Sharp, controlled and, at times, playing sweet hurling, they booked a final date with Courcey Rovers at the same venue next weekend.
Despite falling behind to an early Fionn Keane goal, quick strikes from Leigh Desmond and Bill Cooper, in the 12th and 13th minutes, gave them an edge they never really lost, a badly needed second Newcestown goal coming too late to make a difference.
Full marks to Youghal, they had their homework done as tremendous displays from Brendan and Damien Ring, Conor Spillane, Brett Moloney and Bill Cooper powered them home. They opened up the play well and often stretched a Newcestown side that failed to ignite.
Newcestown got a super start though, Hugh Curran sending Cathrach Keane racing through the middle just three minutes into the contest and he set up his brother Fionn for a cracking goal.
But Youghal, with Spillane and Damien Ring powerhouses in the half backline, soon hit back as points from Leigh Desmond, operating on the left wing with menace, and the razor sharp Brendan Ring settled them down. Adapting to the slippery conditions better- even though Cathrach Keane missed a glorious chance of a second Newcestown goal in the 10th minute – Youghal were looking lively, Cooper and Moloney calling the shots around midfield.
And they struck those two telling blows in the space of a minute, goals Newcestown never recovered from. The first came from Desmond in the 12th minute, after great approach work by Moloney and James O’Mahony. And a second quickly followed, this time Cooper getting a final touch despite Brendan Ring’s batted effort looking destined to beat goalkeeper Jim O’Sullivan.
And Youghal coach Peter Queally was quick to highlight the importance of the goals.”Yeah they were two vital goals and came at a very important time for us after conceding that early goal. It gave us a huge lift, as did Brendan Ring’s free taking in the second-half when Newcestown were coming back at us strongly.
“There was nothing soft out there, we had to dig it out and at times it was a real battle, but we stood up to it well. We were much improved from the last night though and it should give the town a big lift next week before we play Courceys in the final.”
Leading 2-3 to 1-0 after the opening quarter there was some excellent hurling in the next 15 minutes as both sides looked lively in the miserable conditions. Eoin Kelly got his first Newcestown point in the 17th minute, but as the play began to open up it was Youghal who looked the sharper side with Coleman’s 28th minute point the pick of the lot after great approach work by Spillane and Moloney as the seasiders led 2-6 to 1-4 at the break.
Three minutes into the second-half Newcestown were out of luck again. Cathrach Keane, on another mazy run, was taken down, referee David Copps awarding a penalty. However, Kelly’s low strike was brilliantly saved by Andrew Curtin for a 65 which Kelly did manage to convert to reduce the leeway. The momentum was with Newcestown now and they weren’t finished as two fabulous long range frees by Kelly left just two points between the sides after 40 minutes and it ws all to play for. But the Newcestown defence always looked vulnerable and, conceding too many frees, Ring, bar once, punished them hard by pushing his side 2-9 to 1-7 clear entering the final quarter
The tempo increased too, yellow cards aplenty with Coleman lucky to stay on the field. But it was Youghal who pushed on, the ice cool Ring firing over a super point from play after a great ball from Desmond.
In fairness to Newcestown they battled on, always looking for a goal that would breathe new life into their challenge. It did come, a cracker from Odhran Keane, but too late to halt Youghal’s march to a final date with Courceys next Sunday.
Scorers for Youghal: B Ring 0-7 (5fs), L Desmond 1-2, B. Cooper 1-0, B Coleman, B Moloney, J Ormonde 0-1 each.
Scorers for Newcestown: E Kelly 0-5 (3fs, 1 65), F Keane 1-1, O Keane 1-0, H Curran 0-1.
YOUGHAL: R Cunningham; B Ring, B O’Sullivan, K Walsh; B Goggin, C Spillane, D Ring; B Moloney, B Cooper; B Coleman, C O’Mahony, L Desmond; A Curtin, B Ring, J O’Mahony.
Subs: M Ó Cróinín for Goggin (42), K Dempsey for O’Mahony (49), J Ormonde for Coleman (49), S Twomey for Curtin (60).
NEWCESTOWN: J O’Sullivan; O Keane, J Crowley, K Long; B Horgan, N O’Sullivan, G O’Driscoll; D Twomey, G O’Rourke; H Curran, T Twomey, C Keane; E Kelly, F Keane, S Ryan.
Subs: M Bradfield for O’Rourke (44), B O’Donovan for Ryan (54).
Referee: D Copps (Ballyhea).