NEWMARKET took one of the two semi-final spots in the Bons Secours Hospital Cork Premier IFC as they secured top spot in Group A with a 3-12 to 2-10 win over Castletownbere in Clondrohid.
The Duhallow side, managed by legendary Cork ladies’ footballer Deirdre O’Reilly, had already beaten Aghada and Na Piarsaigh and knew that the avoidance of defeat would send them through in first place but in the event they did enough to take the second-place ranking behind Group B winners Cill na Martra, ensuring a place in the last four.
The foundations were victory were laid in the first half as Daniel Culloty and Ryan O’Keeffe struck goals to put them 2-4 to 0-3 ahead and, while Gary Murphy raised a green flag for Castletownbere, Newmarket were comfortable as they led by 2-9 to 1-4 at half-time.
Darren O’Keeffe made the game safe with the third goal for Newmarket, for whom Conor O’Keeffe scored four points, while James Harrington did net a consolation goal for Castletownbere.
In the other game in that group, Aghada claimed the second qualification spot as they beat Na Piarsaigh by 1-15 to 2-7 in Carrigtwohill. With the wind, Aghada opened up an early second-point lead but James Keating’s goal got Piarsaigh back in it and it was 0-9 to 1-4 at half-time.
Kevin O’Hanlon netted for Aghada midway through the second half to put the East Cork side 1-12 to 1-5 in front and though Shane Forde got the city side’s second goal in the closing stages, Aghada had done enough.
In Group C, Kanturk were left in second place after a tumultuous finish to proceedings. With Macroom beating Nemo Rangers (see report), both of those sides were on four points and Kanturk made sure that they did likewise with a 4-14 to 0-16 win over Gabriel Rangers in Ballingeary. Ultimately, the size of Kanturk’s win stood to them as they edged out Macroom on scoring difference.
Kyrle Holland, Liam O’Keeffe and Alan Walsh all goaled for Kanturk in the first half as they moved 3-7 to 0-5 clear by half-time. A fourth goal, Holland’s second, wrapped up the victory in the second half. Mark Cronin and Ger O’Callaghan top-scored for Gabriels with seven and five points respectively.
Victory over Naomh Abán in Cloughduv wasn’t enough send through St Vincent’s through in Group B, but it ensured that they avoided the relegation play-off. With five minutes left, Naomh Abán led and looked likely to be heading through while Vincent’s faced the battle against the drop.
However, points from father-and-son duo John Paul and Blake Murphy gave the northsiders a 2-13 to 2-12 win. Blake Murphy and Michael O’Leary got the Vincent’s goals with Micheál Ó Liatháin and Aodhán Ó Luasa netting for Naomh Abán.