Newcastle in command
GAELIC GAMES JUNIOR ‘A’ FOOTBALL SEMI-FINALS
Newcastle 0- 10, Rathnew 0- 8: Newcastle’s midfielder Robbie O’Gara turned in a five star performance for his team as he led them to this two points win over their east coast rivals Rathnew in their semi-final game of the junior A football championship at Arklow on Saturday.
Rathnew, who had just taken an early lead in this match, lost one of their midfielders after just twelve minutes, former senior player Declan Byrne who was red carded for an off the ball incident, and he was a huge loss to his team.
Yet full- forward Robert ‘Turkey’ Doyle tacked on his second point immediately afterwards and the men from the Thatched Village were ahead by 0-3 to 0-2 at the end of the first quarter.
Newcastle were not gelling as a unit in the early play but finished the half much better. A move by Paddy Kavanagh and Adam Merriman set Robbie O’Gara up for an excellent long range point on 21 minutes.
Then moments later Newcastle’s number 13 Shane Cloake was dispatched to the sin bin on a straight red card.
In injury time JP Kelly, who was also catching the eye for Newcastle at full- forward, fired over the last point of the half to give his team a slender 0-4 to 0-3 lead at the break.
Even though Rathnew drew level with their opponents in the first five minutes of the second half, Johnny Byrne and Robert Doyle countering with points after Robert Merriman’s opener for Newcastle in the first minute.
Robert Merriman came as a replacement for Darren O’Brien before half time and he proved to be a big addition to their attack in every respect.
Centre- back Niall Yeoman, who was also an anchor of the Newcastle side, took off on one of a number of good runs into enemy territory, linking up with Paddy Kavanagh to win the free and a lead point for Robbie O’Gara.
On 46 minutes O’Gara showed his accuracy from another free and JP Kelly added a further point three minutes later to extend Newcastle’s advantage to three, 0-8 to 0-5.
Though Robert Doyle pulled a point back on 50 minutes, Rathnew legs appeared to be tiring. In the 24th minute Robbie O’Gara picked out Ronan Lyng with a long range free and Lyng had the white flag waving again. Bustling Richard Merriman made an opening for himself and Newcastle had a cushion of four points ( 0- 10 to 0- 6) with five minutes left.
Pounding the Newcastle ramparts, Rathnew they found the way blocked for a goal, but won two frees within range and Robert Doyle popped both over the bar to narrow the gap to just two (0-10 to 0-8) before the final whistle.