Newcastle survive late scare to edge out Coolboy
NEWCASTLE survived a late scare and a poor start to pip Coolboy by a point and get their Junior A championship campaign off to the perfect start.
They led by five points with ten minutes to go, 2-09 to 1-07, but Jonathan Smyth converted a penalty with five to go to set up an exciting finish.
Coolboy started really well with a point within twenty seconds. They won the throw in and one PJ fed the other, with PJ O’Keeffe finding PJ Mulhall for the opening score. Simplicity personified.
By the sixth minute they had another two points on the board, Mulhall with a free and Liam Nolan breaking the ball to David Tighe for the third.
Coolboy’s tackling was very good in this period while some terrible Newcastle passing contributed to the ball being turned over frequently and Coolboy dominating possession.
In the twelfth minute Coolboy got their first goal. Garret Gregan ran down the side line and kicked a hopeful ball in around the square. Adam Doyle was at the end of it to flick it into the net.
It looked like Coolboy would waltz to victory, yet they wouldn’t score again for fourteen minutes, by which time Newcastle were level.
Warren Merriman kicked over a free, Philip O’Connor took his time to eventually pull the trigger and split the posts while Robert O’Gara fisted over the third point when the Coolboy defence fell asleep and let him steal in behind their cover.
Moments later, in the 20th minute, it was 1-03 each. Coolboy’s corner back Niall O’Keeffe went down injured and before his treatment was finished referee Anthony Nolan waved for play to resume.
Newcastle won possession and the excellent Shane Magee sensed a chance with his marker down. Magee got the ball and drew James Gregan before passing to Merriman for the goal.
It was all Newcastle at this stage, for about ten minutes the ball didn’t go past their 45 metre line. However they couldn’t capitalise. Midfielder Oisin Doyle snuck into space unmarked but wouldn’t shoot while Shane Cloake intercepted a poor Damien O’Keeffe pass only to hit the post and then go wide with the rebound.
Coolboy made Newcastle pay for their profligacy with a point from Garret Gregan to take the lead though Merriman converted his second free to equalise and the sides went in level at half time, 1-04 each.
Coolboy once again started the second half well, Jonathan Smyth blasting a shot over the bar when bearing down on goal. Newcastle responded instantly through Robert O’Gara.
Garret Gregan put Coolboy back into the lead only for Newcastle to reel off three points in a row, Merriman with two frees and O’Gara with his third.
Smyth pulled one back with an excellent effort for Coolboy before Shane Magee won a poor ball in front of his man and wrestled his way into a shooting position to restore the two point lead.
Magee only scored one point but contributed to another 1-03 for his team, winning three of Merriman’s frees and creating their first goal in an impressive performance by the corner forward.
They scored the second goal shortly afterwards, in the 44th minute.
Full forward Cloake required two attempts to score but that he did and Newcastle led by 2-09 to 1-07. They were on top at this stage but, like in the first half, they couldn’t extend their lead as the wide count grew.
PJ Mulhall pulled a point back in the 51st minute and then Barry Minogue pulled down Sean Maher for a penalty. Minogue had a good game as a sticky corner back but his black card added to an earlier yellow meant he didn’t finish the game. Jonathan Smyth finished off the penalty and there was only a point between the teams with five minutes to go.
Again Newcastle had a couple of chances go abegging until substitute Graham O’Brien showed nerves of steel to pop over an awesome point and put two between the teams with two minutes to play.
Michael Gregan kicked over a free from 14 metres deep into injury time in the knowledge there was time for one last chance for Coolboy from the kick out.
They won the kick out and won a free just inside the 45, a difficult kick PJ Mulhall decided not to take on. Instead he went short to a teammate who dropped the ball into the square. Newcastle were able to fist it away however and the final whistle was blown.
Scorers – Newcastle: Warren Merriman (4f) 1-04; Shane Cloake 1-00; Robert O’Gara 0-03; Philip O’Connor, Shane Magee, Graham O’Brien 0-01 each.
Coolboy: Jonathan Smyth (1-00 pen) 1-02; PJ Mulhall (1f) 0-03; Adam Doyle 1-00; Garret Gregan 0-02; Michael Gregan (1f). David Tighe 0-01 each. NEWCASTLE: Ian Lucey; Barry Minogue, Ciaran Doyle, Colm Yeoman; Sean Ryder, Ruairi Farrell, Christian Mulligan; Oisin Doyle, Neil Yeoman; Dylan Forde, Robert O’Gara, Philip O’Connor; Shane Magee, Shane Cloake, Warren Merriman. Subs: Darren Gammell for Oisin Doyle (HT); Kyle Sheridan for Colm Yeoman (43 mins); Ryan Heffernan for Warren Merriman, Graham O’Brien for Shane Cloake (both 57 mins); Paul Magee for Sean Ryder (61 mins, inj.).
COOLBOY: Damien O’Keeffe; James Gregan, Anthony Holly, Niall O’Keeffe; Garret Gregan, Dan Nolan, Aaron Kinsella; Brendan Behan, Michael Gregan; Jonathan Smyth, PJ O’Keeffe, David Tighe; Adam Doyle, Liam Nolan, PJ Mulhall. Subs: Enda Gethings for Niall O’Keeffe (20 mins, inj.); Bradley Walsh for Adam Doyle (41 mins); Sean Maher for David Tighe (45 mins).
REFEREE: Anthony Nolan