Newcastle lose their way in second half

County Junior Football A Championship Semi-Final

County Junior Football A Championship Semi-Final

Borrisokane 2-9

Newcastle 1-6

Newcastle were easily defeated by Borrisokane in a free-ridden County Junior A Football Championship semi-final played at Holycross last Sunday.

Scoring just one point in the second half, the South champions’ challenge faded after they led at the interval. To make matters worse they finished the game with 14 men when midfielder, Donal Devaney was sent off after receiving a second yellow card in the 46th minute.

Newcastle, despite playing with the stiff breeze, received the worst start when they trailed Borrisokane 1-1 to no score after just three minutes with wing back, Seosamh Cleary grabbing the opening point for the north men, closely followed by a brilliant Shane Dooley goal.

However Newcastle began to settle down. Brian Sweeney and Thomas Sweeney started to control the defence while Conor Grant and Donal Devaney were well involved at midfield. Daniel Kennedy caused a lot of trouble in attack but Newcastle failed to nail a score until the 10th minute while conceding another point to Borris after Philip Austin pointed a 9th minute free.

Newcastle’s first point arrived when Andrew Fitzpatrick scored after taking a good pass from Daniel Kennedy. Borris hit back with a Tadhg Slevin point.

The 5-point deficit didn’t inhibit Newcastle and, bit by bit, they regained lost ground, first helped by a bit of luck when Barry Hickey’s effort for a point deceived Borris netminder, Shane Stapleton and the ball finished up in the back of the net.

The goal gave Newcastle added confidence but South Tipp champions had to wait until the 20th minute for their next score when a good move involving Daniel Kennedy, Caoimhin McGrath and Conor Grant saw Grant winning a foul, leaving Barry Hickey the task of converting the resulting free.

Four minutes later Hickey added a free to level matters after Andrew Fitzpatrick was fouled in the 24th minute before the same players were involved in the lead point when a quick free by Hickey put an unmarked Fitzpatrick through to score.

Newcastle failed to increase their lead despite continuous pressure and at the other end Philip Austin was well off target with a close-range free. That was a let-off for Newcastle and they made the most of the opportunity when Alan Sweeney scored a point in added time to leave the half time scoreline reading Newcastle 1-5 Borrisokane 1-3.

Signs of an uphill battle for Newcastle became evident from early in the second half. Philip Austin atoned for his earlier miss with a pointed free two minutes into the half and two minutes later he had the teams level with a similar score. One minute later the Tipperary centre forward was in possession again when he sent a brilliant left-footed effort over the bar from 45 metres.

Newcastle had no answer to the Borrisokane star who had good support from Shane Dooley, Tadgh Slevin and Gordon Harding, while Enda Forde’s arrival at half-time was added value, matching the workrate of fellow midfielder Andrew Austin.

As a result the Newcastle defence had a tough task and in the 11th minute Philip Austin was on the move again before striking a great point from the right wing, which was almost similar to his previous score.

A quick free from Austin to Brian Davis saw the Tipp captain take a return pass before landing another brilliant score, this time with his right foot. Newcastle’s kickout was intercepted by Shane Dooley, who surged forward to draw the Newcastle cover before passing to Gordon Harding, who in turn found Tadhg Slevin who fired low to the Newcastle net.

The goal was to prove decisive and there would be no more scores for the next 14 minutes. Both sides continued to create chances but each set of defenders held firm. To add to Newcastle’s woes they had Diarmuid Devaney dismissed.

The game lost its mojo at this stage and there were no further scores until Philip Austin pointed in the 59th minute after a one-two move with Tadhg Slevin. Deep into injury time, Newcastle had their first point of the second half thanks to Barry Hickey. It was too little too late.

Scorers: Borrisokane - P Austin 0-7 (0-3 frees); T Slevin 1-1; S Dooley 1-0; S Cleary 0-1.

Newcastle - B Hickey 1-3 (0-2 frees); A Fitzpatrick 0-3.

Borrisokane - Shane Stapleton; Cathal Dooley, Rob Davis, Seamus Moriarty; Seosamh Cleary, Peter McSharry, Shane Nevin; Andrew Austin, Gordon Harding; Brian Davis, Philip Austin, Gary Power; Shane Dooley, Tadhg Slevin, Brian Donnelly.

Substitutes - Enda Forde for Donnelly (half-time); Conor Darcy for Power (52 minutes); Enda Brennan for Harding (58 minutes); Robert Davis for C Dooley (59 minutes).

Newcastle - Darren Goonan; Niall Morrissey, Thomas O’Dwyer (captain), Emmet Prendergast; James Fitzpatrick, Brain Sweeney, Cormac Flynn; Conor Grant, Diarmuid Devaney; Barry Hickey, Michael Kennedy, Brian Hyland; Andrew Fitzpatrick, James Lonergan, Daniel Kennedy.

Substitutes - Alan Sweeney for Flynn (6 minutes); Caoimhin McGrath for M Kennedy (11 minutes); Tommy Sweeney for Lonergan (20 minutes); Johnny Hallinan for D Kennedy (55 minutes); John McCarra for Prendergast (59 minutes).

Referee- Paddy Russell (Emly).