Cork GAA: Newmarket will never forget incredible county final 

Duhallow club defeated Kanturk in the most dramatic of circumstances and now gear up for SAFC campaign
Cork GAA: Newmarket will never forget incredible county final 

Newmarket selector Donal O'Sullivan after defeating Kanturk in the Bon Secours Cork PIFC final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

AS county title victories go, there are very few that will match Newmarket’s 2021 Premier Intermediate Football success in terms of sheer late dramatic action.

Heading into second-half stoppage time at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Kanturk appeared to have one hand on the PIFC trophy as they held a two-point advantage. However, Newmarket came back from the brink and three late points secured the most incredible of victories.

The game showed Newmarket’s never-say-die attitude and also somewhat summed up their campaign nicely.

In the group stages of the PIFC, Newmarket required a victory over Castletownbere to progress into the knockout stages, after Newmarket drew against Aghada and suffered a defeat against Na Piarsaigh in the first two group stage matches.

After defeating Naomh Abán in the quarter-final, Newmarket overcame a strongly fancied Cill na Martra team in the semi-final. Then Newmarket capped off the most memorable of campaigns in the most sensational fashion by stunning Kanturk in the final.

Newmarket management team member Donal O’Sullivan recalls a wonderful season.

“We had a fantastic year as it ended up. I can tell you Newmarket was very empty that day.

“To win it in the fashion that we did, the whole town was just elated. That 20-30 minutes on the pitch afterwards was just very special.

“A memory from it popped up on my phone during the week, which showed a video clip of a few minutes after the final whistle and that would still send shivers down your spine definitely.

“We had tremendous support in the lead up to the final. The place was covered in red and black flags. Everybody wishing us well, people coming over even to watch us training on the pitch.

“The lead up was special, the occasion itself was very special and certainly after the match was very special.” 

 As a result of that success, Newmarket are now in the Senior A Football Championship for 2022.

Newmarket face into a group stage where they will face off against Ilen Rovers, Clyda Rovers and O’Donovan Rossa.

Looking ahead from a Newmarket perspective, O’Sullivan feels that Newmarket can be competitive at this level and making the step up.

We are hugely looking forward to it. We do think we’ll be competitive with any team that we play. But also are not naive enough to think that it’s going to be easy.

“We know we will have to be at our very, very best to be competitive with any team on any day.

“If you are 10% off the pace this year going into any game, you are going to get beaten, but we are fully aware of that.

“We just have to set out our stall and be at 100% as good as we can be for every game.

“But if we are as good as we can be and we can put some of the performances that we put together against some of the bigger teams last year, I think we have a good enough squad to take on any team that is put before us within this particular group.” 

FOREVER

The date of December 5, 2021 is one which will forever hold a historic place in the hearts and minds of everyone associated with and the supporters of Newmarket GAA.

“I am so delighted I was involved. Not just because we won, far before we won I enjoyed working with these lads so much.

They are just a really genuine and brilliant bunch of lads. They are brilliant personalities and there is plenty of craic in the dressing room and the training pitch.

“But at the end of the day, every single one of them are willing to put in what is required in terms of hard work.

“For that reason I really, really enjoyed it. Even though we only had a six-week layoff after December before we got back into training, I was chomping at the bit to get back onto the pitch with them.

“Simply because they are that type of bunch of lads you just look forward to, on the way home from work in the evening, you are just looking forward to any evening you have training with them.

“You are buzzing to go over to the pitch and meet them. It’s been a pleasure to work with them.”

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