A point in injury time denied Newmarket and edged Rockchapel to victory in a gripping, exciting, entertaining Duhallow Junior B Football Championship Final played in monsoon conditions at Rockchapel on Sunday afternoon, with the home team emerging champions on a 1-7 to 0-9 scoreline.
The incessant, torrential rain showers that preceded the game ensured terrible playing conditions with lots of water evidence of the appalling playing conditions. The highest of accolades must go to both sides on serving up a highly entertaining encounter in front of a large rain drenched attendance. Newmarket enjoyed a lot of possession in the opening half and their failure to capitalize on the scoreboard was ultimately to their downfall.
Rockchapel pointed the first point of the game in the fifth minute and a brace of frees increased the lead to three points after thirteen minutes. Newmarket failed to make an impact on the scoreboard as six wides were registered during the half and they suffered a huge blow midway through the half when the Rockchapel attack struck for a goal to take their advantage to a sizeable six points.
Newmarket eventually got off the mark in the eighteenth minute with a fine point kicked from distance by John Cronin. Seanie Francis O’Connor pointed a free two minutes later as at last Newmarket found their range. Unfortunately, their downfall of converting possession into scores surfaced again and a potent Rockchapel attack that recorded just a single wide in each half added two points to turn over in front by 1-5 to 0-2.
Newmarket resumed in full flow and hit the ground running. Seanie Francis O’Connor pointed a free within a minute before the influential Brian Daly found the target as Newmarket used the advantage of the wind to full effect. The impressive Michael Kenneally surged forward on one of his several rampaging runs to brilliantly kick a point before substitute Colin Stack made an immediate impact on slotting a point to bring Newmarket to within two points, eight minutes into the half.
Newmarket reigned in ball into their full forward line and once again reaped the benefits following some excellent approach play from Matthew Fitzpatrick and this time Robert Stack was rewarded for his industry by cutting the margin to a solitary point. Seanie Francis O’Connor tied the sides for the first time in the game halfway through the half to complete a superb Newmarket comeback within fifteen minutes.
The crowd were now enthralled and on gaining a free close in on goal, Rockchapel edged ahead again. Newmarket despite all the momentum came up against a resolute Rockchapel defence and this despite the commendable efforts of their own defensive rearguard with team captain Pa O’Brien and Anthony Crowley leading from the back. Seanie Francis O’Connor restored parity with eight minutes remaining to ensure a nail biting conclusion and warm proceedings even more on a truly gloomy afternoon.
Both sides gave every ounce of energy into crossing the victory line but both defences stood up to the task in the telling conditions. As the game entered injury time both sides had chances but ultimately it was Rockchapel who snatched victory to bring an excellent contest to a conclusion to the agony of a brave Newmarket team.
The Newmarket team and scorers…
Seanie Francis O’Connor (0-4), Michael Kenneally (0-1), Robert Stack (0-1), Brian Daly (0-1), John Cronin (0-1), Colin Stack (0-1).
|Anthony Crowley||John McSweeney||Pa O’Brien|
|Michael Kenneally||Brendan Stack||Matthew Fitzpatrick|
|Shane A Murphy||Kieran Lehane|
|Eddie Allen||Seanie Francis O Connor||Gavin Forde|
|Robert Stack||Brian Daly||John Cronin|
|Subs: Colin Stack, Shane Murphy|