Robert Emmets under 21 hurling team showed strong character and resolve to earn a narrow victory over Millstreet and qualify for a historic Duhallow Final, following a 0-12 to 2-4 semi final win at Millstreet on Monday night.
Despite a bright and lively start by Robert Emmets, it was Millstreet who proved more clinical in the early stages as they made the most of converting two frees in the opening eight minutes.
Donal Hannon pointed a free in the ninth minute but unfortunately this proved to be his final contribution to the game as he had to immediately retire through injury. Robert Emmets began to gain an upper hand with the half back line of Padraig Allen, Gavin Forde and Alan Ryan in fine form. Gavin Forde took over free taking duties and he found the target from long range twice to turn matters in favour of the visitors. Robert Emmets scored with fluency at this stage. Paul Verling neatly clipped over a point while midway through the half Gavin Forde slotted over a sixty five which resulted followed a driving solo run on goal by Jonathan Flaherty.
Gavin Forde added to his tally and impressive substitute Eddie Allen scored in style from an angle. This culminated a period where Robert Emmets scored seven points without reply in a ten minute spell to take a five point lead.
Play was often disjointed and sloppy as the scoring rate dipped while Shane McAuliffe kept his goal intact with a smart save. As the half entered the final five minutes a long range Millstreet free dropped dangerously towards the Robert Emmets goal and a deft flick saw the ball nestle into the corner of the net.
The final cameo of play resulted with Millstreet converting a sixty five which left just a solitary point the difference at the halfway mark, Robert Emmets enjoying a slender advantage of 0-7 to 1-3.
Four minutes into the second half a long range Millstreet free together with the blinding sunshine caused chaos in a packed goalmouth and somehow the ball found its way to the net for a second Millstreet goal.
Robert Emmets recovered but struggled to convert possession to scores as a Paul Verling free ten minutes into the half proved to be their only score of a barren seventeen minute spell. Indeed, midway through the half, goalkeeper Shane McAuliffe produced an outstanding and probably match defining save.
Robert Emmets eventually found their range with eleven minutes to play and when it came the point was of high quality from Bryan O’Connell. The sides entered the final ten minutes level at 0-9 to 2-3. With the issue in the balance, Robert Emmets tried to push on for a place in the decider. Once again, Gavin Forde obliged from a placed ball but a Millstreet point two minutes later ensured parity entering the final minutes.
The next score was crucial and indeed worthy of crowning any game as Brian O’Callaghan struck majestically from distance to find the target. Robert Emmets would not be denied and a free deep in injury time from Gavin Forde sealed a famous win.
The Newmarket team and scorers…
Gvin Forde (0-6), Paul Verling (0-2), Brian O’Callaghan (0-1), Bryan O’Connell (0-1), Donal Hannon (0-1), Eddie Allen (0-1)
|Michael O’Leary||Nicky Barrett||Colm Noonan|
|Paudie Allen||Gavin Forde||Alan Ryan|
|Jack Birthley||Cathal Noonan|
|Jacko Flaherty||Brian O'Callaghan||Barry O'Connor|
|Bryan O'Connell||Donal Hannon||Paul Verling|
|Subs: Eddie Allen, David Enright, Daniel Richard Guinee|