To be fair to Aghabullogue, they remained in contention up to early in the second half but three goals in as many minutes from Newcestown close to the three-quarter mark, ensured there was no way back for the mid-Cork team.
Aghabullogue gave as good as they got for 40 minutes but in an astonishing few moments Newcestown turned this contest on its head. In a flash they fired home three quick-fire goals — the first pair from Eoin Kelly and the third from Mikey Bradfield. This altered the score to read 3-12 to 1-7 and really it was game over at that stage.
There was little to separate the teams after the first 30 minutes. Understandably, with so much at stake, it was a tentative half hour. The scoring was low and it was Newcestown who led 0-7 to 0-5, and that advantage could have been greater but for two superb saves from goalkeeper Denis O’Leary. Finbarr Foley was chief scorer for Aghabullogue with a beautifully cut sideline ball his most impressive.
When Greg Murphy tipped the sliotar to the net from a long-distance Foley free seven minutes after the resumption, the sides were level, 1-6 to 0-9 and in truth the outcome could have gone either way. Newcestown scored the next three points and despite looking more dangerous, Aghabullogue were staying with them.
Then came the vital strikes as Newcestown cut loose with their trio of goals. Then with the pressure off, they proceeded to score at will from there to the end. Daniel Twomey and his brother Tadhg landed a few long-range efforts as did goal-getters Bradfield and Kelly. Cathrach Keane also found the target and so did substitutes Barry Horgan and Andrew Shorten.
The long-serving Jim O’Sullivan played his part too between the posts with a tremendous save and outside him, wing-back Gerard O’Driscoll worked hard while also picking off a brace of points. Newcestown finished strong and deservedly take their place in tonight’s fourth-round draw. As for Aghabullogue, their championship is over and this defeat pits them in a relegation battle with Watergrasshill.
Scorers for Newcestown: E Kelly 2-3 (0-2 frees), M Bradfield 1-3, D Twomey 0-5 (0-3 frees), G O’Driscoll, T Twomey and C Keane 0-2 each, B Horgan and A Shorten 0-1 each.
Scorers for Aghabullogue: F Foley 0-5 (0-3 frees, 0-1 sl), G Murphy 1-0, D Twomey and J Corkery 0-3 each.
NEWCESTOWN: J O’Sullivan; O Keane, J Crowley, K Long; J Desmond, N O’Sullivan, G O’Driscoll; T Twomey, G O’Rourke; F Keane, D Twomey, T Horgan; E Kelly, C Keane, M Bradfield.
Subs: B Horgan for G O’Rourke (33), C Twomey for T Horgan (50), C O’Neill for E Kelly (54), A Shorten for F Keane (55), R Bradfield for K Long (57).
AGHABULLOGUE: D O’Leary; A Hogan, J Foley, D Murphy; B Buckley, N Buckley, J Corkery; S O’Sullivan, P O’Rourke; E Kennedy, G Murphy, J Corkery; J Buckley, D Twomey, F Foley.
Subs: P Twomey for E Kennedy (45), P Murphy for J Buckley (55), A O’Sullivan for S O’Sullivan (56).
Referee: D Daly (Brian Dillons).