Newcestown 0-15 Mallow 0-14
For the second week in a row, Newcestown came out on the right side of a county SFC battle, edging past Mallow at Coachford on Saturday evening to book a quarter-final spot.
The West Cork side made it to the last eight for the first time since 2011 as stout defending ensured that, while Mallow reduced a four-point gap to the minimum, an equaliser remained elusive.
Newcestown – with former Cork players Colm and Brian O’Driscoll in their backroom team – never trailed at any stage and had seven scorers. David Buckley and Daniel Twomey each contributed four points while Carthach Keane and Mark Kelly put in strong showings in winning breaks from kick-outs while Micheál McSweeney and Cian Twomey led the strong rearguard effort.
Though Tadgh Twomey, who scored 1-4 in the win over Valley Rovers the previous week, didn’t get on the scoresheet for Newcestown, he kept Cork star James Loughrey sufficiently occupied. Cian O’Riordan provided half of Mallow’s output, with Ryan Harkin also weighing in.
However, as the second half wore on, a goal looked more and more necessary to aid the 2017 PIFC champions and their only real attempt saw an O’Riordan saw well-saved by Christopher White.
That came in the 53rd minute, with Newcestown 0-15 to 0-11 ahead, though an advantage had been awarded and O’Riordan sent over the close-range free. In the wake of that, important Cian Twomey interventions denied O’Riordan and sub Peadar Hennessy the opportunity to get in shots.
After Harkin closed the gap to two, Seán McDonnell was nearly in for a Mallow goal attempt after linking with Loughrey, but he was crowded out and a Newcestown free accrued. In injury time, the gap was reduced to one as O’Riordan got his seventh point but, with Newcestown back in numbers, Mallow couldn’t generate an equalising effort and Newcestown’s cool heads ensured that they were able to break up the field and see out the game.
They will face another Carbery club, Ilen Rovers, in the quarter-finals and they will go in in a positive frame of mind. In the first half, they were the better side and, given their superiority from kick-outs – winning six of Mallow’s 12 – they should probably have led by more than two points at half-time, only managing to convert eight of their 14 scoring opportunities.
Daniel Twomey and Buckley were dangerous along with Jack Meade and the latter’s point opened up an 0-8 to 0-5 advantage on 29, though Harkin pointed for Mallow in injury time. However, despite trailing, Mallow had had the closest thing to a goal opportunity in the opening period, with O’Riordan playing in Pa Herlihy but pressure from Murt Kennelly meant he couldn’t get a strong enough shot in and White saved for a 45.
Though Harkin scored again after Mallow won the second-half throw-in, Newcestown responded with points from Kelly, Colm Dinneen and Daniel Twomey to move 0-11 to 0-7 ahead by the 37th minute, the biggest lead of the game to that stage.
O’Riordan and Mike O’Rourke cut the Mallow deficit but Newcestown were always able to respond and the Meades, Luke and Jack, made it 0-13 to 0-9 by the three-quarter stage.
Similarly, frees by Harkin and O’Riordan kept Mallow in the game but Newcestown never looked like being overwhelmed. Sub Eoin Kelly and Tadgh Twomey combined for Buckley to get his fourth and then Keane, having won a mark from the kickout, ended the ensuing move to open up a four-point lead again on 52.
They wouldn’t score again, but they ensured that Mallow couldn’t eradicate the lead.
Scorers for Newcestown: D Buckley, D Twomey (0-3 f) 0-4 each, L Meade, J Meade 0-2 each, C Dinneen, C Keane, M Kelly 0-1 each.
Mallow: C O’Riordan 0-7 (0-4 f), R Harkin 0-4 (0-1 f), M O’Rourke (f), S McDonnell, M Taylor 0-1 each.
NEWCESTOWN: C White; M Kennelly, C Twomey, M McSweeney; G O’Donovan, L Meade, C Dinneen; F Keane, S O’Donovan; M Kelly, C Keane, D Buckley; J Meade, T Twomey, D Twomey.
Sub: E Kelly for Kennelly (60).
MALLOW: J Murphy; M Quirke, J Loughrey, O Carroll; A Cahill, A Cashman, M Taylor; E Stanton, S Merritt; K O’Sullivan, R Harkin, M O’Rourke; C O’Riordan, S McDonnell, P Herlihy.
Subs: K O’Mahony for Carroll (half-time), P Hennessy for Cahill (40), J Dillon for O’Rourke, K Sheehan for Herlihy (both 46), K O’Connor for Merritt (54).
Referee: J Ryan (Macroom).