A lively Evening Echo Cork Premier IFC final at Pairc Ui Rinn on Saturday went Newcestown’s way simply because they made far better use of their chances, leaving Clyda to bemoan a total of 10 sloppy wides, chances that, on another day, would easily have seen them come out on top.
And Newcestown boss, former stalwart Jim O’Sullivan, was quick to admit afterwards how fortunate his side were after seeing his charges make far better use of their chances, just four wides in total, none in the second-half.
“We held our nerve and just about managed to hang on. In fairness, the lads put in lot of hard graft and, while Clyda were sloppy with their shooting, Hugh Curran could have put us out of sight early in the second-half if he had hit the net when we were really motoring.
“Forget senior, there will be no talk of senior football next year for a while. We’ll just enjoy the win for a while and take things as they come. I’m delighted for the lads, we knew it would be tough, but we felt if we could build up a lead on Clyda they would find scores hard to come by. That’s how it panned out, a point is fine by me.”
To lose a final two years in-a-row, just as St. Finbarr’s did in the senior grade, is a bitter pill to swallow. However, Clyda can have no excuses, it’s all about putting the ball over the bar. And how they know it.
End to end stuff in the opening half and, though the scoring ratio was low, nonetheless the game was hugely competitive. After James Murphy and Conor O’Sullivan missed good opportunities for Clyda, it was Newcestown who took the lead in the seventh minute, a point from man of the match Daniel Twomey, always lively and in the thick of things.
Mark Kelly got a second almost from Cian Conway’s kick-out and, despite all Clyda’s pace and movement, they could not get on the scoreboard, Good chances went abegging, Fionn O’Shea failing to find Cian O’Sullivan in space with a goal chance on and Padraig O Mullane shooting hopelessly wide with a score badly needed.
James Murphy did finally put Clyda on the scoreboard in the 10th minute with Padraig O’Mullane levelling the scores after the opening quarter. But, in truth, Clyda should have been ahead. And, as they continued to squander opportunities – Conor Flanagan and James Murphy missing free chances won by the hard grafting Conor O’Sullivan – they did go ahead in the 24th minute, a super effort from Murphy.
But, back came Newcestown, points from Daniel and Tadhg Twomey (a free) earning the Carbery men a 0-4 to 0-3 interval lead.
The second-half was much better, as Newcestown hit Clyda hard with some sweet moving football that pushed them 0-7 to 0-3 clear after 35 minutes. And Curran will wonder how he managed to put the ball over the bar with a goal at his mercy after good work by Tadhg Twomey and Barry Horgan. That score-burst provided Newcestown with the platform to win the game for although Clyda battled back to parity by the 41st minute, it took a huge effort to accomplish it.
Curran, always aware, restored Newcestown’s lead again with a smashing point in the 44th minute to put his side 0-8 to 0-7 clear entering the final quarter.
Time to stand up now. With Mark Kelly and Fionnan Keane very strong at midfield, Paudie Kissane posing no real threat, Newcestown pushed on again as point from substitute Eoin Kelly and Carthach Keane, who had a quiet match, pushed them three clear with 12 minutes remaining.
It was looking good, but there was still fight in Clyda and if James Murphy and Kissane had been accurate, it might have been a different result. Conor O’Sullivan made it a two point game in the 55th minute, Flanagan got it down to one in injury time with a free as Clyda went gunning for an equaliser.
But it wasn’t to be for steely Newcestown held their nerve and certainly rode their luck. Now they return to senior ranks for the first time since 2006 when they re-graded to Premier intermediate level.
Scorers for Newcestown: D. Twomey, T. Twomey (frees), H. Curran (0-2 each), M. Kelly, B. Horgan (free) E. Kelly and C. Keane (0-1 each).
Clyda Rovers: J. Murphy 0-3, Conor O’Sullivan 0-2, P. O’Mullane, Cian O’Sullivan, D. Murphy and C. Flanagan (free) 0-1 each.
NEWCESTOWN: P. White; Jason Crowley, John Crowley, K. Long; G. O’Rourke, N. O’Sullivan, B. Moloney; M. Kelly, F. Keane; H. Curran, B. Horgan, G. O’Driscoll; T. Twomey, C. Keane, D, .Twomey.
Subs: E. Kelly for Jason Crowley (38), T. Ryan for Kelly (48), S. Ryan for O’Driscoll (51), B. O’Mahony for Horgan (60).
CLYDA ROVERS: C. Conway; R. Carey, G .Carey, K. Fitzgerald; M. O’Brien, O O’Hanlon, N. O’Mullane; F. O’Shea, P. Kissane; C. Flanagan, P. O’Mullane, D. Murphy; Conor O’Sullivan; Cian O’Sullivan,; J. Murphy.
Sub: K. O’Connell for D. Murphy (50)
Referee: G. Harrington (Carrigaline).