Newmarket hold the aces in derby date with Boherbue
DEMOTED from senior last year, Newmarket will be hoping the experience gained during their brief stint operating at the top level will stand to them when they take on Kiskeam next Sunday.
Newmarket v Kiskeam
(Sunday, Boherbue 3.30pm)
IT's bound to count for something, and they are possibly a better team now than when they lifted the PIFC crown under Danny Culloty's stewardship in 2011.
Culloty is again at the helm this year, and he doesn't need to be told that the road ahead is laden with pitfalls, bearing in mind that Newmarket's march to the top three seasons ago was anything but straightforward.
They lost their opening two games in 2011, and, having only barely managed to retain their premier status the previous year, getting the better of Glanmire in a relegation play-off, many felt they would be hard-pressed to avoid the drop again, but they proceeded to make a mockery of their low rating, accounting for Grenagh, Ballinora, Naomh Aban, after a replay, St Vincent's and Clyda Rovers in turn to claim the big prize.
They were clearly punching above their weight at senior level, but they managed to survive there in 2012, and they would have done so again last year had they not lost to Aghada by two points, 1-8 to 0-9, in a Round 2 game that could have gone either way.
Kiskeam were one of the teams to beat Newmarket, 2-9 to 0-12, in 2011, and, no doubt, they will relish the opportunity to bring them down once more in what is an intriguing Duhallow derby encounter.
Yet, the indications are that Newmarket will prove a harder nut to crack this time, and, with players like Bart Daly, TJ Brosnan, John Lane and TJ Bodie in their ranks, they look the better side on paper.