Despite a storming finish, Newmarket’s minor hurlers were narrowly defeated by Ballyhea, 1-13 to 1-11 in the North Cork Minor A Hurling Championship Semi Final played at Tullylease on Wednesday evening.
Ballyhea began briskly and pointed within seconds of the throw in. Newmarket settled and were buoyed by two fine points within a minute from Michael Cottrell. Gavin Forde pointed from distance before a Ballyhea point left the score at 0-3 to 0-2, in favour of Newmarket midway through the half. Gavin Forde pointed for a second time as the sides exchanged points within a minute. In the twentieth minute, a close in Ballyhea free was drilled for goal but Shane McAuliffe was equal to it in producing a fine save. As a tight contest entered the final ten minutes, both sides shared four points with Gavin Forde on target twice for Newmarket who enjoyed a slender advantage of 0-6 to 0-5 at the turnover.
A Ballyhea point two minutes after the resumption levelled matters and they made a significant breakthrough in the fifth minute, as they struck the net with an unstoppable goal. Barry O’Connor proved a leading light in the forward division and he scored the first of his three stunning points, on gathering possession by the sideline, setting off on a solo run and evading the defence before delivering a classy point.
Ballyhea pointed midway through the half and enjoyed a lead of 1-7 to 0-7 entering the final quarter.
Ballyhea began to dominate and shot over a succession of four points in as many minutes to take a commanding seven point lead. To their credit, Newmarket stood up to the challenge with Jamie Hayes a towering and inspirational figure in defence.
Impressive substitute Jack Guiney hit an excellent point from distance before Barry O’Connor again lit up the contest with a memorable point. Ballyhea were next to score but the momentum was with Newmarket as several scoring opportunities were created. Points from Gavin Forde and Gavin Forde cut the deficit to four but with time rapidly running out, Ballyhea added their final point of the game. Newmarket managed to find a goal with team captain Jonathan Flaherty bursting through the defence before finishing to the bottom corner of the net. However with the gap down to just two points, unfortunately for Newmarket’s exploits the final whistle followed and Ballyhea progressed to the final.
The Newmarket team and scorers…
Gavin Forde (0-5), Jonathan Flaherty (1-0),Barry O’Connor (0-3), Michael Cottrell (0-2), Jack Guiney (0-1)
|Jeremy Murphy||Jamie Hayes||Paudie Allen|
|Eoin O'Connell||Gavin Forde||Liam Birthley|
|Alan Ryan||Daniel O'Doherty|
|Michael Cottrell||Jacko Flaherty||Conor O'Keeffe|
|Con McAuliffe||Barry O'Connor||Danny O'Connell|
|Subs: Jack Guiney, James Linehan, John O’Connor|