NEWCESTOWN'S joy at winning their first county senior hurling championship game was even more pronounced because Ballyhea were their victims in Coachford on Sunday.
The Carbery club won by 1-15 to 0-12 though it was a lot closer than the score line would indicate, Cork star Luke Meade pouncing for the only goal at the end.
It was the latest installment in a long series of games between the two rural clubs, as Newcestown selector Seamus McCarthy explained.
“This was our 10th time playing Ballyhea in championship and our second time at senior.
“They won the last four encounters in premier intermediate and we badly needed to get one over them.
“We won the first three or four games, but they key one was the premier intermediate final three years ago, when Ballyhea won.
“That hurt the lads, but it also helped them to drive on as well. We'd have a lot of respect for Ballyhea because they're like ourselves, a small rural club who work really hard and have great pride in the jersey,” he said.
It was a shoot-out between the respective free-takers, Daniel Twomey for Newcestown and Pa O'Callaghan for Ballyhea who shot 0-16 between them, but the winners' burst of six points without reply in the second-half turned the tie.
“It was a battle and there was never going to be more than a puck of a ball in it.
“We learned an awful lot from the drawn game. This time we got our match-ups right and we managed to restrict most of Ballyhea's scores to pointed frees.
“I thought our backs were magnificent, especially Fionn Keane, who was a colossus at centre-back.
“Some of our key players were held on this occasion though Luke stepped up when he was needed.
“He got a bad facial injury, which required stitches at half-time, and it was the face guard which caused it. It's quite a common injury.
“We got him patched up for the second-time and there was no way Luke was coming off. We're extremely proud of him,” McCarthy added.
Newcestown's reward in only their second season as a top-tier club is a round 2A clash with CIT while Ballyhea take on Bishopstown in 2B.take on Bishopstown in 2B.
“This was our sixth championship game in senior hurling and it's a weight lifted off our shoulders.
“It will give the lads a lot of confidence and we can now look forward to the CIT game. The pressure is off now. We'll enjoy this. It means a lot to the club.
“If we hadn't got over the line it would have been hard because we would have been facing a strong Bishopstown side. We needed to win this one. This was our county final.”
A dozen hurlers double up with the football side, who are scheduled to meet St Finbarr's in round 2B and they'll be hoping Eoin Kelly will have recovered from the hamstring injury, which ruled him out.