Newmarket dig it out in difficult conditions
County Premier IFC Quarter-Final: Newmarket 2-11 Macroom 1-9
Newmarket rallied impressively to emerge best from Macroom after a testing County Premier IFC quarter-final at a damp Dromtariffe on Saturday.
In doing so, Newmarket recovered from a nervous opening 25 minutes on operating against the wind and rain, improving to offer the spirit, resolve and a helpful hand of clinical finishing.
Key to the outcome were a pair of second half goals from Conor O'Keeffe to confirm Newmarket upper hand to secure a ticket to a semi-final against Éire Óg or St. Michaels.
Newmarket team manager Barry O'Leary had reason to be cheerful in the rain-lashed surroundings, satisfied with the progress of his charges to repeat their dominance having already overcome Macroom 15 weeks earlier in their last competitive game in Round 2A.
On that occasion, Newmarket has laid down a marker, taking the early initiative, building it into a commanding interval advantage before soaking the pressure of Macroom's best intentions on the turnover as they seldom looked troubled.
However, with the return of former county player Fintan Goold from a two match suspension, O'Leary was aware of a totally different opposition from Mid Cork.
"The weather conditions had a bearing on the game, pouring rain, poor start, we improved, got a break with the opening goal, our initial 15 minutes were disappointing, our last competitive game in the campaign dated back to May.
"It's always difficult to play the same team twice in the same championship, Macroom were much improved on this occasion yet we've a committed team and offered a positive workrate to emerge best," he said.
Miserable conditions developed, wind and rain militated against flowing football yet both sides enjoyed spells of constructive play. Macroom favoured by the elements made the early running and availed of encouraging points from Fintan Goold and Tony Dineen.
Goold led the defensive resistance from a dominant centre back slot, well supported by Rory Buckley, Michael Cronin and David Horgan. Going forward, Macroom carried an attacking threat, Horgan and the Goold brothers tacking on points to build a worthy 0-7 to 0-1 advantage.
Coming up to the break, Newmarket sparked a revival, substitute Barry O'Connor pointed back to back with Kevin O'Sullivan also on target to slash the arrears 0-7 to 0-4.
The sides traded points upon the restart only for Newmarket to strike with a vengeance, Donal Hannon cross field centre saw O'Sullivan break the ball into the path of O'Keeffe to net for parity.
Now Newmarket game prospered, quick and eager from the voracious work-rate of John Ryan, Bart Daly, TJ Brosnan and Conor O'Keeffe with substitutes O'Leary and Darren O'Keeffe making telling impacts.
Points from Brosnan and Ryan O'Keeffe nudged Newmarket ahead, the momentum very much in the Duhallow side's direction. Continuing to make the running, Newmarket's prospected were further enhanced after Ryan initiated an attack for Tony O'Keeffe to place namesake Conor for his second strike in the 53rd minute.
Macroom attempted a recovery, their faint hopes raised with a Horgan goal yet Newmarket had the closing say from a point by O'Connor to seal a deserved win.
Newmarket: D Quinlan; A Browne, J Ryan, P Allen; G Forde, B Daly, A Ryan; T J Brosnan 0-2, M Cottrell; T O'Keeffe, D Culloty, D Hannon 0-1; R O'Keeffe 0-1, K O'Sullivan 0-1, C O'Keeffe 2-3 (0-2f) Subs: B O'Connor 0-3 for Culloty (9 inj), D O'Keeffe for Cottrell (25), C Browne for R O'Keeffe (60)
Macroom: D Kiely; K O'Dwyer, R Buckley, M Cahill; M Cronin, F Goold 0-4, D Cotter; D Goold 0-2, T Dineen 0-1; M Corrigan, C O'Sullivan, S Kiely; D Creedon, P Lucey, D Horgan 1-2 Subs: R O'Dwyer for Cotter (40), O Murphy for Corrigan (40), A Quinn for Creedon (47), C Murphy for Lucey (57)
Referee: E Sheehy (Newcestown)