Vincents. The city side hit the front with a fourth minute point and with the play pinned into the Newmarket half, two further points followed by the tenth minute.
Newmarket broke forward a minute later and got off the mark thanks to a sweetly struck left footed point by T.J. Bodie.
Newmarket gained the impetus at this stage and competed admirably in the middle sector of the pitch. The outstanding Denys O’Brien burst forward moments later and from deep in the opposition’s half he set an attack in motion which ended with Kevin O’Sullivan keeping his composure before his well placed crossfield kicked pass picked out David O’Flynn and the dynamic half forward, who got married just two days previous to the game, produced a sublime finish to split the posts.
Having withstood the early onslaught, Newmarket played extremely well in the difficult conditions and used their pace and neat flowing passing game to excellent effect. Team captain Barry O’Leary, John Ryan and Denys O’Brien led from the defence as a confident display unfolded. St. Vincent’s ended their thirteen minute spell without a score with a point in the twenty third minute.
The city side were guilty of inaccurate shooting and Newmarket were let off the hook on a few occasions as scores went a begging. As the half entered the final minutes St. Vincent’s increased their advantage to three points but Newmarket crucially kept their opponents within sight.
The half ended in the ascendancy for Newmarket, with the lively and influential John Lane kicking an excellent point and this proved to be the final score of the half as St. Vincent’s went into the break with a 0-5 to 0-3 lead.
Newmarket resumed with the advantage of the stiff breeze and in the third minute they cut the deficit to a single point with John Lane offloading to Tony O’Keeffe to kick a point. Two minutes later and St. Vincent’s added a point but amazingly due in no small way to the exemplary defending by the Newmarket defensive unit this proved to be their only and final score of the half.
Exchanges were tight, close and physical as a gripping encounter unfolded. Every ball was eagerly contested and scores were well earned.
Ten minutes into the half and Newmarket reduced the deficit to a point again as Kevin O’Sullivan let fly from distance from a wing forward position and let the wind carry the ball between the posts.
As the game entered the final quarter, Newmarket who upped the tempo at this stage gained parity for the first and only time of the game as T.J. Bodie pointed a glorious long distance free accurately to tie the sides at 0-6 apiece. Newmarket were not going to be outdone at this stage as their incredible hunger and industry came to the fore with Tony O’Keeffe particularly outstanding.
Newmarket swept forward in waves from defence on every occasion it demanded with considerable and impressive composure. Experienced campaigners Denys O’Brien, Barry O’Leary, Tony O’Keeffe, Mark Reidy and David O’Flynn excelled amongst a supreme team effort while up front, John Lane caused numerous problems for the St. Vincents defence.
With ten minutes remaining, Newmarket hit the front for the first time and after John Lane was upended close in on goal, Nicky Flanagan pointed the resultant free. Newmarket dominated possession at this stage but were also guilty of failing to add to their advantage. Eventually, they increased their lead with five minutes to play with David O’Flynn and T.J. Bodie linking up to place John Lane in on goal and he expertly punched a crucial point. The defence were called upon to keep their composure and discipline as the clock ran down and they did so in resounding fashion to close out a most famous and historic win for the club.
Newmarket previously contested the county intermediate final in 2002 and now following a fifth semi final appearance since 2001 they have completed a memorable journey to reach a County Final which is presently fixed for October 16th and which promises to be a special few weeks and occasion for all involved.
The Newmarket team and scorers…
T.J. Bodie (0-2), John Lane (0-2), David O’Flynn (0-1), Kevin O’Sullivan (0-1), Tony O’Keeffe (0-1), Nicky Flanagan (0-1).
|T. J. Brosnan||Denys O'Brien||Brian O’Riordan|
|Barry O'Leary||Timothy Murphy||John Ryan|
|Bart Daly||Colin O'Sullivan|
|David O’Flynn||Kevin O'Sullivan||Tony O'Keeffe|
|T.J. Bodie||Nicky Flanagan||John Lane|
|Subs: Mark Reidy, Mark Murphy|