NEWMARKET ON FERGUS…….2-9 CLONLARA………….1-4
By Michael O Connor.
Double done and with ease by Newmarket on Fergus. Satisfaction also for Newmarket that after the nailbiting championship semi final win over Clonlara that led to the South East side with a sense of revenge entering this game. This was a game with a smouldering feel to it and when the two sides clashed when entering the field this bad feeling was confirmed. Over the course of the hour two were sent off, one on a red and another on two yellows with another three booked.
12 months on from the last Clare Cup final involving Newmarket and the holy grail has been delivered safe and sound. It was noted by many involved in the Newmarket set up that the late season success of 2011 that delivered Senior B and Clare Cup honours paved the way for their memorable 2012. Having spent so many years as the nearly men of Clare hurling now was not the time to lay up and let someone else take a slice of the honours on offer.
Seven days previous the heartbreak of defeat at the hands of De La Salle in Sixmilebridge was channelled positively by the Newmarket club to end the season on a high. With the national anthem still in full play on the sound system the game was on and it was the fleet footed Shane O Brien who opened the scoring. With the game in the 4th minute Mike McInerney was red carded and Oisin O Brien was yellow carded following an incident near the Clonlara goal as a sign for what lay ahead was displayed. Newmarket reacted in a scoring mood as Shane O Brien struck for a well taken goal in the 6th minute. Clonlara’s Cathal O Connell opened his sides account as Domhnall O Donovan was now the loose man for Clonlara as Newmarket were operating with only four forwards with Colin Ryan sweeping around midfield with success.
A tussle between Colin Ryan and Darach Honan ended with Honan thowing Ryan’s hurley out from the field for which he entered Johnny Healy’s notebook. Ryan added frees in the 8th, 14th, 18th and 23rd minutes with responses coming from O Connell brothers in the 16th and 22nd minutes, both from frees. The last score of the first half was a truly tremendous score from play considering the worsening conditions by centre back Nicky O Connell to leave Newmarket (1-5) to (0-4) clear at the break. Cathal O Connell and Alan Barrett were booked by Johnny Healy after a 10 man entanglement near the stand as half time approached.
Never did a team need a good second half start than Clonlara but when Shane O Brien struck for his second goal after being set up by David Barrett the writing was on the wall as now Newmarket were seven clear and if it was known at this stage that Clonlara would not score again until the 61st minute many would have left the grounds. Clonlara were reduced to 14 soon after when Oisin O Brien received a second yellow card as Colin Ryan sent the resulting free wide. The ever popular Ronan Goode entered the free for James Liddy and indeed he did well holding up the ball in terrible conditions. He won a free converted by Ryan as Pat O Haore and Thomas O Donovan were also booked. Both sides began to empty their benches as nothing less than three goals would win this game for Clonlara . There was only three more scores from the 43rd minute to the final whistle. Martin O Hanlon scored a great effort after a three man move. David Barrett had Newmarket’s last score of the game with an effort from play and was wide with two more as the winners tagged on 6 second half wides. Clonlara had not scored since the 25th minute and 36 minutes went by until they had the last score of the game when Thomas O Donovan goaled after a melee in the Newmarket square and soon after the cup was making its way to Newmarket.
Best for the double winners were Darren Duggan, Eoin O Brien, James McInerney, Enda Barrett, Martin O Hanlon, Shane O Brien and Colin Ryan. Clonlara will want to forget about 2012 and consign it and remember it as perhaps a building block to future success. Does the large number of county players missing for long tracts of the year affect them greater than other sides? Time will tell.
NEWMARKET ON FERGUS: Darren Duggan, Eoin O Brien, James McInerney, Sean O Connor, Niall O Connor, Enda Barrett, Alan Barrett, Eoin Hayes, Martin O Hanlon (0-1), David Barrett (0-1), Shane O Brien (2-1), Mike McInerney, Shane O Brien, James Liddy, Colin Ryan (0-6). Subs: Shane Kelleher for S O Connor, Noel Frawley for Hayes, Darren O Connor for Niall O Connor, Ronan Goode for Liddy, Niall Enright for O Brien jnr.
CLONLARA: Ger O Connell, Shane O Brien, Domhnall O Donovan, Pat O Hare, Oisin O Brien, Nicky O Connell (0-2), Paul Nihill, John Conlon, Cillian Fennessy, Colm Galvin, Thomas O Donovan (1-0), Cormac O Donovan, Darach Honan, Jason Murphy, Cathal O Connell (0-2). Subs: Neil Ryan for Murphy, James Hastings for O Connell, Tommy Gillen for O Donovan, Ronan Carey for S O Brien,
Referee: John Healy (Smith O Briens).
After the game the Clare champion cup was presented to Alan Barrett by vice chairman of the county board Joe Cooney amid great delight for Newmarket supporters and officials.