A brilliant start for Newmarket was half the battle. They led at the break 0-9 to 0-2 and despite letting Ballinora back into in the second-half they still had enough in reserve to run out comfortable winners.
Newmarket, coached by former player Danny Culloty, illustrated their scoring ability from the outset. Although falling behind to a pointed free from Colin O’Shea in the second minute, they reeled off seven unanswered points before Ballinora notched their second point from a Ben Aherne free. All the while, the Newmarket full-forward line was benefitting from their midfield dominance, and they gladly asserted themselves with some wonderful points.
Nicky Flanagan stood out kicking three points, while T J Bodie was also on target as well as centre-forward Kevin Sullivan and midfielder Mark Reidy. Consequently, Ballinora re-jigged their defence and brought Sean Lucey off the bench after just 10 minutes. While they were not as exposed at the back, they still found scores difficult to come by up front. As the rain started to pelt down, conditions grew demanding for both teams.
Flanagan tacked on a brace of points on the run up to the half — his finishing was highlighted by his second shot which came from an almost impossible angle. Newmarket’s seven point margin at the break was as a result of their more direct and unrelenting play. Winning around the middle yielded plenty of possession, they were tight too at the rear which resulted in the mid Cork side having yet to score from play.
Ballinora did improve for the second period but their kicking let them down. No doubt trainer and Douglas man Ronan McCarthy had a few choice words for his team. They were far busier but little was going right for them. They had to wait until 16 minutes into the new half before they got their first score from play, and there even seemed to be a bit of luck attached to this as sub Jurgen Werner’s punt came in off of the upright. They now trailed 0-10 to 0-4. With 10 minutes to go the result was all but wrapped up. Kevin O’Sullivan combined with Colin O’Sullivan to increase the advantage but back came Ballinora with two O’Shea frees. However, with time up, Flanagan stitched on a free and a minute later John Lane pointed just before the whistle.
Scorers for Newmarket: N Flanagan 0-7 (0-5 frees), T J Bodie (0-1 free) and K O’Sullivan 0-2 each, M Reidy and J Lane 0-1 each.
Scorers for Ballinora: C O’Shea 0-3 (frees), B Aherne 0-2 (0-1 sl, 0-1 free), J Werner 0-1.
NEWMARKET: D Quinlan; S Doody, D O’Brien, B O’Riordan; B O’Leary, T Murphy, J Ryan; M Reidy, C O’Sullivan; D O’Flynn, K O’Sullivan, T O’Keeffe; T J Bodie, N Flanagan, J Lane.
Subs: T J Brosnan for B O’Leary, B Daly for D O’Flynn (both 45 mins).
BALLINORA: E Walsh; E Lucey, David O’Neill, Denis O’Neill; M Kelliher, N Collins, T McGrath; G O’Halloran, A O’Neill; C Brosnan, B Aherne, I Wycherley; P Fitton, J Fitton, C O’Shea.
Subs: S Lucey for E Lucey (10 mins), C Lucey for J Fitton (40), J Werner for G O’Halloran (43), S Rock for P Fitton (56).
Referee: E Sheehy (Newcestown).