Newmarket battle back from five points down to grab PIFC quarter-final place

Castletownbere looked likely winners for much of a tough battle in poor conditions
Newmarket battle back from five points down to grab PIFC quarter-final place

Barry O'Connor for Newmarket trying to get past Fintan Fenner, Castletownbere. Picture: Denis Boyle

Newmarket 1-9 Castletownbere 1-8 

NEWMARKET came from five points down to defeat Castletownbere and make it through to the Cork PIFC quarter-finals at a rain-lashed Dunmanway.

Awful weather conditions didn’t prevent two committed teams from delivering an exciting Group C encounter that went the way of the underdog.

Newmarket entered Saturday night’s third round clash without a victory and needing a win over second placed Castletownbere to cement an unlikely quarter-final place.

Incessant rain throughout the entire 60 minutes made life difficult for both teams but it was Castletownbere who led 1-4 to 0-4 at the break.

Barry O’Connor (two), Timmy Murphy and Darren O’Keefe scores failed to overshadow a Newmarket forward-line that kicked eight wides in the first half. As for Castletownbere, Tomás Murphy (two), Gary Murphy and Jamie Walsh points preceded a stunning Andrew O’Sullivan goal.

The former Cork senior rolled back the years with a solo run and thundersous finish in off the crossbar.

The second half proved as tight as the first with Barry O’Connor reducing the deficit before Shane McCarthy, Gary Murphy (free) and Tomás Murphy (free) scores made it 1-7 to 0-5 after 42 minutes.

Newmarket fought back valiantly with Conor O’Keefe’s accuracy making 1-7 to 0-8 before a major turning point. O’Keefe’s long ball in front of the Castletownbere goal was punched to the net by Kevin O’Sullivan.

Ryan O’Keefe converted a long-range free soon after to make it 1-9 to 1-7. Castletownbere attempted a comeback with Gary Murphy landing a difficult free to give their supporters hope.

Yet, the closing minutes, played out amid unceaseless rain, saw Newmarket bravely defend their goal and prevent their opponents from scoring an equaliser.

A draw would have been enough to take Castletownbere through but it was Newmarket held on for a famous one-point victory. The Duhallow side join Group C winners Aghada in the quarter-finals.

Scorers for Newmarket: C O’Keefe 0-3 (0-2 f), B O’Connor 0-3, K O’Sullivan 1-0, R O’Keefe (f), D O’Keefe, T Murphy 0-1 each.

Castletownbere: G Murphy 0-3 (0-2 f), T Murphy 0-3 (0-1 f), A O’Sullivan 1-0, J Walsh, S McCarthy 0-1 each.

NEWMARKET: B Newman; M Brown, A Ryan, P Allen; K O’Sullivan, G Forde, B Daly; T Murphy, M Cottrell; D O’Keefe, C Brown, G O’Connor; C O’Keefe, R O’Keefe, J Ryan.

Sub: TJ Brosnan (c) for J Ryan (h-t).

CASTLETOWNBERE: D Hegarty; O’Byrne, L Harrington, J Rosales Harrington; T Collins, S McCarthy, D Hanley; A O’Sullivan, D Fenton; F Fenner, J Walsh, L Kelly; G Murphy, T Murphy, D Dunne (c).

Subs: J O’Neill for J Walsh (48), J Harrington for D Fenton (52), B Murphy for D Dunne (58).

Referee: Michael Collins (Clonakilty).

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