A last gasp extra time goal from Donal Hannon enabled Newmarket to clinch an enthralling, epic Kanturk Co-Op Mart Duhallow Junior Hurling Championship clash with Millstreet by 3-22 to 2-23 after eighty action packed minutes at picturesque Banteer on Friday night.
Newmarket were pegged back in normal time, having led early in the second half by six points as Millstreet gained parity on three separate occasions in the final quarter to ensure an additional twenty minutes. Level again at half time in extra time, Newmarket saw a three point lead slip with an equalizing Millstreet goal less than two minutes from time and a point followed, as Newmarket faced the prospect of an agonizing defeat. In a game that provided such gripping entertainment, there was to be one final twist as Donal Hannon billowed the net in the dying seconds to seal a famous win.
Millstreet were first to score as the sides shared six points in the first quarter of the game. Donal Hannon levelled before Tony O’Keeffe edged Newmarket in front for the first time. Millstreet replied with two points before Donal Hannon tied the sides for a third time at 0-3 apiece. Barry O’Connor and Donal Hannon gave Newmarket a brief two point lead but this was wiped out by two Millstreet points. Millstreet scored the first goal of the night as a long delivery towards the square caused confusion and the ball was flicked to the net. Newmarket recovered as John Lane pointed well before Conor O’Keeffe making his championship debut, drilled a well taken goal to the corner of the net. Newmarket gained the upper hand four minutes later. A free in was awarded some thirty yards from goal and for the second championship game running, Donal Hannon took aim and fired a shot through a crowd of players before it nestled in the net for a second Newmarket goal. Millstreet pointed a free to reduce the arrears but John Lane ended the half by slotting over a point and Newmarket went into the interval after a lively first half with a lead of 2-7 to 1-6.
Newmarket resumed in fine fashion as Tony O’Keeffe found Barry O’Connor who pointed within a minute of the throw in. Donal Hannon added a free as the lead stretched to six points after four minutes of play. Newmarket created a few gilt edged goal scoring opportunities but were denied on more than one occasion by some fine goalkeeping and some stout Millstreet defending. The game flowed from end to end but Millstreet hit three points in a row, in quick succession. Barry O’Connor was alert to a rebound on scoring a point but again Millstreet reeled off three further points in a compelling encounter. Donal Hannon pointed from play as Newmarket held a slender lead of 2-11 to 1-13 at the three quarter stage of the game. Barry O’Connor added his third point of the night but two Millstreet points had the sides level ahead of the final ten minutes. Newmarket regained the lead on points from Kevin O’Sullivan and Donal Hannon but Millstreet were equal to the task on producing two levelling points. With the game entering the dying moments, Donal Hannon was unerring from a free by the sideline but straight from the puckout Millstreet had an equalizer, with the sides deadlocked for a seventh time, 2-15 to 1-18 as the final whistle was blown.
The drama and pace of the game was maintained during extra time. John Lane had a point as the spoils were divided again within two minutes. Newmarket edged in front through points from John Ryan and Donal Hannon before three Millstreet points tipped the balance in their favour. In a fervent ten minutes play, Barry O’Connor added another point and the sides having been level on a further three occasions during this period, gained a brief but deserved respite with the score reading 2-19 to 1-22.
Newmarket appeared to be edging to victory as Donal Hannon added three unanswered points but this was crushed as a Millstreet free in made its way to the net past a well marshalled Newmarket net, to tie the issue one more time. Millstreet regained the lead with what appeared to be a late winning point but Newmarket showed tremendous character to muster one final throw of the dice. In the final attack, Donal Hannon found himself staring at the Millstreet goal and he went for the decisive goal as he buried his shot to the net to keep Newmarket’s championship season alive.
Credit to both sides for serving up such a thrilling encounter, fifty scores in eighty minutes, sides level on eleven different occasions and so many highlights and talking points for those lucky enough the witness a classic championship battle.
The Newmarket team and scorers…
Donal Hannon (2-12), Barry O’Connor (0-4), John Lane (0-3), Conor O’Keeffe (1-0), Kevin O’Sullivan (0-1), John Ryan, (0-1), Tony O’Keeffe (0-1).
|Jack Guiney||Peter Lynch||Paudie Allen|
|Gavin Forde||John Ryan||Alan Ryan|
|Ian Flanagan||Pa O’Brien|
|Kevin O'Sullivan||Donal Hannon||John Lane|
|Conor O'Keeffe||Tony O'Keeffe||Barry O'Connor|
|Subs: Jonathan Flaherty|