Blues double bid on track
O'Donnell Cup semi-final: Newtown Blues 0-14 Mattock Rangers 0-6
Newtown Blues remain on course for a league and championship double after sealing a safe passage to the O'Donnell Cup final on Thursday night.
The table-toppers have been in imperious form all season and they were always in control against old foes Mattock Rangers at Newfoundwell.
The county champs didn't click into top gear, but they didn't really have to against a Mattock side that battled well throughout but only managed three points in each half and four from open play in total.
Both sides went into the clash with one eye on their respective Championships, but with more realistic 'double' prospects it was the Blues who grabbed the game in a tight, early headlock and refused to yield.
Ross Nally and Ryan Lenehan exchanged early points, but the Blues made their intentions known by posting the next four points without reply, including a cracking effort from county man Ciaran Downey.
His county teammate and captain Andy McDonnell edged the Blues back in front and Nally and Downey also converted a free apiece, making it 0-5 to 0-1 after 18 minutes.
Surprisingly that was to be the home side's last contribution to the scoreboard in the opening half and Mattock would have happy enough to retire just two points adrift thanks to a point from Niall McKeon and a David Reid free.
However, three points in the opening six minutes of the second-half put the Blues firmly on control again.
Andy McDonnell kicked a brace, the second of which was the score of the night and Colm Judge slotted a free, making it 0-8 to 0-3.
To Mattock's credit they didn't throw in the towel and a brace of David Reid points sanwiched a John Kermode reply for the Blues, making it a four-point game with 20 minutes remaining.
But the writing was still on the wall and Conor Branigan and Judge with a free put six between the sides.
Aaron O'Brien replied for Mattock with six minutes left on the clock, but the Blues saw it out quite comfortably with points from Conor Moore, Branigan and Moore again to set up an O'Donnell final showdown with Naomh Mairtin.
NEWTOWN BLUES: Dean Martin; Alan Connor, Fergal Donohoe, Paul Moore; Cormac Reynolds, Emmett Carolan, John Connolly; Stephen Moonan, John Kermode 0-1; Ciaran Downey 0-2, Hugh McGinn, Conor Moore; Colm Judge 0-2, Ross Nally 0-2, Andy Mc Donnell 0-3. Subs: Kevin Carr for P Moore, Ronan Levins 0-1 for C Reynolds, Conor Branigan 0-2 for S Moonan, Jamie Kelly for H McGinn, Thomas Costello for C Judge, Robbie Carr for R Nally.
MATTOCK RANGERS: Mike Englishby; Alan Caraher, Sean Gilsenan, Daire Englishby; Brendan Lacey, Shane Maguire, Ronan Kilbane; Hugh Donnelly, Adrian Reid; Ben McKenna, David Reid 0-3, Terry Donegan; Michael McKeown, Cathal Clarke, Ryan Lenehan. Subs: Shane Hickey for Clarke, Aaron O'Brien 0-1 for A Caraher, JP Watters for H Donnelly, Dan Bannon for R Kilbane, Conor Lenehan for B McKenna.