NEWCESTOWN manager Tom Wilson hailed his side’s defensive diligence as they held Ilen Rovers scoreless in the second half of Saturday’s SFC quarter-final.
A first appearance in a senior semi-final awaits the west Cork club after they came out on top on a 0-10 to 0-4 scoreline in Rosscarbery.
Leading by two points after playing with the wind in the first-half, Newcestown were under pressure from their Baltimore/Church Cross opponents for most of the second period but they were strong at the back and took counter-attacking chances when they presented themselves.
“It wasn’t for the faint-hearted and it wasn’t for the squeamish,” Wilson said. “At half-time, we thought that 0-6 to 0-4 up wasn’t enough. David Buckley was after kicking four great points, but we kicked seven wides from the right-hand corner.
“We just had to play a bit smarter, we knew that. We worked the ball up the field in the second half against the wind, there was no score for 13 or 14 minutes but then we got one and then a second one.
“You kind of knew then that it was going to be tough for Ilen to come back. To hold them scoreless against the wind was a huge achievement, we did really well defensively and our discipline was excellent.
“We kept pushing them back out the field and it was a magnificent second-half defensive effort.”
At the outset of the campaign, few would have chosen Newcestown as the last team left carrying the west Cork flag. If Duhallow overcome Clonakilty in next weekend’s quarter-final, that will be the case, though.
“We’re not the last ones yet,” Wilson said. “Maybe we’ll come up against our old foes Clonakilty again, them or Duhallow. We’re going to drive on for the next three weeks and get ourselves ready.
“We’re going to have a look at the opposition that’s coming and we’ll plan accordingly.”
Wilson certainly doesn’t have any fears about the ability of his players to cope with the pressure of playing in a county semi-final, especially as they have amassed a portfolio of big games in recent years, including the 2015 PIHC final and senior hurling quarter-finals in the previous two years.
“A lot of these fellas were playing when we won the intermediate county a few years ago,” he said.
“They know what it’s all about, how to process it and be ready and that’s all we can do.”
A boost to that end would be the recovery of injured players such as Trevor Horgan and Wilson is optimistic.
“We’re hoping that he will be back,” he said.
“Trevor had a bit of a groin injury and felt that the Ilen game was a week too soon. Hopefully, in three weeks’ time, he’ll be ready too.
“It was very short up to now, we brought on a few bodies against Ilen because we had to. All we can do is see what we have the next day and drive on from there.”