In a must win encounter for both sides Ballyea showed the greater hunger to come good against an underwhelming Newmarket side that finished with fourteen men.
By Jamesy Mc Conigley
Venue: O’Garney Park, Sixmilebridge
The poor weather conditions didn’t concern either side as they both fought intensely for the desirable last 12 spot. Former Hurler of the year, Tony Kelly was in buoyant mood as he fired over eight points for as he led the Ballyea challenge.
Newmarket who only won three competitive matches this calendar year needed to answer their critics in a windy Sixmilebridge and they failed to do so. Tony Kelly gave a stellar display scoring four points in the first half while Damien Burke and Niall Deasy chipped in with further points to extend Ballyea’s lead. Not for Colin Ryan, Ballyea would have been further ahead but his free’s kept the Blues in close contention as they trailed 0-06 0-04 at half-time.
Five minutes into the second half, the game was tainted by controversy, Rory Hickey brandished a red card to Darren Duggan when he allegedly struck Ballyea’s corner back Joe Neylon. Ballyea weren’t in the frame of mind to let up and Kelly knocked over a close range free for Robbie Hogan’s men to widen the gap to four.
Newmarket tried everything to get back on level terms but their best wasn’t sufficiently enough and Ballyea march onto the next round while the Blues face into a dog fight in the relegation play-off.g)
Ballyea: Kevin Sheehan; Brian Murphy, Joe Neylon, Brian Carrig; Gearoid O’Connell, Jack Browne, Paul Flannagan; Tony Kelly, Stan Lineen; James Murphy, Gary Brennan, Damien Burke; Niall Deasy, Eoghan Donnellan, Patjoe Connolly. Subs Pearse Lillis (0-1) for Donnellan (37 mins), David Egan for Connolly (58 mins).
Scorers: Tony Kelly (0-08 4F), Niall Deasy, Damien Burke, Eoghan Donnellan and Pearse Lillis (0-01 each).
Newmarket-on-Fergus: Ronan McCormack, Shane O’Brien, Stephen Kelly, Liam O’Connor; Sean O’Connor (0-01), Enda Barrett, James McInerney; Niall O’Connor, Eoin O’Brien; Alan Barrett, Eoin Hayes (0-01), Mikey McInerney; Darren Duggan, David Barrett (0-01), Colin Ryan (0-04 3f 1’65). Subs: Shane O’Brien Snr for Hayes (37 mins), James Liddy for A. Barrett (52 mins), Ronan Good for M. McInerney (56 mins, inj)
Referee: Rory Hickey (Éire Óg)