Clinical Newcestown up the gears in the second half against Ilen Rovers

Clinical Newcestown up the gears in the second half against Ilen Rovers
Newcestown's Carthach Kean, seen here avoiding the tackle of Ilen Rovers' Donal Collins last year, scored 2-1 this time out. Picture Denis Boyle

Newcestown 3-17 Ilen Rovers 1-7

A POWERFUL second-half surge gave Newcestown the points in this Bons Secours Hospital Cork Premier SFC clash at Dunmanway on Saturday evening.

Semi-finalists last year – beating Ilen in the quarter-finals – Newcestown bossed most of the first half but Seán O’Donovan’s penalty goal just before the break meant that Ilen trailed by three points, 0-9 to 1-3 at half-time. 

When sub Dan Mac Eoin announced his arrival for the Baltimore/Church Cross club with a pair of pointed frees, the gap was down to the minimum and a tight second half looked in store.

However, Ilen would only score twice more after that – the game’s final two points – while Newcestown pushed on impressively. After sub Séamus O’Sullivan had marked his debut with the first of two points, captain Cárthach Keane and Jack Meade combined to set up Tadgh Twomey for a goal to make it 1-10 to 1-5. 

The points flowed after that as Newcestown worked the ball very well. Just before the second-half water break, Gearóid O’Donovan rounded off a lovely move to open up an eight-point lead and, after the resumption, O’Sullivan set up Keane for a point before Micheál McSweeney’s driving run allowed Cian Healy to get his fourth.

With a ten-point lead and as many minutes remaining, Newcestown were unlikely to be denied but, just to make sure, Keane added a goal, a low finish after Jack Meade had won an Ilen kick-out and fed O’Sullivan.

Keane’s second and Newcestown’s third goal on 56, after Twomey had picked him out, made it 3-16 to 1-5 before Ilen had late points from Donal Collins and Conor O’Driscoll.

Facing into a senior A hurling clash against Killeagh next week, Newcestown targeted a good football start and showed up well in the first half. Healy’s frees helped to give them an early cushion, while Seán O’Donovan was a stand-out at midfield, winning four Ilen restarts.

One of these instances led to Mark Kelly’s fisted point, making it 0-9 to 0-3 after 29 minutes.

Earlier, Ilen had been unlucky when Stephen Leonard’s goal attempt hit the post and, in injury time, the corner-forward’s shot came back off the crossbar. In the wake of that, Seán O’Donovan’s effort was illegally foot-blocked, yielding a penalty, which O’Donovan scored.

That brought Ilen back into contention and the early second-half exchanges suggested a close battle, but instead Newcestown eased clear.

Scorers for Newcestown: C Keane 2-1, C Healy 0-4 (0-1 f), D Buckley 0-3, T Twomey 1-0, G O’Donovan, L Meade, S O’Sullivan 0-2 each, J Meade, M Kelly, C Dinneen (f) 0-1 each.

Ilen Rovers: S O’Donovan 1-1 (1-0 penalty, 0-1 f), D Mac Eoin 0-2 f, S Leonard, Peter O’Driscoll, D Collins, Conor O’Driscoll 0-1 each.

NEWCESTOWN: C White; M McSweeney, C Twomey, C O’Donovan; G O’Donovan, L Meade, C Dinneen; F Keane, S O’Donovan; M Kelly, D Buckley, C Keane; J Meade, T Twomey, C Healy.

Subs: S O’Sullivan for M Kelly (37), E Kenneally for Healy (52).

ILEN ROVERS: D O’Sullivan; Paddy O’Driscoll, D O’Driscoll, B Leonard; Cian O’Driscoll, S Minihane, Peter O’Driscoll; Conor O’Driscoll, Peadar O’Driscoll; C Harrington, S O’Donovan, D Collins; S Leonard, A O’Sullivan, K Lynch.

Subs: J Sheehy for Harrington, D Mac Eoin for Lynch (both half-time), M Bushe for B Leonard, T O’Regan for A O’Sullivan (both 45), D O’Driscoll for Peadar O’Driscoll (55).

Referee: A Long (Argideen Rangers).

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