NEWMARKET ON FERGUS 1-14 CLARECASTLE 1-9
By Michael O Connor.
One of the great rivalries in sport in the Banner county was once more brought to the surface albeit at the more relaxed level of Junior C hurling as Newmarket took on Clarecastle in Sixmilebridge on Sunday afternoon. Veteran hurlers and consistent lifelong supporters of both clubs were to the fore as Newmarket and Clarecastle slugged it out for this prize. Many more cups are valued way ahead of Junior C hurling but for the 30 odd players and mentors this was their county final and over the hour was an enjoyable day. The new style tight fit jersey sometimes does not suit junior C competitions and in the case of some on view in Sixmilebridge the fast sliotar does not offer itself well either.
Over the hour Newmarket hit 11 wides as opposed to 8 for Clarecastle. Peter Roache, the bustling rugby man lining out for the junior C side opened the scoring for the Blues in the first minute. Pakie Healy, one of the more skilful Clarecastle stickmen opened his sides account from a free after three minutes as the pace of proceedings was not quite at its upper limits in the first quarter. Oisin Pender who got on a lot of ball over the hour without really punishing Clarecastle sent over a great score which was matched minutes later by Brendan Murphy.
Two well taken scores by Healy in the 9th and 10th minutes suggested that the Clarecastle men missing a number of key players were serious about offering a real challenge in this final. Peter Roache struck over his second point in the 11th minute and was a foot wide moments later with a goal shot that flashed across veteran Tommy Hegarty’s goal. Three scores from Oisin Pender, Alan McInerney who did well and Donagh Keogh from a long range free stretched the Newmarket lead to four points after 20 minutes. Clarecastle rang the changes at this stage with Mark Scanlon on for Emmet Considine.
Michael Malone was quick off the mark and kickstarted an impressive five minutes from Clarecastle with a well taken point in the 22nd minute. The first goal of the hour was set up by Malone and Pakie Healey as powerfully built Jeff Coughlan first timed the ball to the Newmarket net to a huge cheer from Clarecastle followers. Healy sent Clarecastle two clear before the final scores of the opening half fell to Shane McDermott and Keogh with a score each to leave the sides deadlocked on (1-6) to (0-9) at the break. At this juncture Clarecastle looked in pole position to push on and win the tie as they handled the best Newmarket could offer if they could keep scoring the frees that Newmarket were giving away.
Donagh Keogh opened the second half scoring with a 31st minute free with Healy responding with a like score a minute later. Rory Murphy caught a great ball in front of the Clarecastle goal but his effort was wide of the target as Brian Tierney pulled off a championship winning save from Jeff Coughlan at the other end in the 35th minute. Clarecastle curbed their chances of winning with three wides from frees in a four minute spell and this drew great relief from Newmarket who needed badly to get a big score to really take over the game. Clarecastle struck two points in the 42nd and 46th minutes from Alan Considine and Pakie Healy to send them (1-9) to (0-10) clear.
Newmarket emptied their bench in the final quarter and brought on pace as they recognised that perhaps Clarecastle were faltering somewhat in the pace department as the game matured. Donagh Keogh was the Newmarket star man in the final fifteen minutes with points from frees in the 50th, 52nd, 56th and one from play in the 55th. Newmarket were now two clear but Clarecastle were now sniffing for goal entering the final five minutes. The game was decided in the 57th minute as Peter Roache found sub Gary Collins who made no mistake giving Tommy Hegarty no chance and the cup was heading Newmarket way.
Best for the winners were Brian Tierney, Paudie O Looney, Alan McInerney, Ruairi McInerney, Donagh Keogh who finished well, Oisin Pender and Peter Roache. Clarecastle manfully fought to the end and will in 2012 should be odds on to win this crown with solid performers in Pakie Healy in the first half, Gary Casey, Eoin Vaughan, Sean Dilger, Michael Malone, Tommy Hegarty and Barry Lynch.
NEWMARKET: Brian Tierney, John O Looney, Paudie O Looney, Anthony O Donoghue, Ruairi McInerney, Alan Leamy, Ronan McCarthy, Alan McInerney (0-1), Shane McDermott (0-1), Donagh Keogh (0-8), Peter Roache (0-2), Cathal Fleming, Cathal Gilmartin, Rory Murphy, Oisin Pender (0-2). Subs: James Warren for O Looney, Gary Collins (1-0) for Kilmartin, Shane Collins for Fleming.
CLARECASTLE: Tommy Hegarty, Gary Casey, Pat Hayes, Michael John Reynolds, Eoin Vaughan, David Geragthy, Emmet Considine, Alan Considine (0-1), Barry Lynch, Sean Dilger, Brendan Murphy (0-1), Pakie Healy (0-6), Bernard Scanlon, Jeff Coughlan (1-0), Michael Malone (0-1). Subs: Mark Scanlon for Considine,
Referee: Jack Chaplin (Cratloe)