St Nick’s show battling qualities to avoid drop

St Nicholas 2-12 Newmarket 1-09

After beating a gallant Newmarket side, relieved winning manager Des Cullinane didn’t attempt to hide his feelings at retaining the club’s top flight status.

“It was very important for us because we have very good footballers but we’re the second game up there (Glen Rovers).

“We had a great couple of weeks (together) but hurling is always going to be the first game (in the club), I’m just thrilled we got out of this, it’s my last game involved, these guys showed great heart, some of them have been around a long time and it meant a huge amount not to go down to intermediate.

“By and large it was a good enough game as well, it wasn’t as dour a match that it might have been.”

Both sides certainly played as if they wanted victory badly and the scoreline didn’t reflect the effort Newmarket put into this competitive tie.

Indeed at one stage of the first-half you wouldn’t have bet against them on the basis of their free-flowing play and the position of power they put themselves into when they enjoyed a lead of 1-6 to 0-3, hugely by a fine goal from Tony O’Keeffe.

However, the city side struck back with three unanswered points in the closing stages of the half, two from Evan Kearney and another from goalkeeper Kieran McHenry (free) to leave the game open again.

The cat and mouse nature of the tie continued in the early minutes of the second-half but St Nick’s threw down the gauntlet with a goal and two points to establish a 40th minute lead of 1-10 to 1-7.

It remained a vibrant contest right to the end with each side scoring a couple of points and Newmarket challenging for an equalising goal on a couple of occasions before conceding an injury time strike to Dean Brosnan.

The six points losing margin was probably harsh on Newmarket for their huge effort, but victory ultimately went to the team that most deserved it.

Scorers for St Nick’s: B O’Donovan 1-3, D Brosnan 1-0, E Kearney (0-1 free), K McHenry (frees) 0-3 each, D Cunningham, P O’Brien, A O’Brien 0-1 each.

Scorers for Newmarket: T O’Keeffe 1-0, J Ryan 0-3, D Culloty 0-2, D Hannon, J Lane, K O’Sullivan, T J Brosnan 0-1 each

ST NICK’S: K McHenry, K Spain, D Og O’Donovan, T Spain, A Evans, D Cunningham, A Hosford, R Brosnan, P O’Brien, G Callanan, D Busteed, D Brosnan, M Dooley, B O’Donovan, E Kearney.

Subs: D Brosnan for R Brosnan (injured, 11 mins), B Moylan for A Evans, A O’Brien for D Busteed (both 40), K McCarthy-Coad for A Hosford (58).

NEWMARKET: D Quinlan, B O’Leary, B O’Riordan, P Allen, TJ Brosnan, M Reidy, P O’Brien, C O’Sullivan, B Daly, T O’Keeffe, K O’Sullivan, D Hannon, J Ryan, D Culloty, J Lane.

Subs: N Flanagan for P O’Brien (49), A Ryan for B O’Leary (54), M Cottrell for J Lane (57).

Referee: P O’Leary (Kilmurry).

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