Newtownshandrum 1-19 Killeagh 1-16: In the last decade Newtownshumdrum were kingpins of Cork club hurling, their delightful skillset and running game thrilling fans and neutrals alike as they amassed titles in 2000, 2003, 2005 and 2009.
The tiny North Cork hamlet has produced hurlers of real calibre for Cork senior hurling teams, particularly during the Rebels’ last golden era between 2003 and 2006.
The current Newtown generation may still have the potential to do something special in 2016, and allied to the fact that none of the current panel is Cork-tied, manager Edward Daly can continue to build for bigger days ahead.
On the evidence of yesterday’s victory over Killeagh in round one of the Cork SHC, the Newtown class of 2016 plays a wonderful brand of hurling, mixing the direct- and running-games effectively and, at times, beautifully.
The game-plan is peopled by experience and youth, a mix best exemplified in the début of 19-year-old corner forward Seán Griffin and men with know-how in Jack Herlihy, Jerry O’Mahony, Jamie Coughlan and Ryan Clifford.
Killeagh, meanwhile, have come a long way from last year’s chastening exit in the championship to Carrigtwohill and, after yesterday’s result, can hold their heads high.
Their manager, Mark Landers, has a group of young talent at his disposal and under his guidance this bunch could yet prosper in this year’s championship.
The East Cork men did create plenty of goal-scoring opportunities in the first half but inexperience and naivety saw these chances evaporate in a twinkle.
A Joe Deane-like figure inside might have finished some of this splendid approach work.
The game will be best remembered for the precise skill-sets and of two well-coached outfits but, like the first game in Mallow, this one lacked championship bite.
It would be hard to fault any of the Newtown crew who all performed admirably, though they did have some standout performers in Jerry O’Mahony, Michael Thompson, Michael Bowles, Seán Griffin and Ryan Clifford.
Clifford landed some beauties but blotted his copybook late in the contest by getting sent off after lashing out.
Killeagh will be pleased with the progress they’ve made in 12 months under Landers’ guidance and had some good performers in Kieran Lane, Shane Smiddy, Daniel Walsh, Garry Leahy and David Cahill.
The first half was closely contested, the sides level on three occasions. Point-taking from various angles and distances caught the eye: Seán Griffin, Jamie Coughlan and Michael Thompson for Newtown and David Cahill and Daniel Walsh for Killeagh to the fore in this regard.
A turning point arrived in first-half injury time when Jamie Coughlan- moved to full forward – collected possession in the corner, turned his marker and unleashed an unstoppable drive beyond Bernard Rochford.
That goal moved Newtown 1-10 to 0-11 ahead, and on the turnover, the Avondhu men resumed in another gear fashioning seven points (to just two replies from Killeagh) in a 12 minute spell to leave it stand 1-17 to 0-13 on 42 minutes.
A brilliant hook by Kevin Murphy on Tim O’Mahony denied the latter a goal in the 54th minute before Clifford landed a resplendent effort from under the stand on the hour.
Scorers for Newtownshandrum:
J Coughlan 1-4; R Clifford 0-6 (0-2f); S Griffin, M Thompson and M Bowles 0-2 each; C Twomey (free), T O’Mahony and C Naughton 0-1 each.
Scorers for Killeagh:
D Cahill 0-9 (0-8f); D Walsh 0-3; G Leahy, K Treacy, J O’Connor and K Murphy (free) 0-1 each.
W Biggane; J O’Mahony, R Fallon (c), M Ryan; J Herlihy, C Twomey, M Thompson; C Naughton, J Lane; J Coughlan, M Bowles, J Bowles; S Griffin, T O’Mahony, R Clifford.
L Clarson for M Bowles (inj. 36).
B Rochford; S Murphy, P Carroll, C Fogartty (c); P O’Brien, K Murphy, K Lane; M Fitzgerald, B Collins; J O’Connor, D Walsh, S Smiddy; G Leahy, K Treacy, D Cahill.
Darragh Cahill for Treacy (53); P O’Neill for Lane (blood, 56-57);
Nathan Wall (Carrigaline)
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved