PIFC: Pearse O'Neill and Diarmuid Phelan strike late to rescue Aghada

Newmarket looked to have the game won heading into added time
PIFC: Pearse O'Neill and Diarmuid Phelan strike late to rescue Aghada

Pearse O'Neill (Aghada) fields the ball ahead of Alan Ryan (Newmarket) in the Bon Secours PIFC at Glantane. Picture John Tarrant

Aghada 0-14 Newmarket 0-14 

AGHADA produced a storming finish to register two injury-time points from Pearse O’Neill and Diarmuid Phelan to earn a draw with Newmarket in a cracking Bon Secours Premier IFC opener at a wet Glantane on Saturday.

Such was the commitment of both sides to a marvellous tussle, there didn’t deserve to be a loser. For much of the second half, this had the look of a draw as a splendid contest leaned in either direction at various stages.

Aghada manager Philip Moore concurred that two well-matched sides had served up a tremendous battle.

“A draw was a fair result, they were periods that both sides enjoyed a purple patch or two. We wanted to set out an early stall, the plan was not to concede any goal chances. 

"We were pleased with that particular aspect, at the end, both sides take a return before looking ahead to the next football series in three weeks,” he said.

Meanwhile Newmarket mentor Donal O’Sullivan felt his side had timed their run to perfection as they did in last season’s campaign against the same opposition.

“It was a gutsy performance by us, Aghada had come out of the blocks pretty quickly. While we would have taken a draw early on, ultimately we’re a little disappointed to concede two late scores, yet it was most encouraging given the number of players absent,” he said.

Aghada opened full of promise, the positive play of Aaron Stafford, Kyle O’Shea, and Donagh Collins laid down a marker in defence, with O’Neill and Phelan prominent in attack to forge 0-4 to 0-2 ahead at the water break.

Points by Danny Creedon and Phelan doubled Aghada’s advantage but in the greasy conditions, Newmarket summoned up a burst, points from cousins Conor and Ryan O’Keeffe narrowed the leeway 0-7 to 0-5 at the interval.

Matters remained closely contested on the restart, Aghada points from Creedon and Kevin O’Hanlon answered by Ryan and Darren O’Keeffe at the opposite end. A rejuvenated Newmarket were standing up to the challenge, driven on by Mikey Browne, Gavin Forde, and Michael Cottrell with Conor O’Keeffe a constant menace in attack.

All square at the second water break at 0-11 apiece, Newmarket piled on the pressure as Cottrell and O’Keeffe angled over lead points. Trailing by two, Aghada refused to surrender, O’Neill stepping up to reduce the deficit to the minimum.

That made for a frantic four minutes of injury time, Aghada looked to have passed up a number of chances before the excellent Phelan obliged with the equalising point for a deserved share of the spoils.

Aghada's Diarmuid Phelan shoots his side's equalising point against Newmarket. Picture John Tarrant
Aghada's Diarmuid Phelan shoots his side's equalising point against Newmarket. Picture John Tarrant

Scorers for Aghada: D Phelan 0-4, D Creedon 0-4 (0-3 f), P O’Neill 0-2 (0-1 mark), K O’Hanlon 0-2, A O’Connell, T Hartnett 0-1 each.

Newmarket: C O’Keeffe 0-8 (0-2 f), R O’Keeffe 0-3, D O’Keeffe, J Ryan, M Cottrell 0-1 each.

AGHADA: C O’Shea; A O’Connell, J McDonnell, D Collins; A Stafford, J Tynan, K O’Shea; D Phelan, D Rice; D Creedon, K O’Hanlon, T Hartnett; D Byrne, P O’Neill, C Rooney.

Subs: N Cunningham for D Rice (23 inj), J Colbert for A Stafford (43).

NEWMARKET: B Newman; M Browne, A Ryan, P Allen; K O’Sullivan, G Forde, D Norton; T J Brosnan, M Cottrell; D O’Keeffe, C Browne, T O’Keeffe; C O’Keeffe, R O’Keeffe, J Ryan.

Subs: D Cottrell for D Norton (36), C O’Sullivan for T O’Keeffe (57 inj).

Referee: A Hyland (Kilworth).

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