New­cas­tle sur­vive late scare to edge out Cool­boy

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - SPORT -

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

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