A five-point deficit at one stage in the first half was turned into a five-point victory for Newcestown in Group B of the Co-op SuperStores Cork SAHC at Páirc Uí Rinn on Sunday.
Second-best to Killeagh for much of the first half, the West Cork side went in level at half-time, 1-9 each, thanks to a penalty goal from Cian Healy.
Points from Cork star Luke Meade and Healy put Newcestown clear in the second half and they held the upper hand from there to the end. Manager Jim O’Sullivan was naturally pleased in the aftermath.
“We’re happy with the result, we’d have taken it at the start,” he said.
“It wasn’t perfect, we missed a lot, but as the game went on, I felt we were more composed.
“It took us a long time to get into the game. The drinks break came at a good time, we were down five points at one stage but we got the penalty to level it so we were happy enough at half-time. We kicked on then in the second half, maybe not as we should, but it was a satisfactory performance. The current system is tough on dual clubs but you can’t complain about that when you win.”
Killeagh had a great start Kevin Murphy pointed after 18 seconds and, though the first four points were shared equally, a sixth-minute goal from Gary Leahy – set up by Murphy – put Killeagh into a lead they held for most of the opening period.
The goal was the difference at the first-half drinks break, 1-5 to 0-5 the score, and Killeagh pulled clear on the resumption with Eoghan Keniry slotting over a pair of frees. Newcestown had lacked their usual intensity but they managed to claw their way back into it as Jack Meade, Cian Healy (free) and Luke Meade all scored to leave just two in it.
Killeagh had two more Keniry frees but Jack Meade pulled one back for Newcestown and they were level thanks to Healy’s penalty when Seán O’Donovan was fouled after winning Conor O’Neill’s delivery.
Newcestown took the lead for the first time when Tadgh Twomey – whose switch to midfield was crucial – set up Meade and Healy made it a two-point game with a close-range free.
Leahy might have got his and Killeagh’s second goal to put them back in front but teenage goalkeeper Cathal Wilson, making his debut, saved brilliantly. Ryan McCarthy did send over the subsequent 65 but Newcestown had a powerful response as O’Donovan won the puckout and laid off to Twomey, who fed wing-back Colm Dinneen and he pointed well.
Any attempts by Killeagh to come closer were responded to with points as Healy continued to convert frees.
Four points in a row, three by Healy and Dinneen’s third of the game, pushed them six clear, with Killeagh reduced to 14 as Daniel Walsh was shown a second yellow card. Newcestown also finished without their full complement as O’Donovan was dismissed for a late off-the-ball offence, but they had done enough to secure the win.
C Healy 1-9 (1-0 penalty, 0-9f), L Meade, C Dinneen 0-3 each, J Meade 0-2, C Keane 0-1.
E Keniry (0-5f), R McCarthy (0-3f, 0-1 sl, 0-1 65) 0-5 each, G Leahy 1-0, S Long 0-2, K Murphy 0-1.
C Wilson; M McSweeney, C Twomey, M Courtney; C Dinneen, C O’Neill, G O’Donovan; C O’Donovan, J Meade; T Twomey, L Meade, D Buckley; C Keane, S O’Donovan, C Healy.
F Keane for J Meade (40), N Murray for C Twomey (51, injured).
C Walsh; A Keniry, C Coughlan, D Hogan; D Walsh, C Fogarty, K Treacy; S Long, M Murphy; K Lane, E Keniry, K Murphy; A Leahy, G Leahy, R McCarthy.
C Fitzgibbon for M Murphy (9-11, blood), S Middy for M Murphy (33), P O’Neill for Lane (45), Fitzgibbon for Couglan (60).
D Daly (Brian Dillons).