DE LA SALLE………….1-10 NEWMARKET ON FERGUS………..0-10
By Michael O Connor.
A fortnight after regaining the Canon Hamilton cup 31 years after their last success Newmarket took on De La Salle in Sixmilebridge. Following a powerful hours hurling and many missed chances on both sides including a goal chance for Newmarket, a last second goal for De La Salle sent the Waterford champions onto a Munster club final outing against Thurles Sarsfields.
Newmarket fell in front of the winning post after a sterling performance against a star studded De La Salle in Sixmilebridge. Ironically all season Newmarket have defended stoutly and indeed have let in roughly 11 to 13 points whilst scoring 13 to 15 points. On this occasion the averages reversed and their adventure in Munster is over.
Bryan Phelan opened the scoring from play with just over a minutes action as the wing back silenced the early cheers of the Newmarket crowd. Colin Ryan responded from a free with three minutes elapsed as from an early stage the top scorer from the county champions was floating around the half forward/midfield area. One feel’s that this tactic which secured the county crown after a 31 year gap was nowhere as successful against the Waterford men. Over the course of the hour Newmarket had only real clear goal chance and ultimately this cost the home side their munster final place.
It must be noted that De La Salle could have put this game out of reach of Newmarket before half time but hit 10 wides opposed to just two for Bob Enright’s men. John Mullane who worked hard but only managed two points which is testament to the Newmarket defence had his first before Paudie Nevin with his only score had De La Salle two clear after seven minutes of keenly contested fare. David Barrett and De La Salle top scorer John Keane swopped scores before Colin Ryan and Shane O Brien with a point each had the sides level after 14 minutes. The intensity of exchanges between the sides with a low scoring game ensured that each ball was a personal battle between each duo. Tactically both sides were crowding midfield and allowing Ryan and Mullane to roam where they felt necessary.
Dean Twomey who has strong family ties with Sixmilebridge restored De La Salle’s lead as John Keane stretched it to two after 18 minutes. Their last score of the first half fell to Bryan Phelan from a free as Newmarket were beginning to attain a grip on the game, slowing down their opponents creativity and opening up space for themselves. The huge issue for Newmarket was their absolute lack of chances to even test Steve Brenner in the De La Salle goal. The only two scores in the last 14 minutes of first half action fell to Colin Ryan who pointed a 65 in the 20th minute and again from a free after 27 minutes. Newmarket were troubling De La Salle’s defence and slowing down the visitor’s efforts upfield and to the credit of the Clare champions were holding their own against a physically stronger side who had used this power against Newmarket earlier in the game. James McInerney was quietly efficient at full back allowing no threat on Darren Duggan’s goal. At the interval Newmarket went in (0-7) to (0-6), yet one could sense that a big third quarter could swing it either way and certainly it was a one goal game.
John Mullane started the second half at full forward and Kevin Moran was back at centre back after having sustained a first half knock and being rerouted to full back. Shane O Brien levelled matters two minutes into the new half as the attendance of 2,504 were enjoying the end to end action in Sixmilebridge. A huge roar came from the crowd as an excellent piece of skill by Eoin O Brien who got out in front of Mullane and drilled the ball down the field and it ended with Shane O Brien sending Newmarket a point clear seconds later. Both sides brought on replacements at this interval as it was a surprise that James Liddy was not introduced earlier in the game. De La Salle’s key forwards Mullane and Dillon hit a point each in the 39th and 40th minute before Mike McInerney had a controversial effort allowed to level matters in the 43rd minute. Many said McInerney’s effort was wide and indeed the umpires were far from sure but all immaterial as the score was allowed.
Dean Twomey raced down the left hand side of the Bridge ground and from the narrowest of angles lifted the white flag. A huge moment in the game ended with De La Salle receiving a huge let off when James Liddy surged down the wing then sending a pin point pass to Mike McInerney whose effort cannoned off the crossbar. Had that goal on in I am confident that Newmarket would have secured the win. No other score came in the game for the following 15 minutes before Colin Ryan set up Mike McInerney and he rifled the ball over from 60 yards to level the game. In the 60th minute Colin Ryan won the ball out beside the subs bench. He beat two and front 65 yards floated an effort in that was no more than at most 2 foot wide of the post. De La Salle attacked and Paudie Nevin scrambled the ball across the Newmarket goal to John Keane who flicked the ball past the despairing dive of Darren Duggan. As this goal went in a mean spirited tackle off the ball by a De La Salle player on Colin Ryan went unpunished in all the excitement.
Best for De La Salle included Stephen Daniels, Kevin Moran, Bryan Phelan, Dean Twomey, John Keane, Jake Dillon in patches and John Mullane late on. Newmarket will learn from this game and perhaps could stand to them greatly in next years championship as they will want another crack at munster club hurling. Their best included Darren Duggan who had a good year, Martin O Hanlon, Eoin O Brien who has been superb, the O Connor Brother, the Barretts, Colin Ryan, Shane O Brien and Mike McInerney.
DE LA SALLE: Stevie Brenner, Conan Watt, Ian Flynn, Stephen Daniels, Bryan Phelan (0-2), Kevin Moran, Eoin Madigan, Eddie Barrett, Dean Twomey (0-2), Paudie Nevin (0-1), David Greene, Jake Dillon (0-1), John Mullane (0-2), Jack Kennedy, John Keane (1-2). Subs: Oran Keever for Watt, Chris Sheehan for Madigan, Shane McNulty for Greene,
NEWMARKET ON FERGUS: Darren Duggan, Sean O Connor, James McInerney, Eoin O Brien, Niall O Connor, Enda Barrett, Alan Barrett, Eoin Hayes, Martin O Hanlon, David Barrett (0-1), Colin Ryan (0-4), Mike McInerney (0-2), Shane O Brien jnr, Anthony Kilmartin, Shane O Brien (0-3). Subs: James Liddy for Kilmartin, Shane Kelleher for O Brien jnr.
Referee: John Ryan (Tipperary).