By Derek Kiely
Cork County Premier Intermediate Hurling Championship
Youghal 1-12 Newcestown 2-09
When the dust settles and everyone has had time to draw their breath, maybe a draw was a fair result in the end and only for two errors in judgement, Youghal could have found themselves in the County Final .
Then on the other side of the coin, four late wides from Newcestown could mean that this could be Youghal's year, one thing is for certain we are going to have a minimum of 60 minutes more hurling to see who will make it through and Youghal showed enough, courage and belief in the second half in particular to convince me that they are by far the better hurling side.
Youghal played with a significant wind at their backs in the first half, but early scores were as rare as hens teeth for the Eochaill Gaels and it was Newcestown who took the early lead with two scores in the third minute from Fionn Keane and Cathrach Keane.
Youghal's first white flag came of the stick of Brendan Ring from play, but back came Newcestown with a score from their most impressive player Eoin Kelly from play on the sixth minute.
Youghal narrowed the deficit to just a single point sixty seconds later, when man of the match Damien Ring struck over from 65 yards off a placed ball.
Then a moment of misjudgement by the Youghal keeper let Kelly in for a goal and Youghal had to re-build again.
Re-build they did and in some style too on the 14th minute when from the '21' Leigh Desmond slotted home a beautifully struck shot passed a wall of Newcwestown players into the top right hand corner of the net , to just leave a point between the sides again.
After a long period of play, Youghal were level on the 20th minute when Brendan Ring fired over a free, but instantly and lets not forget into the wind Newcestown moved the ball back up to the 'City End' goal and Hugh Curran pointed to re-gain the lead.
This game was hotting up now and back came Youghal with a very well worked move down the right wing, where Bill Cooper hand passed the ball back to Andrew Curtin on the Newcestown '45' and the Youghal number five made no mistake with the shot sending the ball over and the match level again.
End to end stuff in the opening half Newcestown who cleverly dropped two forwards back into the centre of the field in the first half scored two points without reply, off Kelly and Curran. Youghal needed to respond before half time and with just two minutes remaining Brendan Ring was on target again with a free to leave the narrowest of margins, then a minute later the sides were level for the third time when Bill Cooper was on target.
Eoin Kelly did have the last say ahead of the short whistle with a pointed free for Newcestown and the talk during half time in the main stand, was all about how would Youghal cope with the Newcestown attack, especially as they had the wind at their backs for the final 30 mins.
Peter Queally must be some half time team talker, because the side that re-emerged were 100% better than the team that went in at half time.
Immediately Youghal's movement and anticipation was excellent and within 90 seconds Andrew Curtin had the sides level yet again with another well taken score from play.
It was going to take an almighty effort from the Youghal defence in this game playing into the elements and it must be said that Barry Ring, Barry Goggin and Conor Spillane were outstanding throughout the second half and they needed to be if Youghal were going to have any hope.
Youghal took the lead for the very first time in this match on the 36th minute following a point from Brett Moloney who had a very good match in Lar Na Pairca.
Newcestown responded from Mikey Bradfield with a score, but then for the next 14 minutes it was all Youghal. Andrew Curtin had his third score from play seconds later, then Brendan Ring had a further two scores, one from a free and the other from play in a cleverly worked one-two off a quick '65'with Brett Moloney.
Brendan Coleman added a further score from play and with just twelve minutes remaining Youghal led by a significant four points, then after a fourteen minute gap since the fourth minute of the second half, Fionn Keane reduced Youghal's Lead to just a goal.
With four minutes to go after a savage seven minutes of play Youghal gave away their second sloppy goal, making the last few minutes very difficult, but credit the Youghal men who fought valiantly to the final whistle and now a semi final replay awaits Peter and his Eochaill Gaels.
Scorers for Youghal:Brendan Ring 0-5 (3f) Leigh Desmond 1-0, Andrew Curtin 0-3, Damien Ring, Brett Moloney, Bill Cooper and Brendan Coleman 0-1 each.
Scorers for Newcestown: Eoin Kelly 2-3, Fionn Keane and Hugh Curran 0-2 each, M Bradfield and Cathrach Keane 0-1 each.
YOUGHAL: Richard Cunningham; Brendan O'Sullivan, Kenneth Walsh, Barry Ring; Barry Goggin, Conor Spillane (Cpt) Damien Ring; Brett Moloney, Nigel Roche; Ciarain O'Mahony, Bill Cooper, Brendan Coleman; Andrew Curtin, Leigh Desmond, Brendan Ring.
Substitutes: James O'Mahony for Ciarain O'Mahony (Half Time) Ken Dempsey for Andrew Curtin (52)
NEWCESTOWN: Jim Sullivan; Odhran Keane, John Crowley, Kevin Long; Barry Horgan, Niall O'Sullivan, Gerard O'Driscoll; Daniel Twomey, Gearoid Burke; Fionn Keane, Tadgh Twomey (Cpt) Hugh Curran; Mikey Bradfield, Cathrach Keane, Eoin Kelly.
Substitutes:Seany Ryan for Mikey Bradfield (43)
Referee: Colm Lyons (Nemo Rangers)
Man of the Match: No question it was Damien Ring. Rings complete and total dominance of the half back line was incredible. He was fouled on numerous occasions but got up and got on with it, even though there was plenty positives to take away from the game, the most positive was the performance of the Youghal number 7.
Games top Score: Definitely Leigh Desmond's 14th minute rocket into the top right hand corner of the Newcestown Net, it came at a crucial time and without Leigh s goal the Youghal side at that time in the game looked in a small bit of trouble.