Newmarket endured the narrowest of defeats in the Division 3 Football League Final against Eire Og, played at Mourne Abbey on Sunday, a close and entertaining contest throughout, ending 1-11 to 0-13 in favour of the Muskerry side.
Newmarket had to take to the field without four regular starters, John Ryan, Barry O’Leary, David O’Flynn and Kevin O’Sullivan but the reshaped team acquitted themselves very well throughout. Newmarket soaked up initial Eire Og pressure and in their first attack, outstanding forward John Lane put Newmarket into the lead as his fine kick sailed between the posts.
Eire Og were on terms in the fifth minute before taking the lead for the first time, two minutes later. Newmarket were very economical in attack, recording just a solitary wide during the first half, and the sides were level for a second time as T.J. Bodie slotted a free from the right hand side over the crossbar.
As the game ebbed and flowed so did the lead. Eire Og added a third point but two pointed frees by Nicky Flanagan edged Newmarket into the lead 0-4 to 0-3, midway through the half. Eire Og responded with the next two points but again, Nicky Flanagan punished an indiscretion on kicking his third pointed free.
Newmarket were having a good spell at this stage with the half back line of Bart Daly, Mark Reidy and T.J. Brosnan the platform from which several attacks originated. In the forward division, John Lane was proving a handful and he marked a towering first half performance on adding two excellent points.
As the half entered the closing minutes, Eire Og finished strongly as two points left the sides deadlocked for a sixth time at 0-7 apiece at the turnover.
Newmarket regained the lead three minutes after the restart as Daniel Culloty did superbly to create an opportunity for himself and though closing in on goal from an acute angle, he finished in style for a fine point.
Six minutes into the half and Eire Og burst forward from deep within their defence and the move culminated with a shot from the ground which was rifled to the roof of the net, in what proved to be the most significant score of the match.
The sides exchanged two pointed frees as Nicky Flanagan again produced a white flag for Newmarket. The game flowed from end to end as little separated both sides. Nicky Flanagan pointed again before a magnificent point from long range by Bart Daly brought parity yet again, 0-11 to 1-8 at the end of the third quarter.
Eire Og pointed next but again Newmarket were back on terms as Bart Daly majestically pointed a long distance free. With the game entering the final ten minutes, it was Eire Og who again managed to fashion a lead but a brilliant team move from Newmarket saw Seanie Francis O’Connor punch an equalizing point.
With five minutes remaining, the sides were level for a ninth time. Eire Og seized the initiative once again as a close in free was converted. Unfortunately for Newmarket, on this occasion they were unable to find an equalizing point in the remaining minutes as the team just narrowly missed out.
Despite defeat, Newmarket are promoted to Division 2 for next year, together with Eire Og who also happened to inflict Newmarket’s solitary league defeat during the eleven game campaign.
The Newmarket team and scorers…
Nicky Flanagan (0-5), John Lane (0-3), Bart Daly (0-2), Seanie Francis O’Connor (0-1), T.J. Bodie (0-1), Daniel Culloty (0-1)
|Paudie Allen||Denys O'Brien||Brian O’Riordan|
|Bart Daly||Mark Reidy||T. J. Brosnan|
|Timothy Murphy||Colin O'Sullivan|
|John Lane||Tony O'Keeffe||Seanie Francis O Connor|
|T.J. Bodie||Nicky Flanagan||Daniel Culloty|
|Subs: Michael Kenneally, Gavin Forde, Eddie Allen|