Business as usual for brilliant Blues
NEWTOWN Blues opened the defence of their title with a clinical display to brush aside the challenge of Naomh Mairtin and in the process send a clear message to their rivals about their intentions to keep hold of the Joe Ward Cup.
Facing one of their main rivals for the competition, the Blues showed no signs of complacency and in a highly organised and professional performance, topped off with an array of excellent points from the likes of Andy McDonnell, Ross Nally, Colm Judge and Ciaran Downey, they had this came under their control from virtually the throw-in.
The game was just 15 seconds old when McDonnell tapped over the first point and that set the standard for the remainder of the game.
The Mairtins suggested briefly that they would underline their credentials as title contenders when Conor Whelan and Eoghan Callaghan pointed to give them a brief advantage on four minutes.
However, that was as good as it got for a Mairtins side who were very flat for much of the hour and were never able to find their best form.
After Conor Branigan levelled on five minutes, the Blues began to flex their muscle and building from a solid defence broke at speed to create a series of chances, many of which were splendidly finished off with an economy of effort that will put fear into their rivals.
Ross Nally kicked excellent points off either foot before McDonnell added an equally impressive effort to make it 0-5 to 0-2 at the end of the first quarter.
Nally then tapped over a free from 45m and from the restart an excellent tackle from John Kermode resulted in Conor Moore setting up Nally for the simplest of goals.
The Blues were in total control and the Mairtins’ only response came from a Sam Mulroy free as the scores from McDonnell and Ciaran Downey stretched the lead to 1-8 to 0-3 atthebreak.
The Blues looked to be in complete control at that stage but credit to the Mairtins who came out fighting and gave themselves hope when a Sam Mulroy goal from a penalty following a trip on JP Rooney was followed by points from John Clutterbuck and Stephen Campbell to cut the gap to 1-8 to 1-5.
However, just when it seemed that the game might burst into life, the Blues moved quickly to snuff out any hope and three quality points in as many minutes from Colm Judge, Downey and Nally had them back in control after 42 minutes.
The game then drifted towards its inevitable conclusion as the Blues cruised to a ninepoint victory with the help of two late points from substitute Jamie Kelly.
Newtown Blues men Declan McNamara and Emmett Carolan can’t prevent Eoghan Callaghan of Naomh Mairtin getting his pass away during Sunday’s SFC match in Dunleer. Pictures: Paul Connor