Cratloe 0-12 Newmarket on Fergus 0-11
You could be forgiven for searching, but there was no silver canister on
show at Cusack Park last Saturday. But then you could easily excuse the
victors their delight at Ger Hoey's final whistle too. Cratloe, pummeling
the label of 'a flash in the pan' had just nosed out the bookies perennial
pretenders to the throne after four years of narrow defeat to the Blue's.
The final scoreline hardly justifies it but this was one pulsating hour's
hurling. And one which a strengthening breeze at Cusack Park threatened to
toy with from the throw in. Newmarket, understandably, chose to hurl with
it at their backs in the opening half but in the end, it was the hurling
played against the elements rather than with it that tilted the result for
Cratloe. Six first half points against the wind in the opening half as
oppose to Newmarket's three after the turnaround clawed the champions
through to only their fourth ever County semi Final.
A physically imposing Newmarket played the more direct hurling for the
most of the opening half feeding 'Big James' McInerney with an aerial
supply at the edge of the square. Equal to the pressure however was Barry
Duggan who with David Ryan and Phillip Gleeson went toe to toe with the
pace of Newmarkets corner forwards and settled into the contest superbly.
Infact Cratloe had the cheek to twice lead in the opening half before
succumbing to a late surge by Newmarket before the break.
Frees through Colin Ryan and Bernard Gaffney cancelled out early Cratloe
points from Conor McGrath and James Enright.
Some of Cratloe's build up play was at times sublime but in conducting
their running and passing game, they were at times left open in defence on
Newmarket's encounter and had to rely on goalkeeper Sean Hawes and Duggan
infront of him to twice deny Newmarket's David Barrett and Mike McInerney
bearing down on goal. A 65' yard free put Newmarket infront midway
through the half before Cratloe's Conor Ryan rattled the side netting
after a Conor McGrath breakaway toward goal. McGrath vied hard for the man
of the match award and hurled through two markers on the afternoon,
neither with an answer his pace. Another pointed free from the corner
forward two minutes before the interval put Cratloe into a 0-06 to 0-05
move before Newmarket shrugged clear with two David Barrett strikes and a
looping score from the standside from Gaffney.
The opening quarter of second half eventually saw Newmarket brawl their
way three clear with an Eoin O Brien free. Shortly after Cratloe were
forced to withdraw pacey midfielder Óige Murphy but replacement Barry
Gleeson filled the gap admirably at corner forward on his introduction.
With Sean Chaplin, Paudge Collins and James Enright working tirelessly,
Newmarket were clawed back when Enright, Sean Collins and McGrath pointed
to tie the contest at 0-11 each.
The final quarter was a thrilling affair. Newmarket introduced injured
James McInerney and pipped back into the lead with an Eoin O Brien point
on the run but all along Cratloe seemed to have more fuel in the tank and
were unlucky not to stretch infront before McGrath eventually struck a
double, one from a close range free and a stirring point from play to put
his side clear.
Still the favourites pressed but each time they did they found a resolute
defence where John O Gorman, Mikey Hawes and Liam Markham finished the
Cratloe's satisfaction was very obvious at the end. They may have to
search hard for the compliment in it but Newmarket are annually, the
measure by which contenders for the Canon Hamilton are weighed. Add to
that their dominance in the last three championship head to heads with
Cratloe and you can pardon the victors their few smiles. Talk of the next
round could wait a few hours.
That day's work is a mouthwatering semi final with Clonlara, who'll need
little incentive after seizing their County honours to Cratloe last
October. Clon' overcame a quietly fancied Clooney/Quin side in business
like fashion on Saturday in Shannon and will be gunning for their
neighbours in a fortnights time. At the other side of the draw
Sixmilebridge and O Callaghans Mills drew 1-13 apiece and Crusheen had a
goal to spare over Clarecastle.
Ar Aghaidh Linn
Cratloe; S Hawes, P Gleeson, B Duggan, D Ryan, L Markham, M Hawes, J O
Gorman, M Óg Murphy, S Chaplin (0-1), S Collins (0-2), J Enright (0-2), D
Browne (0-1), C McGrath (0-5 - 2f), C Ryan (0-1), P Collins. B. Gleeson 40
mins. E.Boyce 50 mins.