Duhallow 0-12 Newcestown 0-7
DUHALLOW reached their second successive county senior football championship final by beating first-time semi-finalists, Newcestown, at Páirc Uí Rinn yesterday.
It was a best-forgotten game, with 10 yellow cards divided evenly between the combatants. Some tackling was so reckless it’s a surprise it it finished 15 men apiece.
Apart from taking a first-minute lead, Newcestown were always chasing the game, falling six points behind, 0-11 to 0-5, entering the final quarter. But because of their never-say-die approach, the north-west combination had to battle through six minutes of second-half injury-time.
A rousing run by Luke Meade yielded a point in the 48th minute, followed by a Daniel Twomey free, seven minutes from the end of regulation time.
It was now a four-point game for the third time. Newcestown piled the pressure on the Duhallow goal, but the defence remained defiant.
Aidan Walsh’s spectacular catch, near his own line, under considerable pressure, reflected their defiance and when substitute Ian Walsh kicked the closing score, in the 64th minute, Duhallow knew they had survived a right battle.
In the first-half, Newcestown, for whom Tadhg Twomey kicked the opening score, showed their hand by withdrawing as many as 13 outfield players behind the ball, when not in possession.
Anthony O’Connor almost bagged an early goal, only to strike an upright from close range, but Duhallow showed patience and plenty of skill to register five points on the spin in an eight-minute burst.
Seamus Hickey, O’Connor, Donncha O’Connor, Kevin Crowley (who fisted over), and Fintan O’Connor nailed scores to leave their side 0-5 to 0-1 ahead entering the second quarter.
Newcestown, though, showed their capabilities by claiming the next three scores, including a pair from Daniel Twomey, after David Buckley had begun the sequence to cut the deficit to the minimum, 0-5 to 0-4, after 23 minutes.
Duhallow, however, replied with two points of their own, Conor O’Callaghan and Fintan O’Connor obliging for a 0-7 to 0-4 interval advantage.
The divisional representatives made a brisk start to the second-half, with Cork’s Eoghan McSweeney scoring a point after only a dozen seconds to stretch the advantage to double scores.
In keeping with their spirited approach, Newcestown cancelled it out moments later, with a fine Twomey score, before a fierce scramble in the Duhallow goalmouth almost led to the opening goal.
The defenders managed to usher the ball to the safety of the corner, amid a clutch of bodies, and last year’s losing finalists, then, swept upfield for Anthony O’Connor to add a pointed free to their tally, 0-9 to 0-5. There was a plethora of yellow cards as the game threatened to spill over, before O’Connor, again, underlined the importance of reliable free-taking, with a beauty from distance in the 43rd minute.
And when the Knocknagree marksman made it three on the spin, for 0-11 to 0-5, after 45 minutes, it looked like plain sailing for Duhallow to the finish line, only for Newcestown to keep battling.
Scorers for Duhallow: A O’Connor 0-4 (0-3 f), F O’Connor 0-2, K Crowley, E McSweeney, C O’Callaghan, S Hickey, D O’Connor, I Walsh 0-1 each.
Newcestown: D Twomey 0-3 (0-2 f), T Twomey 0-2, L Meade 0-1.
DUHALLOW: P Doyle (Knocknagree); B Daly (Newmarket), J McLoughlin (Kanturk), M O’Mahony (Knocknagree); K Crowley (Millstreet), K Cremin (Boherbue), L O’Neill (Kanturk), captain; P Walsh (do), A Walsh (do); F O’Connor (Knocknagree), E McSweeney (do), C O’Callaghan (Dromtarriffe); A O’Connor (Knocknagree), S Hickey (Rockchapel), D O’Connor (Ballydesmond).
Subs: S Hickey (Millstreet) for D O’Connor injured 17, A Ryan (Newmarket) for P Walsh 42 , L McLoughlin (Kanturk) for Hickey 55, I Walsh (Kanturk) for F O’Connor 57, E O’Callaghan (Rockchapel) for O’Neill 60+2.
NEWCESTOWN: C White; E Kelly, C Twomey, M McSweeney; G O’Donovan, L Meade, C Dineen; F Keane, S O’Donovan; M Kelly, D Buckley, C Keane, captain; J Meade, T Twomey, D Twomey.
Subs: M Kennelly for C Twomey injured 16, C O’Neill for Kelly 38, T Horgan for F Keane 55.
Referee: J Bermingham (Bride Rovers).