Newtown find net against Stratford
It took Newtown nearly ten minutes to get into their stride as they shot six wides to their opponent’s two in the first half. Dean Odlum had their first point off his left boot after eight minutes, but this was a game where the county star did not leave his imprint on the play to same extent as in previous encounters.
Stratford’s impressive wing-back Paddy Walsh was in hard luck as the ball slipped from his grasp and was snapped up by John Halpin for an equalising point for the magpies However the losers bounced back immediately with Mark Caplis converting a pass from Paul Cronin into a score.
Even though Newtown were playing with the wind at their backs in the first half, they now found themselves trailing 0-2 to 0-3 nearing the end of the first quarter of a match that was far from classic football, with too much ball being spilled by both teams.
Stratford were to be hit by the first sucker punch after 14 minutes when a high ball broke to Garrett Doyle, who took off on an unimpeded solo run before tucking his shot neatly into the left hand corner of Nick O’Neill’s goal.
Five minutes later the westerners looked to be in even deeper trouble Ross Odlum drilled to the net from a high delivery from midfielder Jason Fitzsimons, who had turned the game in Newtown’s favour with a command display in the centre of the park.
Newtown’s corner-back Justin Owens was also showing strongly on the left flank and one of his searing solo runs won a free and a point for Dean Odlum on 20 minutes.
From being 0-3 to 0-2 ahead five minutes earlier, Stratford now found themselves chasing the game from 2-3 to 0-3 behind. To their credit they fought back from those goal blows, finishing the half strongly with two points from frees by Paul Cronin ˆ one a mighty effort from a OE45’ into the wind, to narrow the gap slightly to 0-5 to 24 at the break.
With the wind behind them Stratford continued to take the fight to their opponents. Eoin O’Neill was having a huge game at full-back and he was being strongly supported by Paddy Walsh on the wing, Shane O’Neill at midfield and Paul and Diarmuid Cronin in attack.
Garrett Doyle opened the second half scoring for Newtown but agonisingly Stratford reduced the deficit to four points (2-6 to 0-8)
Garrett Doyle ( 2-1), Ross Odlum (1-1), Dean Odlum (0-3), John Halpin (0-2), and John Heffernan (0-1). 1. Cathal McGirl 2. Mark Fitzsimons 3. Andy Halpin 4. Justin Owens 5. Cathal McNicholas 6. Neil Martin 7. Eoin O’Riordan 8. Paul O’Riordan 9. Jason Fitzsimons 10. Ross Odlum 11. John Heffernan 12 Paudie Doyle 13. Dean Odlum 14. John Halpin 15. Garrett Doyle
Barry Davis for J. Haplin. after 50 minutes , with Diarmuid and Paul Cronin the providers of the necessary scores.
Five minutes later Stratford were to be hit by a double whammy as two of their players were sin-
Paul Cronin ( 0-6), Diarmuid Cronin (0-2), Mark Caplis (0-1). binned by referee Kieran Kenny, and Garrett Doyle gave us another reprise of his predatory football skills, blasting home his second and Newtown’s third goal to put the result beyond any doubt.