However, what could not have been anticipated was that after Conor Flanagan put Clyda Rovers ahead in the fourth minute of added time, a further two minutes would elapse and enable Newcestown to equalise through the accuracy of corner back James Desmond’s angled free.
It led to an obvious sense of frustration from Clyda Rovers that they weren’t able to close out the game after a 44th minute goal.
“We didn’t drive on. That was disappointing,” said manager John Walsh.
“Goals win games but Newcestown are never going to drop their heads. They are a phenomenal team to keep going.”
Agreeing that they found it hard to break down Newcestown’s defensive wall, he felt after playing two games less, they were possibly rusty and met a tougher challenge than they encountered against O’Donovan Rossa.
The concession of the goal was described by Newcestown selector Tom Wilson as “an awful setback”.
“Fair play to the lads they gave it every single thing they had. The heart and the spirit and tradition are still living in our club,” he said.
Accepting the replay will be problematic because of heavy hurling commitments, he acknowledged the late introduction of Cárthach Keane, who broke his thumb playing hurling, and Seanie Ryan (his first outing since breaking his kneecap 12 months ago) helped them when they needed more forward power.
With former Cork star Paudie Kissane kicking the opening score in the first minute, Clyda made the running in the early stages. Each of their three opening scores was cancelled out before Conor O’Neill put Newcestown ahead for what proved to be the only time in the game in the 17th minute. Kissane was heavily influential and it was noteworthy that he was one of a number of players on both sides frustrated by crude tackling. It resulted in seven players being yellow carded, when black seemed a more appropriate colour in a number of them.
Clyda’s approach play didn’t yield the desired results for a lot of the game, despite the consistency of Fionn O’Shea at centre-back and Kenneth Fitzgerald around midfield, along with James Murphy’s accuracy from frees up front. However, the same could be said of a lot of Newcestown attacks, with Tadhg Twomey’s fairly constant threat at full-forward not reflected on the scoreboard. With a bit of luck he could have had the ball in the net in the 18th minute – when prevented from getting in a shot and penalised for over-holding.
Their lead lasted until the 22nd minute when a move initiated by Kissane saw Conor Flanagan equalise. After that Murphy kicked another free to see Clyda ahead 0-6 to 0-5 at the break.
A 33rd minute free from Murphy opened up what proved to be the biggest gap between the teams. And, but for a timely intervention by Desmond depriving Sean O’Connell of possession at the edge of the goalmouth, it could have been enhanced shortly afterwards. While Desmond was then off target from a free, Cárthach Keane proved his worth with a point immediately after his introduction and industrious centre-forward Martin O’Brien levelled the scores in the 42nd minute.
However, with Kenneth Fitzgerald to the forefront, Clyda were rewarded when Flanagan goaled two minutes later and they held the lead after Newcestown wasted a few chances before redeeming themselves with scores from Twomey, Trevor Horgan and O’Brien. That saw the sides deadlocked at the end of normal time before the two late, late points brought the game to its dramatic climax.
Scorers for Newcestown: J Desmond (0-3fs), T Twomey (2fs), M O’Brien (0-2 each), C O’Neill, D Twomey, C Keane and T Horgan (0-1 each).
Scorers for Clyda Rovers: J Murphy (0-5, 4fs), C Flanagan (1-2), P Kissane (0-1).
NEWCESTOWN: C White; T Horgan, J Crowley, J Desmond; L Meade, D Twomey, M McSweeney; F Keane, E Kelly; R Bradfield, M O’Brien, D Heffernan; M Kelly, T Twomey, C O’Neill.
Subs: S Ryan for Bradfield (37), C Keane for Heffernan (39), N Murray for O’Neill (52).
CLYDA ROVERS: C Conway; N O’Mullane, R Carey, C Kenny; P Kissane, F O’Shea, O O’Hanlon; D O’Callaghan, K Fitzgerald; Cian O’Sullivan, C Flanagan, G Carey; J Murphy, Conor O’Sullivan, S O’Connell.
Subs: S, Ronayne for G Carey (46), R Willis for O’Connell (51).
Referee: Brian Coniry (Crosshaven)