New­mar­ket and Ban­teer seek league prize

The Corkman - - SPORT - John Tar­rant

THE pair­ing of Ban­teer and New­mar­ket looks set for an en­ter­tain­ing con­fronta­tion to the Twohigs Su­per Valu Ju­nior A Hurl­ing League Fi­nal in Kan­turk on Fri­day evening.

An ap­peal­ing strug­gle is ex­pected be­tween the pair as both teams are ca­pa­ble of play­ing at­trac­tive hurl­ing to a league that of­fered keen com­pe­ti­tion.

It’s only the sec­ond oc­ca­sion, the pair will meet in a league de­cider, the first just two sea­sons ago.

New­mar­ket fin­ished strongly to nail their sec­ond ti­tle in three sea­sons after emerg­ing 3-14 to 1-16 vic­tors. On that oc­ca­sion, New­mar­ket emerged the hun­grier, more fo­cused side and when the con­test was in the melt­ing pot, it was a 14-man New­mar­ket who held the slick­ness and ef­fi­ciency to storm home four points vic­tors.

The best hurl­ing and most of the ex­cite­ment sur­faced dur­ing the sec­ond half where New­mar­ket’s sharper stick­work be­came very ev­i­dent. Ban­teer of­fered real spirit dur­ing the course of the hour but it fell short and they found them­selves on the re­ceiv­ing end of a late New­mar­ket pur­ple patch with four points reg­is­tered that ul­ti­mately de­cided the out­come.

New­mar­ket hold nine ti­tles, four won dur­ing a pro­duc­tive spell in the 1970s be­fore bridg­ing 31 years to add to their col­lec­tion in 2014 on a vic­tory over Tul­lylease be­fore ac­count­ing for Ban­teer.

Hold­ers of five league ac­co­lades, Ban­teer have re­served some of their best per­for­mances in league fi­nals par­tic­u­larly the back to back tri­umphs from 2011/2. How­ever, their last two league fi­nal ap­pear­ances ended in dis­ap­point­ment after con­sec­u­tive de­feats (2015/16) to Kil­brin.

Two of the more con­sis­tent sides in this hurl­ing league adds in­ter­est and re­spec­tive semi fi­nal wins over Kil­brin and Drom­tar­iffe in games of sway­ing for­tunes will surely sharper up both out­fits. There is enor­mous po­ten­tial in both New­mar­ket and Ban­teer and if the pair play up to scratch, then pa­trons are guar­an­teed an en­ter­tain­ing hour’s hurl­ing.

Not easy to pick a win­ner, Ban­teer are reign­ing JAHC ti­tle hold­ers and if they pos­sess the hunger to re­verse the league fi­nal de­feat of 2016, they might be good enough to shade the spoils.

Pho­tos by John Tar­rant

TOP: Kil­shan­nig’s Andy Houri­gan gets the slio­thar away against Mill­street in the North Cork Rebel Og U-12 AI Hurl­ing League Fi­nal BE­LOW: The Kil­shan­nig team cel­e­brate their win

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