In the end Alan O’Brien’s late point won the contest for Newtown, but they had to battle mightily against a Midleton side that gave little away.
The omens did not look good for the Avondhu men in the opening half, after which they trailed 0-8 to 0-5 after having John O’Connor sent off.
With the Newtown backs persistently fouling Mickey O’Connell had a field day from placed balls, scoring six frees in that opening half, the other points coming from a superb Liam Walsh effort and John Moynihan.
Midleton led 0-4 to 0-2 after the opening quarter, Jerry O’Connor scoring both Newtown points. But O’Connell continued to punish Newtown in the second quarter until a couple of points from Ben O’Connor and a ’65 from Phil Noonan put a bit more respectability on the half-time scoreboard.
The introduction of Mike Morrissey at centre-forward, though clearly still carrying an injury, was to prove a huge fillip for Newtown. Morrissey pointed with his first touch, then Ben O’Connor and Alan O’Brien followed suit. And then came a A cracking 40th minute Newtown goal followed when Donal Mulcahy put Ben O’Connor through and the Cork ace made no mistake.
Amazingly Midleton had plenty of chances in between with O’Connell and the disappointing Ger Manley missing frees. But in fairness to the Magpies their heads never dropped after falling 1-8 to 0-8 behind and with O’Connell and Liam Walsh driving them on they hit back again to leave just a point between the sides entering the final quarter.
In a terrific final 15 minutes O’Connell tied up the scores. Walsh then went close to a goal only for Phil Noonan to put the Avondhu men ahead again. O’Connell’s ninth free looked like making it a stalemate until Alan O’Brien’s late point got Newtwon through and left Midleton shattered.
There was double despair for Castlelyons at Watergrasshill on Saturday night as they were crushed 3-13 to 1-8 by Glen Rovers and county star Eoin Fitzgerald sustained a broken collarbone in an accidental clash.
Apart from the opening minutes when Trevor Hickey fired Castlelyons into the led, the Blackpool side were never lead after Donal Cronin put his side in front for the first time in the 10th minute.
Glen owed much to the excellence of their defence and in particular to their half backline of Liam Leahy, John Anderson and the outstanding Graham Callinan. Castlelyons were a huge disappointment. They were hugely reliant on their two inter-county men, but once Fitzgerald departed the scene, and Timmy McCarthy failed to play with any degree of consistency, they were always chasing a lost cause.
Richie Kelleher plucked the sliothar out of the sky before rattling the net in the 15th minute, and two cardinal errors by the Castlelyons’s ‘keeper gifted Liam Treacy and Shane Kennefick a goal each which helped the Glen to a 3-5 to 0-4 half time lead and stretched their advantage to 3-8 to 0-6 by the three quarter stage.
Castlelyons were given a glimmer of hope in the 50th minute when Declan Wallace slipped home a goal. But the Glen replied with four unanswered points to advance comfortably to round three while Castlelyons must now await the losers of the Cloyne/Ballyhea game in round two.
That tie finished all square after right half back Sean Curtin earned Ballyhea a deserved draw on a 0-15 to 2-9 score line. With time up Curtin struck a massive 75-metre free into the wind and straight between the posts.
Cloyne struck early and a fine goal by left corner forward Victor Cusack in the 8th minute was instrumental in propelling them into a 1-3 to 0-1 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Ballyhea, although aided by the stiff wind, found it difficult to get into their stride but when they did discover their touch they impressed with four points in succession for Tim Shanahan, Neil Ronan, Darren Ronan and Neil Ronan again to dramatically reduce the deficit.
But two magnificent long-distance frees, expertly and accurately struck over by centre back Maurice Cahill, left Cloyne leading by 1-6 to 0-7 at the break.
A point by Ian Ronan, a minute after the resumption, left just the bare minimum between them, but once again, Cloyne got the bit between their teeth and a well-struck goal by full forward Conor Cusack halted the Ballyhea charge.
But Neil Ronan scored eight points, including five frees and two 65 metre conversions, as Ballyhea pulled back to draw level 90 seconds from time before Cahill hit over a 65. But then came Curtin’s heroics.