Newmarket re-claimed the E. Tarrant and Sons Duhallow Junior A Championship in emphatic fashion on Saturday afternoon, overcoming the holders Dromtarriffe on a scoreline of 4-14 to 2-13, securing the side’s sixteen divisional title.
With the game originally fixed for Kilbrin, it was relocated to Meelin due to the rainfall brought on by Storm Babet over the previous days. Before the throw-in the large crowd marked the sad and sudden passing of Dromtarriffe chairman Seán Feely with a minute’s silence, as befitting the GAA gael.
With the game soon underway, Newmarket quickly led through a well taken Ryan O’Keeffe point, under pressure from the opposition defence. Dromtarriffe levelled up the scoring quickly after with a point of their own. O’Keeffe was involved again in the next attack but picked up a muscle injury in the process and had to be replaced by the ageless Kevin O’Sullivan. Newmarket’s forward line looked dangerous anytime the ball entered the Dromtarriffe area and quick-fire goals from Hugh and Barry O’Connor gave their side a strong lead it refused to relinquish for the rest of the contest. A Dromtarriffe brace was followed by a second Hugh O’Connor goal on seventeen minutes, to put seven between the sides. The reigning champions managed to reduce the arrears to four with their first goal of the contest, but it proved to be the closet they could get to Newmarket’s tally. A Donal Hannon free followed by another from play cancelled out a Dromtarriffe score, to see Newmarket hold a 3-03 to 1-04 advantage entering the final five minutes of the first half. The league champions got their fourth goal of the game on 29 minutes when a well worked ball up from defence met Donal Hannon who played a perfect pass into Rory Lynn, coolly finishing to the Dromtarriffe net. Dromtarriffe did pull one back two minutes later, with a Hugh O’Connor point from the side line rounding off the half, in which Newmarket outscored Dromtarriffe 4-04 to 1-06.
Dromtarriffe closed the gap to six in the opening minute of the second period, with Newmarket replying through a Hannon free and a point from play. A brace from Dromtarriffe brought it back to six again at the three quarter mark, with Newmarket defending resolutely to keep the opposition from making serious inroads into the deficit. The attack too maintained Newmarket’s advantage with a Barry O’Connor hat-trick ensuring his side led by 4-09 to 1-13, with five minutes to play. With closing points from Donal Hannon (2), Conor O’Keeffe, Kevin O’Sullivan and Cathal Browne, Newmarket also had goalkeeper Shane McAuliffe to thank for two reflex saves in the latter stages. Dromtarriffe did break through with the last puck of the game, with Wayne King requesting the ball on the next play, confirming Newmarket’s resounding win.
Following the final whistle, Josh O’Keeffe was presented with a richly deserved Man of the Match award for his strong centre back display, by competition sponsor Eamon Tarrant. Duhallow chairman Steven Lynch addressed the large crowd gathered in the middle of the field and entrusted the John Joe Brosnan Cup to captain Conor O’Keeffe to raptures of delight from the Newmarket support. Later that evening the players, led by the Newmarket Pipeband for the second time that day, paraded through the town, with Newmarket Chairman Seán Irwin thanking all involved and Conor O’Keeffe introducing the squad of 2023. The evening was capped off with a rousing rendition of ‘Up Up Newmarket’ by midfielder John Ryan and the large crowd in attendance. A special mention must go to the Newmarket Pipeband, who having already performed in Meelin earlier in the day, also celebrated their 60th anniversary that evening in the Cultúrlann and were on hand again to head the parade at 10pm on Saturday night.
Congratulations to the players, their families, the management team of Seán Irwin, Stephen Stokes, DJ O’Sullivan and Neilie McCarthy along with their support staff on the day of Thomás O’Keeffe (Duhallow Physiotherapy), Dr. Bertie Daly and Luke McCarthy. Attention now switches to the County championship, with Newmarket due to take on Harbour Rovers on Saturday 4th November, at 3pm in Glantane.
The Newmarket team and scorers…
Hugh O’Connor (2-01), Donal Hannon (0-06, 3f), Barry 0’Connor (1-03), Rory Lynn (1-00), Conor O’Keeffe (C) (0-01), Cathal Browne (0-01), Ryan 0’Keeffe (0-01), Kevin O’Sullivan (0-01)
|Paudie Allen||Alan Ryan||Paddy Browne|
|Aidan Browne||Josh O'Keeffe||Mikey Browne|
|Hugh O'Connor||John Ryan|
|Conor O'Keeffe||Cathal Browne||Barry O'Connor|
|Donal Hannon||Rory Lynn||Ryan O'Keeffe|
|Subs: Kevin O'Sullivan for Ryan O'Keeffe (4, inj), Tadhg Ryan for John Ryan (57), Colin O'Sullivan for Paddy Browne (64), Gavin Forde for Josh O'Keeffe (64), Donnacha Fitzpatrick for Kevin O'Sullivan (64)|
Panel: Ben Newman, Darren 0’Keeffe, Jack O’Connor, Daniel Norton, Kevin Daly, David Cottrell, Mikey Cottrell, Michael Lane, Ethan Hourigan, Nicky Barrett, Seán Murphy, Eoin Walsh, Paudie O’Sullivan, Pete Goggin.