Newmarket emerged from the tightest and closest of contests to defeat Freemount by a solitary point, in the Kanturk Credit Union Duhallow Junior Hurling League Semi Final by 0-13 to 0-12 played at sunny Tullylease on Saturday evening. In doing so, Newmarket have qualified for the league final for the first time since 1983, the reward for a tremendous league campaign this season.
The game got off to a blistering start with the best hurling displayed in a rip roaring opening eighteen minutes. Freemount pointed a second minute free and doubled their advantage in the fifth minute. Newmarket’s response was to hit over two points within a minute. Firstly, Newmarket’s outstanding performer Gavin Forde scored his first point of the evening before Jonathan Flaherty showed great industry before pointing in impressive manner. Freemount edged in front but the lively John Lane ensured the sides were level for a second time at 0-3 apiece within nine action packed minutes. The exchanges remained fast and furious as Freemount again managed to hit the front with two successive points. Newmarket brought themselves on level terms through Gavin Forde and a well worked point as Eddie Allen played in the excellent Tadgh Ryan whose sublime finish was just reward for his endeavours. Newmarket functioned well in attack and hit the front for the first time with John Lane pointing a close in free. The lead was short lived as Freemount scored the next two points leaving the score now in their favour, 0-7 to 0-6 by the eighteenth minute. The scoring rate understandably dropped at this stage as both defences tightened up. Freemount had the next point but Newmarket again found the necessary resolve to hit back. Gavin Forde added his third point of the half before the sides were level for a fifth time in the twenty seventh minute. Team captain Tony O’Keeffe won possession out by the sideline and sent a hit delivery across the square. Tadgh Ryan showed wonderful control and composure from a difficult angle to fire over the crossbar for a superb point. Freemount ended the half with a slender advantage as a pointed free left the game delicately poised, at 0-9 to 0-8 at the half time whistle.
Newmarket resumed in dominant fashion but will reflect on a second half where they hit twelve wides, many of a frustrating nature and will feel lucky they did not rue these misses, thanks in the main to the magnificent and inspirational exploits of Gavin Forde, who was now operating at right half back. Time and again he stepped forward to score some excellent frees as well as excelling from general play. Gavin Forde was on target three times from placed balls by the ninth minute as Newmarket regained the lead by two points. At the other end, the defence were in fine form led by the stand out displays of Robert Stack and Jack Guiney. In attack a succession of wides followed and midway through the half, Freemount restored parity with their first points of the half. A tense conclusion would follow which gripped the watching spectators. Gavin Forde pointed from a difficult angle to gain the initiative with eight minutes remaining but within a minute a Freemount point tied the sides for a seventh time. For the fifth time in the half, Gavin Forde again produced a white flag to the delight of Newmarket supporters with the contest entering the final five minutes. Newmarket held their composure, especially in defence and saw the game out without conceding another score. The final whistle followed and a delighted Newmarket camp can now look forward to a final against Tullylease next Saturday evening in Kanturk at 8pm.
The Newmarket team and scorers…
Gavin Forde (0-8), John Lane (0-2), Tadgh Ryan (0-2), Jonathan Flaherty (0-1).
|Jack Guiney||Robert Stack||Paudie Allen|
|Alan Ryan||John Ryan||Pa O’Brien|
|Gavin Forde||Ian Flanagan|
|Jonathan Flaherty||John Scanlon||John Lane|
|Tadhg Ryan||Tony O'Keeffe||Eddie Allen|
|Subs: Barry O’Connor, Nicky Flanagan.|