A dominant second half ensured that Newcestown got off to a winning start in Group B of the Co-op SuperStores Cork SAHC at Páirc Uí Rinn yesterday.
Trailing by four points after 28 minutes, the West Cork side were level by half-time and pulled clear of their opponents in the second period.
Killeagh were the better side for much of the first half. The East Cork men were off to a great start Kevin Murphy pointed after 18 seconds and Ryan McCarthy sent a sideline cut over the bar and, while Newcestown twice equalised, Killeagh struck for a goal in the sixth minute.
Full-forward Gary Leahy was the man who scored it, set up by Murphy, and they held the upper hand for the majority of the opening period. Leading by 1-5 to 0-5 at the water break, the pushed further clear on the resumption thanks to a pair of Eoghan Keniry points.
However, having been uncharacteristically listless up until then, Newcestown harnessed some momentum as Jack Meade, Cian Healy (free) and Luke Meade all pointed in quick succession.
When Killeagh responded with two more Keniry dead balls, they looked set to lead at the break but Jack Meade made it a goal game and that goal arrived courtesy of a Cian Healy penalty in injury time after Seán O’Donovan had been fouled when he gathered a Conor O’Neill delivery.
After the restart, Luke Meade’s third point of the game gave Newcestown the lead for the first time, set up by Tadgh Twomey, who had been switched to midfield. A close-range Healy free left them two ahead.
The lead could have changed hands on 38 when Ryan McCarthy’s free from deep came back off the post and Leahy reacted quickest but his goalbound effort was excellently saved by debutant goalkeeper Cathal Wilson.
While McCarthy cut the gap from the resultant 65, Newcestown had an immediate riposte as O’Donovan won the puckout and fed Twomey, who set wing-back Colm Dinneen on a surging run which ended with a point.
Healy did similar after a good point by Killeagh number 7 Killian Treacy and the corner-forward got his sixth on 46 minutes, just before the drinks stop, to open up their biggest lead to that stage, three points.
Keniry cut the gap with a free after Treacy had been fouled following a good burst, but Dinnen’s third for Newcestown after a good move put them three ahead again before Healy made it four from a free brought forward.
Healy got his eighth point from another free after Killeagh’s Daniel Walsh had been sent off for a second booking and his ninth left six points between the teams.
There was one sour note just before the end as Newcestown lost Seán O’Donovan to a red card for an off-the-ball incident, meaning he will miss the clash with Kanturk next week. However, the most important thing for them is that they will go in on the back of a win.
Scorers for Newcestown: C Healy 1-9 (1-0 penalty, 0-9f), L Meade, C Dinneen 0-3 each, J Meade 0-2, C Keane 0-1.
Scorers for Killeagh: E Keniry (0-5f), R McCarthy (0-3f, 0-1 sl, 0-1 65) 0-5 each, G Leahy 1-0, S Long 0-2, K Murphy 0-1.
NEWCESTOWN: C Wilson; M McSweeney, C Twomey, M Courtney; C Dinneen, C O’Neill, G O’Donovan; C O’Donovan, J Meade; T Twomey, L Meade, D Buckley; C Keane, S O’Donovan, C Healy.
Subs: F Keane for J Meade (40), N Murray for C Twomey (51, injured).
KILLEAGH: C Walsh; A Keniry, C Coughlan, D Hogan; D Walsh, C Fogarty, K Treacy; S Long, M Murphy; K Lane, E Keniry, K Murphy; A Leahy, G Leahy, R McCarthy.
Subs: C Fitzgibbon for M Murphy (9-11, blood), S Middy for M Murphy (33), P O’Neill for Lane (45), Fitzgibbon for Couglan (60).
Referee: D Daly (Brian Dillons).