Newtown goal blitz seals it

Newtownshandrum 5-10 Delanys 0-13

The city side showed plenty of spirit in a game that was always keenly contested, but their inability to put the ball in the net, or indeed to create any worthwhile goal chance, was the principal difference between the teams.

The game was delayed almost 10 minutes, the referee seeking to have both teams change jerseys due to the almost identical designs and colours, but was unable to do so. And while it proved a nightmare for spectators, both teams struggled also, making wholesale mistakes in tackling their own players and, on at least three occasions, passing the ball to opponents.

Newtown would agree that over the 60-odd minutes, they certainly weren’t four goals a better side. Indeed, they played second fiddle to the city side for most of the first-half and were flattered by their 2-5 to 0-7 half-time lead. However, their ability to score goals at crucial stages was vital and while Delanys can take a lot of credit for their efforts, it’s Newtown who move on to a third round meeting with Erin’s Own, a repeat of the 2000 final.

On a night when the O’Connor twins Ben and Gerry were strangely subdued, it was the lively John Paul King who made the biggest impression for Newtown. Operating at wing forward, he got through for two goals, the first a marvelous individual effort. But it was his pace and determination which made his a constant thorn to the Delanys side.

With Barry Egan playing as a third midfielder to great effect, and John O’Driscoll, Declan Collins and Paul Finnegan teak tough in defence, Delanys were well worth their 0-4 to 0-2 lead at the end of the opening quarter, Newtown’s two scores coming from Ben O’Connor frees. Then in the 17th minute, goalkeeper Paul Morrissey came forward to blast home a goal from a penalty after Alan G O’Brien was grounded and the champions were never headed subsequently.

Delanys didn’t help their cause with some dreadful shooting. In all, they hit 10 wides in that opening half to just one by their opponents, and that was to prove extremely costly. Morrissey’s goal settled Newtown, but their usual style of running and hand passing the ball regularly got them into trouble against the hard-tackling Delanys defence. The city side opted to take the more direct route and Kevin Egan’s accuracy from frees, had his side just a point in arrears before disaster struck.

Coming out of defence John O’Driscoll lost possession and in a flash John Paul King had it in his hand, slipped past a couple of tackles before driving an unstoppable shot to the net which helped Newtown to a 2-5 to 0-7 half time lead.

The loss of corner-back John McCarthy with a knee injury before half-time had an unsettling effect on Newtown and when play resumed Delanys threw down the gauntlet by scoring three points on the trot. Newtown were struggling to cope with the ferocity of the Delanys challenge, and after going 12 minutes without a score, finally got a lucky break when JP King’s effort dipped over the head of the keeper into the net.

The city side failed to recover. King added a point and when substitute John O’Connor added another, the champions were in control, leading 3-7 to 0-10 at the three quarter-stage.

Delanys needed a goal to stay in touch, but with full back Brendan Mulcahy holding Mark McElhinney in a vice-like grip, and Philip Noonan and Donal Mulcahy giving nothing away in the half backline, they never threatened Newtown keeper Paul Morrissey.

Points by the Egan brothers Kevin and James were met with a swift response from Newtown when John O’Connor raced clear and from 20 metres drove home an unstoppable shot. And as the game drifted into injury-time, James Bowles completed the goal rush with his side’s fifth.

Scorers: Newtown: JP King 2-1; B. O’Connor 0-5 (0-3 frees, 0-1 65); J. Bowles, John O’Connor 1-1 each; P. Morrissey 1-0 (penalty); G. O’Connor 0-2. Delanys: K. Egan 0-4 (0-2 frees); J. Egan, B. Egan (0-1 free, 0-1 65) 0-3 each; P. Finnegan, J. Cooney, L. Lynch 0-1 each.

NEWTOWN: P. Morrissey; J. McCarthy, B. Mulcahy, G. O’Mahony; I. Kelleher, D. Mulcahy, P. Noonan; G. O’Connor, D. Gleeson; D. Naughton, B. O’Connor, JP King; J. Bowles, AG O’Brien, AT O’Brien. Subs. John O’Connor for McCarthy; J. O’Mahony for Kelleher.

DELANYS: M. Coleman; K. O’Sullivan, J. O’Driscoll, D. Collins; R. Foley, P. Finnegan, J. Cooney; K. Egan, K. Foley; D. McElhinney, M. O’Driscoll, L. Lynch; J. Egan, M. McElhinney, B. Egan. Subs. P. O’Connell for Cooney; G. Healy for M. O’Driscoll.

Referee: R. Murphy (Lyre).

TERRACE tickets for the Cork and Kerry Munster football semi-final in Killarney next Sunday will be on sale at Páirc Ui Rinn tonight between 6-9pm.

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