Newcestown 3-14 Fr O’Neills 2-17
JOE Millerick was the hero for Fr O’Neills as his injury-time goal earned last year’s beaten Co-op SuperStores Cork SAHC finalists a draw with Newcestown at Páirc Uí Rinn on Sunday.
With the game in the fourth of five allotted minutes of added time, Newcestown were heading for a victory to avenge their 2020 semi-final defeat to the Ballymacoda/Ladysbridge opposition. However, after subs Rob Cullinane and Cian O’Connor combined to work the ball to Millerick, his long-range shot took a deflection which deceived goalkeeper Cathal Wilson to ensure a share of the spoils.
Newcestown, featuring 12 starters who had played in the Premier SFC against Castlehaven the previous week, will be disappointed not to have taken the win but they can nevertheless be happy with much of their performance.
While O’Neills – without the injured Ger Millerick – began brightly and led by 0-3 to 0-1 by the sixth minute, before Newcestown struck for the first of their goals. After Richard O’Sullivan – cousin of Ciara, lining out for Cork in the All-Ireland camogie final – did well to force a turnover deep in green and red territory, he found Jack Meade. Having scored their only point up to then, he made no mistake as he put them in front. While O’Neills came back with points from midfielders Daniel Harrington and Mark O’Keeffe, Newcestown again pushed in front as their second goal arrived.
Midfielder Colm Dinneen was the architect, winning a break and driving goalwards before laying off to Buckley, who landed his first goal. Further points followed from Jack Meade and Dinneen – having linked with midfield partner Tadgh Twomey – as they moved four in front, with a good long-range Kevin O’Sullivan effort bringing Fr O’Neills back to within three at the water-break.
Dineen, wielding more influence, got his second to make it 2-5 to 0-7 on 19, but – foreshadowing later events – O’Neills tied the game with a quick point and goal, a good Dalton free followed by an O’Keeffe intended delivery that travelled all the way to the net.
They couldn’t regain the lead though and in injury time, Newcestown made another decisive burst as Tadgh Twomey’s ball in was won by Seán O’Donovan, who fired home for a 3-7 to 1-10 lead.
Dalton had a late point for O’Neills and then fired over two on the resumption to draw level again, but Newcestown were strong in the third quarter as O’Sullivan, Eoin Kelly and Dineen all pointed to establish a 3-12 to 1-14 advantage while Jack Meade was unlucky to fire a goal chance wide.
After action resumed, Dalton had a shot blocked by Cian Twomey while Billy Dunne rattled the side-netting but Newcestown stayed in front. David Buckley’s point on 57 put them four ahead, but O’Neills sub Paudie McMahon fired a shot just over on 62 to bring them within a score and it arrived courtesy of Millerick.
O’Neills now face Killeagh – who beat Cloyne – in an East Cork derby next Sunday, while Newcestown meet Cloyne.