Late Ballymartle burst wins it

NEWCESTOWN’S title aspirations ground to a shuddering halt in dramatic circumstances at Ballinspittle on Saturday when a late flurry of Ballymartle points put them out of the Cork Premier IHC.

It would be impossible not to feel for the West Cork men as they were the better side all through; they played with far greater urgency and deservedly led for 59 minutes only to have victory ripped from their grasp in stoppage time.

Having been dumped out by the same opposition in the past two seasons, this represented a golden opportunity for Newcestown to not only banish the demons of those consecutive near misses but present them with a mouthwatering semi-final against Courcey Rovers.

Ballymartle have had near misses themselves but the subtle difference between the teams is Newcestown rarely leave a performance in the dressing room and always extrapolate every ounce of potential.

Ballymartle, on the other hand, have allowed games bypass them and Saturday looked like a basket case, at least for 59 minutes.

The south-east men have been simmering beneath the surface for a few years now, uncomfortable with the burdensome tag of favourites for almost every game they’ve played since graduating from the lower intermediate grade in 2007. It’s not hard to see why. They’ve a team adorned with quality players, several whom have played on Cork teams from minor to senior in recent years.

The opening half was full-blooded and highly entertaining with both teams exchanging point for point. Fionn Keane looked threatening at full-forward for Newcestown and had a few glances at goal while Barry Dwyer carried the Ballymartle fight with six points, but they trailed 0-9 points to 0-8 at the break.

That’s how it remained for much of the second period, but, on 58 minutes, it was Newcestown who held a slender 0-15 to 0-13 lead after Owen Kelly converted a free. It looked like only a goal would save the south-east men and that was something that never looked like happening.

Rory Dwyer halved the deficit with a delightful score with a minute to go but the credit for that will go to his brother (and player-of-the-match) Barry, who picked him out with a sublime cross-field pass. In the next play the sides were level for the sixth time when the outstanding Seamus Corry walloped over a massive score from his own half-back line.

Both sides would have happily taken a replay but Ballymartle went for the jugular when first Brian Corry flashed over, while Barry Dwyer wrapped up the win with a free in the 63rd minute. In between Danny Twomey had an opportunity to level matters at the other end but he skewed his effort to the right.

Scorers for Ballymartle: B Dwyer (0-9, five frees); B Corry (0-3); R Dwyer, D McCarthy (0-2 each), S Corry (0-1).

Newcestown: D Twomey (0-5, one 65, two frees); O Kelly (0-5, four frees); G O’Rourke (0-2); F Keane, M Bradfield, B Moloney (0-1 each).

BALLYMARTLE: Declan McCarthy; D Coleman, M Tobin, D Dwyer; D Edmonds, P Dwyer, N Sheehan; S Corry, S O’Mahony; R Dwyer, B Corry, B Dwyer; Darren McCarthy, J Dwyer, D Dwyer.

Subs: P Coughlan for S O’Mahony (49).

NEWCESTOWN: J O’Sullivan; K Long, J Crowley, O Keane; N O’Sullivan, G O’Driscoll, B Moloney; G O’Rourke, J Desmond; M Bradfield, T Twomey, H Curran; D Twomey, F Keane, O Kelly.

Subs: B Horgan for M Bradfield (45), D Heffernan for J Desmond (50).

Referee: G O’Connell (Inniscarra).

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