Bridge Battle Past Seniors

Clare Cup 10/6/2017
Sixmilebridge 3-13
Newmarket on Fergus 1-15
Venue: Fr Murphy Memorial Park, Newmarket-on-Fergus

By Colm Liddy
Meanwhile, upon the barstools of Ireland, pints were being supped and the anticipation was building. Davy Fitz in a special box and the possibility of a breakthrough in Wexford Park. But all that could wait. First we watched age old rivals, the Blues and Bridge, square up to one another. Both teams were physically committed, both showed skill under pressure but it was the men in yellow who had all the best moves and deserved to prevail.

Within minutes the pattern was set with points for the Bridge’s Mulready and Corry, both at the end of precisely worked passing sequences. ‘Who’s meant to be marking HIM?’ we asked but the problems were beginning further back the field. Overlaps being created, movement off the ball, a man in space able to slot the score easily. After 15 minutes the sides were level at three a piece when the Bridge struck their first hammer blow. Runners coming through saw the Newmarket defence outnumbered and four slick passes later, Corry placed it in the net.

Minutes later Enda Barrett went off injured and in the reshuffle Niall O’Connor moved to centre back. Substitute Paudie McMahon was only seconds on the field when he pointed after a pass from Martin O’Hanlon who had an excellent game. On the opposite wing James Liddy put Colin Ryan through and he too split the posts. Points for the Bridge’s Golden and Alex Morey followed before their second goal. A brilliant strike from Golden, thirty yards out into the top corner. If only someone took a video, it would be a definite on his career highlights reel. A minute later Marty struck his second point before the trading of late frees from Ryan and Alex Morey. Half time SMB 2:6 NOF 0:8

When play resumed Marty stroked over another one but it was cancelled out by Shanahan. Our midfielders began making yardage but ran into traffic when they carried. Long ball into the square was brutally batted away and out again quickly. Ryan scored from play and several long distance frees. Enda Barrett came on again, this time in the forwards, scoring a point immediately but then the Bridge forced a goalmouth scramble at the other end and Malone poked it over the line.

With five minutes to go we trailed by two goals and James Mc landed a monster free into the square. How big was the melee which resulted? Well it prompted the longest continuous bout of whistling that I have ever heard from a referee. It went on and on. Maybe a minute, maybe the better part of two, before the jostling players finally parted. Or perhaps he just ran out of breath. There was a long stoppage as the wounded were tended to and in the aftermath Barrett goaled with a groundstroke.

One goal in it now and the ball dropped into the square once more. Evan Keogh caught it but there was no space and a blockdown was inevitable. The final whistle rang out. Sixmilebridge win 3:13 to 1:16

Much to chew on for Newmarket, tactically. The teams were about equal when it came to the man on man encounters, but not so in system of play. There is promise too of better things when other regulars, rested due to soccer commitments, return.

Still time after all that to make it down to Gilly’s bar for the last 20 minutes of Wexford/Kilkenny, to have a chat with Gilligan himself, and to reflect on matters intercounty. Many have said that surgery is needed on Clare’s Half-forward line and as it happens three of the candidates are Bridge men. From what I saw of Cathal Malone, Jamie Shanahan and Shane Golden, the answer of the trio just maybe the Golden boy

Newmarket on Fergus: Ronan McCormack; Eoin O’Brien, James McInerney, Liam O’Connor; Niall O’Connor, Enda Barrett (1:01), Evan Keogh; Sean O’Connor, Ronan Goode; Colin Guilfoyle, Mike McInerney, Colin Ryan (0.10 (6f, two65)); Shane O’Brien Jr, Martin O’Hanlon (0.03), James Liddy. Subs: Paudie McMahon (0:01) for Barrett (19min). Barrett for O’Brien (45min), James Warren for Goode (60).

Sixmilebridge: Derek Fahy; Noel Purcell, Aidan Quilligan, Cathal Lynch; Caimin Morey, Seadhna Morey, Paidi Fitzpatrick; Kevin Lynch, Pa Mulready (0:03); Cathal Malone (1:00), Alex Morey (0:06 (3f, 1sl)), Jamie Shanahan (0:02); Brian Corry (0:01), Shane Golden (1:01), Gavin Whyte (1:00). Subs: Barry Fitzpatrick for Fitzpatrick, Anthony Liddane for Purcell.

Referee: Ger Hoey (Killanena)

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