DEIRDRE O’Reilly’s reign as Newmarket manager encountered little turbulence as their Bons Secour Co. Premier IFC take off hit a winning start on a comprehensive victory over Na Piarsaigh at Banteer on Saturday.
At the end of the hour, Newmarket emerged good value for their win, a fusion of workrate and polished finishing from opportunist breaks thrilled the 11-time All Ireland senior medallist O’Reilly in a perfect start to the campaign.
The city side could have little complaints about the outcome, defeated by a better balanced side that crucially carried a more widespread threat in attack. Indeed Newmarket set out their stall from the outset, and early territorial domination helped yield a 0-4 to 0-0 lead inside seven minutes thanks to the accuracy of Barry O’Connor, Donal Hannon, Conor O’Keeffe and Michael Cottrell.
In fairness to Na Piarsaigh, they grew into the game, and came right back into contention with a sweet Alan Keating goal. Though Newmarket remained that bit sharper with O’Keeffe adding a pair of points, Na Piarsaigh foraged well for possession through the involvement of Shane Forde, Aaron Higgins and Hogan.
Points from Hogan, Gordon Joyce and Keith Buckley earned parity as injuries to Cathal Browne and namesake Aidan appeared to knock Newmarket off their stride. However the Duhallow side managed to suppress Piarsaigh’s momentum with O’Keeffe and Hannon on target to secure a 0-9 to 1-3 advantage at the interval.
Though the sides swapped points upon the resumption, Newmarket appeared the more focused and energised side, splendidly served by Bart Daly, Paudie Allen, Michael Cottrell, O’Keeffe and Kevin O’Sullivan. And as the contest developed, the Na Piarsaigh rearguard brought trouble on themselves.
Initially Daly intercepted a kick out to set up O’Keeffe for a goal in the 38th minute and further defensive frailties allowed O’Keeffe feed namesake Ryan for a second major. Na Piarsaigh attempted to stem the tide with Buckley and Keating pointing to cut the arrears.
However, Newmarket saw their task through to a successful conclusion, putting the polish on the finish with a pair of late points from Hannon. Next up for Newmarket is a meeting against Aghada with Na Piarsaigh requiring a return from fellow opening round losers Castletownbere to retain an interest towards progression in the campaign.
C O’Keeffe (1-6, 3 frees); D Hannon (0-5, 3 frees); R O’Keeffe (1-1); B O’Connor, M Cottrell (0-1 each).
A Keating (1-1); K Buckley (0-2 free); A Hogan, S Forde, G Joyce (free) (0-1 each).
J O’Keeffe; A Browne, A Ryan, M Browne; B Daly, TJ Brosnan, P Allen; M Cottrell, C Browne; D O’Keeffe, C O’Keeffe, K O’Sullivan; J Ryan, D Hannon, B O’Connor.
T O’Keeffe for C Browne (16 inj), R O’Keeffe for A Browne (20inj), D Culloty for J Ryan (45), T Murphy for D O’Keeffe (50), D Cottrell for T J Brosnan (55).
J McGrath; P Murphy, E Hannifin, L Murphy; D Maguire, K Power, A Higgins; E Sheehan, S Forde; G Joyce, K Forde, K Buckley; C O’Mahony, A Hogan, A Keating.
A Dennehy for P Murphy (ht), C Bowen for L Murphy (40), D Gunning for E Sheehan (41), P Guest for C O’Mahony (51).
Referee: J Murphy (Castletownroche).