U21s Cross Bridge To Last Four

Newmarket-on-Fergus secured their place in the last four of the Clare U21 A Hurling Championship with a two point win over rivals Sixmilebridge following extra time.

Newmarket-on-Fergus 3-09
Sixmilebridge 2-10
Venue: Gurteen

It was an early start for this 11:30am throw-in on Sunday morning and spectators that made the short journey to Gurteen certainly got their money’s worth having paid the €5 entrance with two evenly matched teams refusing to give the other an inch over eighty minutes of hurling.

A David McNamara free from forty five metres took a deflection off a Sixmilebridge defender to elude goalkeeper Jason Loughnane and give the Blues a massive lift eight minutes into the tie. They were brought down to earth moments later when they lost Liam O’Connor to injury but they managed to find another gear which proved decisive.

Greg Collins increased Newmarket’s lead to seven points on twenty one minutes only for Tiarnan Agnew to flick the sliotar to the back of the net at the other end subsequent to that. This along with earlier frees from Colm Fitzgerald left three points between the sides at half-time.

McNamara picked up his second green flag in the opening moments of the second half only for Sixmilebridge to hit 1-04 without reply to force the game to extra-time, Agnew once more struck for goal.

In extra time the Blues scored four points in comparison to Sixmilebridge’s two with an excellent effort from Malachy Noonan the standout score of the additional time. After being caught once, Newmarket didn’t let the lead slip a second time to pick up their first win at U21 since 2012.

Sixmilebridge were favourites heading into the tie, the underdog suited Newmarket who put in an impressive showing despite throwing away a nine point lead. They now await the winners of Inagh/Kilnamona and Wolfe Tones in the last four.

Newmarket-on-Fergus: Jack O’Connor; Conor McCarthy, Colin Guilfoyle, Alan O’Flanagan; Patrick Duggan, Liam O’Connor, Paudie McMahon; John Feehily, James McMahon; Greg Collins, Cathal Finucane, James Freeman; David McNamara, Cathal Hayes, Malachy Noonan. Subs: Jordan Collins for L O’Connor (10) (Inj), PJ Enright for J McMahon (60) (Inj).

Sixmilebridge: Jason Loughnane; Jordan Downes, Oisin Fitzpatrick, Christy Carey; Seanie Murray, Cathal Lynch, Aidan Whelan; Pa Mulready, Cillian Custy; Ciaran Hassett, Ronan Cahill, Colm Fitzgerald; Gavin Whyte, Paul Corry, Tiarnan Agnew. Subs: Lorcan Fitzpatrick, Charlie Carmody, Eoin Flynn.

Referee: Ambrose Heagney (Corofin)

PIC: Conor McCarthy & Gavin Whyte compete for possession. (C) Martin Connolly

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