An instant goal and a deluge of well taken wind assisted first half points proved instrumental as home side Knocknagree resisted a valiant Newmarket comeback in a Ducon Cup contest played on Friday evening. Knocknagree came out in top of the proverbial game of two halves by 1-12 to 1-6.
Newmarket playing against the prevailing wind, were shell shocked within twenty seconds of the throw in as the ball nestled in the net with players hardly settled into their positions. Newmarket worked the ball patiently when in possession as the conditions completely dictated the pattern of play. Scoring proved elusive for Newmarket despite a few narrow misses before Knocknagree made full advantage of the elements on adding a trio of points from the ninth to the eleventh minutes.
Newmarket deservedly got off the mark thanks to a tremendously powerful kick from Kevin O’Connor midway through the half which defied the conditions to fly between the posts in impressive fashion. Knocknagree began to dictate proceedings as Newmarket were gradually pinned into their own half. The home side were prolific as seven points of excellent quality sailed over the crossbar as Newmarket were hemmed into defensive mode and struggled to cope with the onslaught.
As the half came to a conclusion, a measure of relief was gained as Michael Kenneally was impeded bearing down on goal. John Cronin slotted over the resultant free but Knocknagree ensured a very substantial interval advantage as one further point stretched their lead to 1-11 to 0-2.
Newmarket turned around with the benefit of the significant breeze and immediately reaped the benefits. A monstrous delivery in the third minute of the half from Kevin O’Connor caused confusion in the Knocknagree defence and the vastly experienced John Cronin was on hand to take advantage of the loose ball to tuck the ball home to the back of the net. John Cronin gave a virtuoso performance, and was a central figure to Newmarket’s best moments. Firstly he held play up before offloading to Shane Anthony Murphy who expertly guided the ball over the bar from distance, six minutes into the half.
A minute later, some excellent defending by Brendan Stack instigated a move which swept the length of the pitch involving Sean Doody, Shane Anthony Murphy and Michael Kenneally with John Cronin taking possession at a difficult angle but he made light of the angle to delightfully send the ball between the uprights for an inspirational score.
Newmarket kept up the pressure with Shane Anthony Murphy again on target with a second wonderful point from way out from goal. This reduced the deficit to five points, 1-11 to 1-5 but to Newmarket’s downfall despite the momentum and ball winning abilities of full forward Michael Kenneally they failed to register another score for all of sixteen minutes. Under the circumstances, not to add to their tally for such a long spell given the wind advantage was pivotal. Substitutes were introduced and it was Nicky Flanagan who eventually broke the scoreless period with less than five minutes remaining.
It was Knocknagree who sealed the contest with a converted free, in the final cameo of the game with their solitary score of the half to fend off a gallant Newmarket comeback.
The Newmarket team and scorers…
John Cronin (1-2), Shane Anthony Murphy (0-2), Nicky Flanagan (0-1), Kevin O’Connor (0-1)
|Michael O’Leary||Mark Murphy||Brendan Stack|
|Sean Doody||Kevin O'Connor||Stephen Stokes|
|Timothy Murphy||Shane A Murphy|
|Eddie Allen||John Cronin||Matthew Fitzpatrick|
|Kieran Lehane||Michael Kenneally||Ian Flanagan|
|Subs: Paudie Allen, Gerard Casey, Nicky Flanagan, Donnacha Fitzpatrick, Colin O’Sullivan|