All the positive spin in the world cannot hide the desperation that has engulfed the once mighty St Nicholas.
In years gone by a team like Newcestown would be easy pickings for the Blackpool side, but times have changed dramatically for the city club and a well-drilled West Cork side were full value for this comprehensive victory in the first round of the SFC at Brinny on Saturday night.
“Same old story,” said a club official, and he had a point. “We are an aging team and don’t have the readymade replacements. It’s a case now of keep plugging away and hoping that down the road we will turn the corner.”
However, for Nicks it could be a very long road because they now face a second round clash with Clonakilty, and on the evidence of this display, they cannot bank on getting a result from that tie either.
On the face of things this result doesn’t tell very much. It was a very scrappy affair from start to finish, with Nicks scoring just a single point from play for the hour, and forced to play the last quarter with 14 players after Paul O’Brien was yellow carded a second time.
Newcestown would obviously have preferred a far stiffer challenge to determine just how good their team is. They are a powerful physically built side full of excellent pace and skill, and Tadhg Twomey, Carthach Keane and Niall O’Sullivan are a trio of players capable of holding their own with the best.
For their part, Nicks battled hard with Killian Spain, Graham Callanan and Evan Kearney prominent, but they were chasing the game from the ninth minute after Twomey put Newcestown a point up. It took the city side 17 minutes to open their account from a Robert Brosnan free.
However this scrappy affair turned decisively in Newcestown’s favour a minute later when Twomey finished an excellent move to the net and while Evan Kearney kept the city side in touch with a brace of points, the West Cork side were full value for their 1-5 to 0-4 half time lead.
Newcestown maintained their territorial advantage through the second half but it wasn’t reflected on the scoreboard and at the three quarter stage, only a goal separated the sides.
However whatever chance Nicks had of pulling this game out of the fire evaporated soon after with the dismissal of O’Brien, and despite the best efforts of David Brosnan, they never threatened an equalising goal.
Numerically stronger Newcestown remained firmly in control from there to the finish and a second goal, fisted home by Mark Kelly and an injury time point by Tadhg Ryan served to emphasise their overall superiority.
Scorers for Newcestown: T Twomey 1-2, B Horgan 0-4fs, M Kelly 1-0, M Bradfield, E Kelly, T Ryan 0-1 each
Scorers for St Nicholas: E Kearney 0-3 (2fs), R Brosnan, M, McEnerey (45) 0-1 each.
NEWCESTOWN: C White; J Crowley, C Ryan, J Desmond; E Kelly, N O’Sullivan, C Twomey; F Keane, C Keane; B Horgan, S, Ryan, D Heffernan; M Kelly, T Twomey, M Bradfield.
Subs: C O’Neill for Horgan (40), T Ryan for Bradfield (45), J Curran for C Keane (55).
ST NICHOLAS: K McEnerey; A Dunlea, D Óg O’Donovan, K Spain; D Brosnan, N Horgan, T Spain; P O’Brien, G Callanan; S Kennefick, G Moylan, R Brosnan; E Kearney, D Goggin, D Brosnan.
Subs: D Busteed for Horgan (ht), A O’Brien for Kennefick (35).
Referee: J Birmingham (Bride Rovers).
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