THERE wasn’t much expectation surrounding Newtwonshandrum before their clash with Kanturk in Group A of the Co-op Superstores Cork Premier SHC in Charleville last Saturday. That low-key build-up made their win all the sweeter, says selector Shane Naughton.
“We’re absolutely delighted. We put huge work into this. We’ve a special group of players here and we knew that we could get more out of them.
“Our biggest focus, for the past seven or eight months, was to get a bit of enjoyment back into this. Senior hurling is a serious business, and the lads know that; we do the serious stuff, but then that stuff is parked and a big part of it, for us, was bringing the energy back into it, so that they enjoy what they do.
“We saw that there in the last 10 or 15 minutes. Fellas came on and worked hard, brought a massive energy into it and we really enjoyed that.”
Much of Newtown’s dominance came from their half-back-line trio of Tim O’Mahony, Conor Twomey, and Jack Herlihy, while the way they dominated Kanturk’s puck-out was a feature of the game, things that Naughton acknowledged.
“Yeah, they were outstanding. Three unbelievable players and when you get them in one line, that’s what makes the best of the deliveries going in and they were outstanding today. It was a huge game for them, coming back from the break with Cork and they had a point to prove.
“We put huge work in (to the puck-outs). They’re very, very good at it.
“They haven’t come through the ranks and won all that they’ve won over the past five or six years without being excellent at stuff like that.
There was no point in us having a good half-back line if our forwards weren’t able to cover off that and punish them.
“One thing we worked on was not just winning the break, but punishing them. Winning the break is just 50% of the work; you have to punish it, so we worked hugely on that in the last month, and it paid dividends there.”
Next up for the Avondhu side is reigning county champions, Midleton.
“A huge challenge again and we’ll be massive underdogs. They’re county champions, but we’ll go up and try our best and that’s all we can do on the day.
“There was nothing said about us coming into the championship, and that’s the way we want it. We were huge underdogs here and we played that up to the last and we loved every bit of it. We’re looking forward to next week and it’s a case of driving it on now.”