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‘Sparrow’ delight as Newtownwin gripper

Newtownshandrum 2-27 Ballymartle 2-23 (after extra time)
A hugely satisfying win for Newtownshandrum over Ballymartle after extra time in a thrilling Cork SHC first round game in Kilworth last evening.

Perfect conditions provided the backdrop to a high octane encounter but by the end of 80 fascinating minutes, Newtown just managed to shade it.

Defeated by the four-time champions at the same stage in 2011 by a narrow margin, Ballymartle possessed a desire to turn the tables on their North Cork rivals. And they looked good enough to succeed for 45 minutes, yet Newtown conjured up a mixture of energy and power, decorated by some excellent individual performances.

Team manager Ger ‘Sparrow’ O’Loughlin was heartened by the application, passion and desire for hard work brought by his charges.

"A fantastic game, we showed tremendous heart and determination to come from five behind at half time. With a relatively new-look team, we got a few breaks, it was a wonderful advertisement for hurling," he said.

Ballymartle had emerged lightning fast from the blocks, generating five consecutive points. Newtown replied through the accuracy of Ryan Clifford yet Ballymartle grew in confidence.

The play of Colm Coleman and Patrick Dwyer brought stability to defence, Seamus Corry covered acres at midfield. And in attack, Brian Corry, Darren McCarthy and Barry Dwyer picked off points to claim a 0-14 to 0-9 lead at the break.

Newtown resumed in a more purposeful mode, helped on a Jamie Coughlan goal. Still Ballymartle weren’t found wanting, reeling off points for a 0-20 to 1-13 grip by the three quarter mark. From a pulsating contest, Newtown countered for a Cathal Naughton goal.

That score gave them a new lease of life with James Bowles, Naughton, John Paul King and PJ Copse hitting lead points. Ballymartle required a goal to gather a reprieve and they got it in the 59th minute from Darren McCarthy’s free.

Tempers frayed briefly that resulted on the dismissal of Newtown’s Dermot Gleeson and his direct opponent Ruairí Dwyer. With the scores standing 2-18 to 1-21, extra time ensued and McCarthy netted a second Ballymartle goal. Back came Newtown to clip over points, the pick from Coughlan for a 2-23 to 2-21 advantage.

Into the second period, the direction of the game took a swing Newtown’s way, with Jerry O’Mahony and Ryan Fallon holding up the defensive duties and Michael Bowles adding sweet points.

That ensures peak summer hurling for Newtown’ while Ballymartle negotiate a second round encounter against Erin’s Own.

Scorers for Newtownshandrum: C Naughton 1-4, R Clifford 0-7(0-6f), J Coughlan 1-3, J P King 0-4, PJ Copse 0-3, M Bowles 0-3,M Ryan(’65), D Stack and J Bowles 0-1 each.

Scorers for Ballymartle: Darren McCarthy 2-6(1-1f), D Dwyer 0-4, B Corry 0-4, B O’Dwyer 0-3(0-2f), K Fitzpatrick 0-3, R Dwyer 0-2, Darragh McCarthy 0-1.

NEWTOWNSHANDRUM: W Biggane; J O’Mahony, D Gleeson, R Fallon; M Ryan, J Herlihy, C Twomey; P J Copse, J P King; J Coughlan, J Bowles, C Naughton; R Clifford, D Stack, G Lane.

Subs: M Bowles for Lane, M Thompson for Stack(inj), G O’Mahony.

BALLYMARTLE: Declan McCarthy; D Coleman, M Tobin, J Kelly; C Coleman, P Dwyer, D Edmonds; S O’Mahony, S Corry; Darren McCarthy, B Corry, B Dwyer; K Fitzpatrick, R Dwyer, D Dwyer.

Subs: Darragh McCarthy for P Dwyer(59), J Dwyer, D Dwyer for S Corry(inj), D O’Leary for B

Dwyer(72).

Referee: Cathal McAllister (Aghada)