Two second-half goals wrested the initiative Newtown’s way, but credit to Blackrock, they never, ever gave up the challenge and were fighting right to the end.
Following on from their impressive opening round victory over county champions Sarsfields, when they amassed 29 points, this fourth-round display was yet another commanding performance from Newtownshandum, though selector Dermot Gleeson urged caution.
“We were there or thereabouts again last year and we got a good kicking. We need to drive on a small bit from there. We need to build on last year and try and get a bit of momentum going. We are delighted to get over this match. We had a good win in the first round but this is three months later and it is hard to keep it going. We died a bit there today and it shows us what we have to work on.”
Leading by just a goal at half-time, the north Cork side had a great start to the second half when Jamie Coughlan blasted a penalty to the net. Their advantage stretched further when John Paul King cracked home a third goal with 10 minutes remaining.
In a blistering start, that saw scores come fast and furious, Blackrock edged 0-4 to 0-3 ahead five minutes. But when Donagh Stack found the net following a free-flowing move involving Michael Bowles and Cathal Naughton, it gave Newtown a cushion. Despite falling 1-9 to 0-6 in arrears, the Rockies roared back to within three points by the 23rd minute with some excellent points from David Cashman, Michael O’Halloran and Shane O’Keeffe.
Blackrock hung in, grateful as well to a marvellous save by goalkeeper Gavin Connolly, who denied Jamie Coughlan what looked a certain goal. Ryan Clifford tacked on a pair of frees on the approach to half-time but an Eoin O’Farrell point and a Cashman free saw the city team go to the dressing room three down, 0-11 to 1-11.
The second half was just two minutes old when John Cashman fouled Ryan Clifford in front of goal, Jamie Coughlan making no mistake with the penalty.
Michael Thompson nudged them further ahead but Blackrock hit back with four points in succession from Richard Laide, Ger O’Regan and David Cashman (2) to leave the score 2-12 to 0-15 at the end of the third quarter.
Newtown increased their advantage with Cathal Naughton, Donagh Stack and Tim O’Mahony finding the range. John Paul King then did brilliantly to collect and raced through to convert from a tight angle — 3-15 to 0-16. Blackrock rallied once more, Shane O’Keeffe kicked to the net and the gap was down to five points with as many minutes of normal time to play.
But every time the questions were asked, Newtown came up with the answers. John Paul King and Tim O’Mahony finished out the scoring and when Blackrock were awarded a penalty deep in stoppage time, William Biggane played his part, bravely diverting Kevin O’Keeffe’s effort over the bar.
J Coughlan (1-0 pen) and JP King (1-2 each), D Stack (1-1), R Clifford (two frees) and T O’Mahony (0-4 each), C Twomey (free), M Bowles, M Thompson, C Naughton and J Lane (0-1 each).
D Cashman (0-6, four frees), S O’Keeffe (1-1), M O’Halloran (0-3), G O’Regan and C Cormack (0-2 each), A O’Callaghan, E O’Farrell, R Laide and K O’Keeffe (pen) (0-1 each).
W Biggane; J O’Mahony, R Fallon (Capt), M Ryan; J Herlihy, C Twomey, E Coughlan; J P King, C Naughton; R Clifford, M Bowles, M Thompson; J Coughlan, D Stack, T O’Mahony.
PJ Copse for R Clifford (38 inj), J Lane for E Coughlan (44), J Bowles for D Stack (60).
G Connolly; J Cashman, E Cantwell, S Murphy; D Stokes, A O’Callaghan, G Norberg; E O’Farrell, R Laide; G O’Regan, S O’Keeffe (Capt), C Cormack; O Kelleher, D Cashman, M O’Halloran.
R Dineen for R Laide (46), K O’Keeffe for O Kelleher (52), P Deasy for D Cashman (54).
Colm Lyons (Nemo Rangers).