Last year they won a Cork Premier IFC title they had no right to on early round form. Now, after suffering a first round senior defeat by St Finbarr’s, few gave them a chance against a more seasoned Aghada side in this second round clash in Killavullen on Saturday.
True they were abetted by some scandalous Aghada shooting in the second-half, but this Danny Culloty driven side know how to play football. Not a big side physically, they re still tigerish on the ball and were well able to withstand the loss of Bart Daly, who went off injured after only 11 minutes. They played some nifty football at times and were a clued in outfit all through this second round contest.
Aghada were lethargic up front, lacking leadership and accuracy. They still have one more chance against St Nicholas to advance, but badly need the influence of Pearse O’Neill and Cian Fleming to get them back on track. In an often congested contest, Newmarket’s short passing style was tasty at times and there were some quick points on the scoreboard. TJ Bodie opened their account with a free, though Michael Russell did reply for Aghada, who opted to play two up front in Trevor O’Keeffe and Josh O’Shea, both well marshalled by Brian O’Riordan and John Ryan.
Ger Melvin put Aghada in front but it was Newmarket, with Tony O’Keeffe and John Lane full of intelligent running and hard graft up front, who looked more threatening. Despite Daly’s loss, Newmarket were far better clued in and it was no surprise when Bodie equalised with his second free conversion.
Newmarket led after the opening quarter, 0-3 to 0-2, and, after David O’Flynn kicked a peach of a point, clicked into top gear with some hard running football as points followed from Nicky Flanagan and John Lane. Aghada were being over-run. Melvin and Bodie did exchange pointed frees before the half-time whistle, but Aghada were struggling, particularly up front, just one point to show from play, as they trailed 0-6 to 0-3 at the break. They needed to lift it in the second-half and, for a while, they did. With Tom O’Neill and Eoin Healy now looking a better unit at midfield, Josh O’Shea quickly set up the lively O’Keeffe for a fine point and Aghada looked in the mood now.
However, some appalling shooting from good positions, O’Shea, O’Keeffe and Flanagan all culpable, made it easy for Newmarket, who picked off some nice scores. John Lane fired over a beauty, Kevin O’Sullivan another, after fine work by David O’Flynn and Lane, and then O’Fynn himself in the 45th minute which gave Newmarket what looked an unassailable 0-9 to 0-4 lead entering the final quarter.
But, after Tony Wall added to Aghada’s shooting woes, they finally clicked. Substitute Ger Hurley converted a 52nd free and although Bodie did restore Newmarket’s five-point lead with his fourth free conversion, Aghada suddenly got the radar right, hit their best spell and almost rocked Newmarket.
Late points from O’Shea, O’Keeffe and Wall reduced the deficit to just two to make it an uncomfortable finish for the Duhallow men. But it would have been rough justice had they were caught.
Scorers for Newmarket: TJ Bodie 0-4fs, D O’Flynn, J Lane 0-2 each, N Flanagan, K O’Sullivan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Aghada: G Melvin (2fs), T O’Keeffe 0-2 each, M Russell, G Hurley (f), J O’Shea (f), T Wall 0-1 each.
NEWMARKET: D Quinlan; D O’Brien, B O’Riordan, J Ryan; B O’Leary, M Reidy, P Allen; B Daly, T. Murphy; D O’Flynn, K O’Sullivan, T O’Keeffe; J Lane, N Flanagan, TJ Bodie.
Subs: C O’Sullivan for Daly (inj 11), D Culloty for Flanagan (58).
AGHADA: P Kavanagh; B Wall, J P O’Connor, K O’Connor; S Wall, R Power, O Savage; B Flaherty, E Healy; T O’Neill, G Melvin, M Russell; T O’Keeffe, J O’Shea, T Wall.
Subs: J Connolly for Savage (ht), G Hurley for Melvin (43), C Power for Flaherty (50).
Referee: K Murphy (Nemo Rangers).