Cloyne put an end to Newtownshandrum's reign

Cloyne 1-14 Newtownshandrum 0-14

Pitted against no less a player than Pat Mulcahy, Colm chalked up a goal and four points off the county man, as Cloyne dethroned the champions to claim their place in the final for the first time in the club's history.

A crowd of 15,870 packed into the venue in anticipation of a cracking contest, but it fell flat on its face, and it's difficult to know why.

Cloyne went to Páirc Uí Chaoimh with one purpose in mind, and despite falling a point behind after 35 seconds, once Colm O'Sullivan struck for the game's only goal in the fifth minute, there was no way the East Cork side were going to be beaten.

The Cloyne defence was superb. Eoin O'Sullivan, Killian Cronin, and Declan Motherway were never beaten in the full-back line, while outside them, Diarmuid O'Sullivan, Maurice Cahill and Donal O'Sullivan were equally solid.

Liam O'Driscoll and Mike Naughton won the midfield exchanges, and along with Colm O'Sullivan, the Cusack brothers, Victor and Conor, and the impeccable free-taking of Ian Quinlan ensured the scores that won Cloyne the game. Newtown's worst fears were realised. Eighteen months on the go non-stop had finally taken its toll, and when Gerry O'Connor failed to start, a very difficult task became next to impossible.

All credit to them then for the manner in which they battled to save their titles, and when John O'Connor's point in the 46th minute that tied the game for the first time coincided with the introduction of his brother Gerry, Newtown fans must have thought they could still win the game.

However, the pace and skill which won them county, provincial and national honours in 2003, weren't there when needed most.

A strangely subdued Ben O'Connor gave his side an early lead with a point before Cloyne struck for the goal which was to finally separate the teams.

Conor Cusack picked out the unmarked Philip Cahill with a great crossfield pass, but after Cahill's effort was blocked, Colm O'Sullivan first-timed the rebound to the net and Cloyne never looked back.

Colm was in devastating form at centre-forward giving Pat Mulcahy a torrid time and quickly added two points. Unfortunately, he picked up a knee injury midway through the opening half and was a virtually passenger for the remainder of the half.

Ian Quinlan's superb free-taking was also important and he landed three points from placed balls which helped Cloyne to a 1-7 to 0-7 half-time lead.

Newtown upped the pace on the changeover and it took a superb block by Eoin O'Sullivan to deny James Bowles a goal from 12 metres out. Ben O'Connor pointed the resultant 65 and added another point soon after, before Colm O'Sullivan, fully recovered from his first-half injury, showed his class with a brace of points.

The game gradually began to improve and the sides were tied for the first and only time by the three-quarter stage after Alan T O'Brien knocked over two points and John O'Connor landed the equaliser.

The effort Newtown put into drawing level took its toll, however, epitomised by a bad miss by Ben O'Connor from a 50-metre free, and a finely tuned Cloyne side finished well in command.

Scorers: Cloyne: E. O'Sullivan 1-4; I. Quinlan 0-5 (frees); V. Cusack 0-2; D. O'Sullivan, M. Cahill (free), P. O'Sullivan 0-1 each. NEWTOWN: B. O'Connor 0-6 (0-5 frees, 0-1 65); AT O'Brien 0-3; John O'Connor 0-2; D. Mulcahy, P. Mulcahy, JP King 0-1 each.

CLOYNE: D. Cusack; E. O'Sullivan, K. Cronin, D. Motherway; Donbal O'Sullivan, M. Cahill, Diarmuid O'Sullivan; L. O'Driscoll, M. Naughton; P. Cahill, C. O'Sullivan, I. Quinlan; P. O'Sullivan, C. Cusack, V. Cusack.

NEWTOWNSHANDRUM: P. Morrissey; J. McCarthy, B. Mulcahy, G. O'Mahony; I. Kelleher, P. Mulcahy, P. Noonan; AT O'Brien, B. O'Connor, D. Mulcahy; J. Bowles, D. O'Riordan, M. Morrissey. Subs. C. Naughton for O'Riordan; Gerry O'Connor for M. Morrissey; M. Farrell for John O'Connor.

Referee: D. Kirwan (Eire Og).

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