The decisive goal came in the 24th minute when a Fionn Keane delivery from the half-back line was pounced upon by Cork player Luke Meade. Meade, as is his wont, headed straight for goal and drew the defenders before passing to Horgan, who drilled a shot into the top corner of Shane Hurley’s net.
The goal capped a fine first half performance from Newcestown and gave them a deserved 1-8 to 0-6 lead at the break. The foundation for their lead was built on a dominant half-back line of Keane, Conor O’Neill and Greg Murphy and the industry of Tadhg Twomey at midfield.
The full-forward line of Horgan, Cárthach Keane and Eoin Kelly were also effective without ever being free-scoring as the Barr’s struggled to play the game on their own terms.
Barr’s did take the lead, however, through a fine Colm Barrett point after 15 seconds before two Kelly frees for Newcestown and a Colm Keane free for the Barr’s saw the sides level after five minutes. Twomey then gave the west Cork men the lead in the seventh minute and it was a lead they would not relinquish.
Newcestown scored four of the next six points through Kelly (2), Twomey and Cárthach Keane while Colm Keane and Eoghan Finn responded for the Barr’s to make it 0-7 to 0-4. Then came Horgan’s goal and while Ian Lordan pulled two back for the Barrs, Eoin Kelly was to have the last say with his fifth of the half to ensure his side a five-point half-time lead.
They stretched their lead to seven on the resumption through points from Dan Twomey and Trevor Horgan before Barr’s finally began to find their groove. Points from Lordan and Finn brought them bak level and Cian Walsh began to dominate around the middle.
The game was never free-flowing but it was always fascinating as both sides tried to bend it to their own will. Dan Twomey and Lordan traded frees, Robbie O’Mahony had a point for the Barrs that could easily have been a goal, Twomey was on target again for Newcestown before another point from Lordan and an inspirational score from Walsh brought the Barrs to within a goal with ten minutes remaining as the rain teemed down.
The goal that they needed never really looked like coming, however. Newcestown ‘keeper Kieran Kelly did well with some awkward high balls and full-back Cian Twomey generally marshalled the square effectively. Trevor Horgan traded scores with Colm Keane before Keane found himself standing over a twenty-metre free with goal on his mind.
His effort was repelled by the Newcestown defence and though Ian Lordan pointed the resultant ’65, it wasn’t to be enough and the Barrs will now face Killeagh in round two while Newcestown crowned an excellent day for hurling in west Cork.
Jim O’Sullivan is synonymous with Newcestown and he was thrilled with his side’s gritty performance even if he was wary of the margin that was there at the end: “A two-point lead is a dangerous lead. But we held on, Kieran Kelly made a couple of good saves from underneath the bar and the full-back line brought out some great ball in the last ten minutes.
“The Barrs are a great club, a proud club, one of the classiest clubs around. But I said to the lads beforehand that it’s about time that we took the next step in senior hurling and today is just one of those steps.” Scorers:
T Horgan 1-2, E Kelly 0-5 (0-4 frees), D Twomey 0-3 (0-1 free), T Twomey 0-2, C Keane 0-1.
I Lordan 0-7 (0-5 frees, 0-1 ’65), C Keane (0-1 free) and E Finn 0-2 each, C Walsh, C Barrett and R O’Mahony 0-1 each.
K Kelly, M McSweeney, C Twomey, M Courtney, G Murphy, C O’Neill, F Keane, J Meade, T Twomey, C Dineen, D Twomey, L Meade, E Kelly, C Keane, T Horgan. Subs: S Ryan for E Kelly (inj, h/t), G O’Donovan for J Meade (39 mins) and S O’Donovan for Keane 58 mins).
S Hurley, C Dennehy, J Burns, J Neville, B Hennessy, D Cahalane, J Goggin, C Walsh, C Barrett, E Finn, C Keane, G O’Connor, I Lordan, P Kelleher, C Cahalane. Subs: R O’Mahony for Kelleher (29 mins), E Maher for Finn (51 mins) and O Murphy for Barrett (55 mins).
Diarmuid Kirwan (Éire Óg).