PIFC: Newmarket finding their best form at just the right time

Impressive display in seeing off Naomh Abán sent the Duhallow side back to the Premier Intermediate semi-finals
PIFC: Newmarket finding their best form at just the right time

 Newmarket's Cathal Browne goes past Naomh Abán's Tomás Ó Cathán. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

IT'S 10 years since Newmarket landed the Premier IFC when beating Clyda Rovers and since that exciting run, and a two-year spell in senior, it's been a pretty barren spell for the men in red and black.

Last season, Newmarket came up agonisingly short in a county semi-final against eventual champions Knocknagree but across the current campaign, injuries and emigration appeared to have taken their toll. 

Newmarket left it late to confirm their advancement from the group stages, when a late Kevin O’Sullivan goal did the trick against Castletownbere. That secured a quarter-final meeting with Naomh Abán last Saturday, where Newmarket delivered an eye-catching performance much to the delight of team mentor Donal O’Sullivan.

“We are thrilled with the performance rather than the outcome, a complete showing, building from the back, our defence stood up to the plate, very organised and our scoring forwards put the ball between the posts. 

"Certainly since the championship started, this was by far the best display, we had worked on different aspects in training and the boys pulled them off right to the tee, it's fair to say, every man got the better of his opponent on the day."

Newmarket's Conor O'Keeffe and Naomh Abán's Dara Ó Lionsigh in action during the Bon Secours PIFC quarter-final at Millstreet. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Newmarket's Conor O'Keeffe and Naomh Abán's Dara Ó Lionsigh in action during the Bon Secours PIFC quarter-final at Millstreet. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Indeed, Newmarket looked really good at moving the ball with pace and precision from the outset. 

Much of their dominance was down to a competent defence Mikey Browne, Paudie Allen, TJ Brosnan and Bart Daly to the fore with Michael Cottrell and Tim Murphy winning a massive amount of possession in the centre, this all helped Newmarket to build a commanding 0-10 to 0-3 interval advantage.

“That game was far from over, we were under no illusions, up seven points, Naomh Abán had the breeze at their back for the second half. 

"We know this Millstreet pitch, we were facing playing upfield against the scoring goals, Naomh Abán got the opening couple of points but we regrouped and controlled the game to the finish," he said.

And with Josh O’Keeffe and TJ Brosnan back from injuries, Newmarket’s absentee list improved though the season for Aidan Browne, Paddy Browne and Tony O’Keeffe has ended yet O’Sullivan believes Newmarket can create an impact with three games remaining to determine the 2021 champions.

“We’ve unbelievable faith in this group, the potential is huge, capable of giving any of the remaining sides a very good game. 

"There are some exceptionally strong teams remaining but if we work together as we did against Naomh Abán in a total team performance, we will be thereabouts and we’re looking ahead to the task," he said.

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