Brave Newmarket bow out to Saints
County PIFC semi-final: St. Michaels 2-16 Newmarket 1-12
Newmarket's campaign in the County Premier Intermediate Football Championship ran out of road on a defeat to St Michaels in a highly entertaining semi-final at Mourneabbey on Saturday last.
Having trailing at the break, St Michaels upped the tempo on the restart, two goals in quick succession confirmed, they possessed the better balance and held more zip in their step as the second half moved on.
Indeed Newmarket found it difficult to come to terms with a power packed and energetic performance of an opposition who made most of their second half dominance to secure a ticket to a decider against Mallow.
That contrasted to the opening half, Newmarket appeared the hungrier side, their application surperb and in general play, the Duhallow outfit were much more enterprising.
But after dictating much of that first half, Newmarket struggled for fluency on the restart as Michaels racked up telling goals to swing the initiative.
St Michaels had rushed into an early lead with points from Paul Cronin, Liam O'Sullivan and Eric Hegarty. That presented Newmarket with an early test of their composure and in fairness, the response was calm and effective through the promptings of Bart Daly, Gavin Forde, John Ryan, TJ Brosnan, Kevin O'Sullivan and Conor O'Keeffe.
A pointed free from O'Keeffe settled the Duhallow side with Daniel Culloty and O'Keeffe adding further points.
For a spell, it remained stride for stride, Hegarty tying up matters before Newmarket hopes received a shot in the arm on a defence splitting move, Brosnan, Tony O'Keeffe and Barry O'Connor were involved, the latter's effort saved by Michaels custodian Martin Burke only for Conor O'Keeffe to fetch the rebound and rattle the net.
Newmarket continued on the offensive, O'Keeffe, O'Connor and Cottrell adding points, it might had been more only for some wayward shooting.
On the run in to the break, St Michaels recovered from points by Cronin, Hegarty and O'Sullivan to trail 1-7 to 0-9.
A massive change on the turnover, St Michaels embarked on a game turning phase. A long ball from Shane O'Keeffe was brilliantly fetched by Donal Cremin to turn and smash a powerful drive to the Newmarket net.
Now the balance had swung to the city side, big Michael Mulconry created a major impression as substitute in addition to the growing dominance of Andrew Murphy, Daniel Meaney and Seán Keating in defence with Shane O'Keeffe and Niall Cashman winning possession in the centre.
Pointed frees from Hegarty and Cronin improved Michaels position, further boosted on 41 minutes, thanks to a marvellous individual goal from Cronin, embarking on a 40mtr solo to plant the ball in the Newmarket net for Michaels assume a comfortable 2-12 to 1-8 grip.
In fairness, Newmarket reacted to the precarious position, rewarded on three consecutive points from O'Keeffe to offer the prospects of a possible recovery. However, the Michaels response was calm, measured and effective enabling them control matters and add points to Hegarty and Cashman.
That gave St Michaels a sufficent cushion, closing off all the approach routes to the danger zone thus ensuring a return to a decider for the third time in six years where they will attempt to better previous runner up placings to St Vincents (2012) and Carrigaline (2015).
ST. MICHAELS: M Burke; L Carroll, A O'Callaghan, K O'Sullivan; D Meaney, A Murphy, S Keating; S O'Keeffe, N Cashman 0-1; D Cremin 1-0, P Cronin 1-4 (0-2f), M Drummond; E Buckley, E Hegarty 0-8 (6f), L O'Sullivan 0-3 Subs: M Mulconry for Drummond (ht), T Lenihan for Meaney (49), K Hegarty for Cremin (54), D O'Shea for Cronin (58 bc)
NEWMARKET: D Quinlan; A Browne, J Ryan, P Allen; G Forde, B Daly, A Ryan; T J Brosnan, M Cottrell 0-1; T O'Keeffe, D Culloty 0-2 (1f), D Hannon 0-1; B O'Connor 0-1, K O'Sullivan, C O'Keeffe 1-7 (0-4f) Subs: D O'Keeffe for O'Connor (41), R O'Keeffe for Brosnan (53), T Murphy for Daly (55 inj), D Fitzpatrick for Cottrell (58 bc)
Referee: P O'Leary (Kilmurry)