Senior Football Championship Final: NEWCASTLE WEST END 23 YEAR WAIT IN STYLE

Newcastle West Celebrate Photo John Mortell (2) County Senior Football Final - NCW v Drom/Broadford

Newcastle West Celebrate
County Senior Football Final NCW v Drom/Broadford


NEWCASTLE WEST………………………………..2-10
Twenty-three years of frustration and heartbreak finally came to an end for the senior footballers of Newcastle West at Páirc Mhic Ghearáilt, Kilmallock, on Sunday evening when they finally overcame neighbours and great rivals Drom-Broadford in the 2015 Limerick Senior Football Championship Final.

It was the big ball exponents from the county town’s fifth tilt, including replays, with their neighbours in senior deciders and it was a first victory and will surely rank up there with the finest the club has experienced in its proud history.
Kilmallock was a cauldron on Sunday afternoon with an electric atmosphere as an attendance of 1,643 were treated to an hour of highly charged, high intensity football from Mike Quilligan’s side who had  removed all doubts about the destination of the Fr. Casey Cup for the next twelve months long before referee Donal Enright brought proceedings to an end.
Newcastle West made an explosive start and launched a swathe of attacks from the throw in, putting the Drom-Broadford defence under all sorts of pressure and racked up five points before the seven times champions finally got off the mark.
It is measure of the mastery enjoyed by Quilligan’s side that they conceded just four points in the first half and over the course of the game just three from open play.
Stephen Kelly won his first county senior medal and with it the hearts of the large attendance with a superb Man of the Match performance. Kelly was central to everything, pulling all the strings like a master puppeteer and capped a memorable performance with a  memorable goal. It was a day when every Newcastle West man, to a man, stood up and, inspired by the leadership of Kelly, captain Steven Nix, Iain Corbett, Cian Sheehan and Jamie Lee, they clinically demolished Drom-Broadford’s ambition of an eighth title in fifteen years.
Drom-Broadford introduced Gary Egan at half time and he shadowed Kelly and reduced his influence somewhat but the damage had been done. Micheál Reidy’s side did not enjoy the best of luck on the day as a unfortunate accidental clash between two of his big men Jason Stokes and Michael O’Sullivan left both needing treatment and temporary replacements. Both returned but Stokes had to succumb to the injury and left the fray before half time and his loss was felt.
Drom-Broadford will be first to concede that on Sunday they were out run, out thought by a side showing an insatiable hunger and whose work rate was enormous throughout the game. During Drom-Broadford’s spell of dominance after half time, Newcastle West’s work rate was seen at its best when they were without the ball as they closed everything down and made the path to John Joe Sheehy’s goal an arduous one.
Newcastle West started at a frenetic pace and were 0-3 to 0-0 up after three minutes courtesy of a James Kelly opener and a Thomas Quilligan double. Stephen Kelly and Mike O’Leary had extended the opening blitz to five before Killian Phair finally got Drom-Broadford off the mark on fifteen minutes from a free.
On 16 minutes the game took a decisive turn after Stephen Kelly meandered through the Drom-Broadford defence and crackled home a great goal worthy of winning any final and now Drom-Broadford found themselves seven behind and a mountain to climb.
Killian Phair pared a point off the deficit and Stephen Kelly and Seánie Buckley traded points as Newcastle West held a vice like grip on matters.
Jamie Lee stretched the lead to seven before former county colleagues Kelly and Buckley again traded points to leave Newcastle West in a very healthy position, 1-8 to 0-4, as the sides trooped off at half time.
Scores were not very plentiful in the third quarter which was Drom-Broadford’s best spell of the match with Seánie Buckley winning a lot of possession around the middle. They slowly gnawed away at the deficit and points from Derry McCarthy, Killian Phair and Patrick Donnelly reduced the margin to four, 1-8 to 0-7, with sixteen minutes remaining appeared to be setting up a grandstand finish.
All the losers’ good work was undone on the 44th minute after Mike McMahon knocked the ball into the path of Jamie Lee who crashed an unstoppable shot past Gearóid Greaney.
Jamie Lee kicked over on 48 minutes to open up a seven point gap and also shut the door on Drom-Broadford. Newcastle West were now happy to play down the clock with the last twelve minutes yielding just and exchange of points between Killian Phair and Sean McAuliffe as the magpies closed in on the club’s third County Senior Football Championship title.
Next up for the new champions is a trip to Clonmel to face the Premier County kingpins for 2015 Clonmel Commercials in the Munster Clubs Champion-ship on Sunday week.
Scorers: Newcastle West: Stephen Kelly 1-3; Jamie Lee 1-2, 1f; Thomás Quilligan 0-2; James Kelly, Mike O’Leary, Sean McAuliffe 0-1 each.
Drom-Broadford: Killian Phair 0-5, 5f; Seanie Buckley 0-2; Derry McCarthy, Patrick Donnelly free 0-1 each.
Newcastle West: John Joe Sheehy; Mike O’Keeffe, Brian O’Sullivan, Seán Brown; Mike O’Leary, Steven Nix (captain), Paul Hannan; Cian Sheehan, Iain Corbett; Thomas Quilligan, Stephen Kelly, Stephen Brosnan; James Kelly, Mike McMahon, Jamie Lee.
Subs: Seán McAuliffe for O’Leary (50), Brian Doherty for Qulligan (51), Mike Quilligan for Lee (57), Gavin Riedy for Brosnan (58), Donnacha Woods for McMahon (60).
Drom-Broadford:  Gearóid Greaney; Darren Boyce, Brian Noonan, Garrett Noonan (captain); Micheál Brosnan, Dee O’Leary, Cillian Fahy; Seánie Buckley, Michael O’Sullivan; Jason Stokes, Patrick Donnelly, Kevin Noonan; Ray Lynch, Killian Phair, Micheál Reidy.
Subs: Derry McCarthy for Stokes (26), Gary Egan for Boyce (HT), Paul Madigan for K. Noonan (50).
Referee: Donal Enright, Dromin-Athlacca.