Newmarket put their two previous disappointments behind them (losses to Kiskeam and Bantry) as they eased into the latter stages, while putting out one of the competition’s early favourites.
Key to the victory was a steady first-half display while playing with the wind, followed by a tenacious performance after the break which saw them cruise home.
Grenagh lost the battle in key areas of the pitch and then had to struggle without their on-field general Tom Kenny. The talisman had to be replaced with 15 minutes remaining with a nasty-looking hand injury.
Even at the interval Grenagh would have been relatively happy going to the dressing rooms as they were only trailing 1-4 to 1-5 after playing against the stiff breeze.
A man-of-the-match performance from full-forward Nicky Flanagan was a key factor in their win as the tenacious number 14 battled hard all through and ended the night with a personal tally of 1-5.
The talented attacker linked up superbly with left half-forward Kevin O’Sullivan and left full-forward John Lane.
The trio were tremendous going forward and also played their part when needed to track back.
Newmarket opened much the brighter as they raced into a three-point lead on six minutes.
A goal from Grenagh’s John Russell followed by scores from Aaron McCarthy and Diarmuid Dorgan gave Grenagh an unlikely lead on the quarter-hour, only for them to relinquish their advantage over the next 10 minutes thanks to points from Mark Reidy and David O’Flynn, which were followed by a goal from Flanagan.
After the interval Newmarket stepped up a gear and opened the gap to three before a fired up Grenagh responded with a trio of excellent points to tie things up with just over 10 minutes to go.
That was as good as it got for Grenagh, however, as Newmarket rallied superbly and opened up what proved to be the final insurmountable gap.
Scorers for Newmarket: N Flanagan 1-5 (4f); TJ Bodie 0-2 (2f); T O’Keeffe, D O’Flynn, M Reidy, K O’Sullivan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Grenagh: J Russell 1-0; Diarmuid Dorgan, S Coleman (2f) 0-2 each; T Kenny, M Kenny, K Cummins, A McCarthy 0-1 each.
NEWMARKET: D Quinlan; S Doody, B O’Riordan, J Ryan; B O’Leary, T Murphy, M O’Leary; M Murphy, M Reidy; D O’Flynn, T O’Keeffe, K O’Sullivan; TJ Bodie, N Flanagan, J Lane.
Subs: G Casey for M Murphy (40), C O’Sullivan for B O’Leary (45).
GRENAGH: M Barry; M Lehane, C Kenny, R Dorgan; N O’Doherty, Donie Dorgan, A McCarthy; T Kenny, S Coleman; S Dorgan, C Fitzgerald, Diarmuid Dorgan; K Cummins, J Russell, U Duggan.
Subs: G Russell for C Fitzgerald (ht), C Fitzgerald for T Kenny (46), M Kenny for K Cummins (56).
Referee: N Barrett (Carrigtwohill).