Fine shooting from Hickey gives Newcastle edge in close encounter

County JFC ‘A’ quarter final

County JFC ‘A’ quarter final

Newcastle 0-10

Arravale Rovers 1-6

Points either side of half time from Barry Hickey helped Newcastle overcome a half time deficit and edge out Arravale Rovers by a single point in the County JFC ‘A’ quarter final at Cahir on Sunday. A Pearse Richardson goal in the 18th minute put Arravale into a four point lead, 1-3 to 0-2, but a spirited Newcastle put in a great second quarter to trail by just a point at the break, 1-4 to 0-6, the last point fisted over by Hickey from a Brian Sweeney free.

Conor Kissane extended the Arravale lead one minute into the second but then a Newcastle purple patch sealed the win.

Hickey cancelled out Kissane’s point within thirty seconds with a superb kick, Andrew Fitzapatrick tied the scores in the 5th minute and sixty seconds later Hickey put Newcastle in front for the first time, 0-9 to 1-5, with another great kick.

The Tipperary town side managed to tie the scores again through Johnny Lowry in a fluctuating second half but a Brian Sweeney free after a foul on Diarmuid Devanney restored the lead on 23 minutes.

Seven minutes of normal time plus nearly four of added time meant plenty of frayed nerves before the end as both sides tried to add to their score but lack of composure on the ball and some poor shooting at either end meant the umpires weren’t troubled.

Rovers were the guiltier in the shooting stakes with some dreadful misses but they weren’t helped by the departure through injury of their top marksman Conor Kissane – and his free taking was particularly missed after he left the field.

Newcastle rode their luck as they held on for a win they just about deserved. Greater use of their bench in the heavy conditions probably helped while they also carried more threat up front.

Barry Hickey and Andrew Fitzapatrick led the way with three each from play, Daniel Kennedy chipped in with two while both Tommy Sweeney and John McCarra looked sharp when introduced while Diarmuid Devanney was always threatening when breaking from midfield.

The sides were level at 0-1 and 0-2 apiece in the first ten minutes, two Kissane frees for Rovers and Andrew Fitzapatrick and Daniel Kennedy for Arravale. A third Kissane free edged Rovers ahead in the 14th minute and it could have been worse for Newcastle were it not for a great save by goalkeeper Darren Goonan from David Cleary a minute later.

Goonan made another great block in the 18th minute from Pearse Richardson when the Arravale man was put straight through on goal but the ball rebounded to Richardson who rounded Goonan to shoot to an empty net.

But instead of inspiring Rovers to kick on, the goal energised Newcastle and they outscored the West Tipp side four to one up to half time, from Fitzpatrick (2, one a free), Kennedy and Hickey, to a Kissane free for Rovers.

The impact of Kissane’s eventual departure can be seen after he scored the first point of the second half – he had scored all Rovers’ five points to then and the side managed just one after that from Lowry

The Newcastle scoring threat was better spread and they also moved the ball with more fluency, even if some careless passing saw promising moves break down.

The early second half points from Hickey (2) and Fitzapatrick turned the tie in their favour and their greater endeavour was eventually rewarded with the winning free from Brian Sweeney.

However both management teams must have been exasperated with the poor shooting in the closing stages, moreso Arravale as they tried to force extra time, with Tommy O’Dwyer and Fintan Ryan both badly off target in added time.

Newcastle have something to build on for the semi-final after fine performances from Darren Goonan in goal, Thomas O’Dwyer, Brian Sweeney and Cormac Flynn in defence, Diarmuid Devaney at midfield and Barry Hickey, Andrew Fitzpatrick and Daniel Kennedy up front.

Conor Kissane had been an influential figure for Arravale before his departure while others to perform well were Tony Byrnes and James Mulhaire in defence, Pearse Richardson took his goal well while Johnny Lowry, David Cleary and Darragh Coughlan tried hard upfront.

Newcastle – Darren Goonan, Niall Morrissey, Thomas O’Dwyer, Emmet Prendergast, James Fitzpatrick, Brian Sweeney 0-1 free; Cormac Flynn, Conor Grant, Diarmuid Devanney, Barry Hickey 0-3; Michael Kennedy, Brian Hyland, Andrew Fitzpatrick 0-4, 0-1 free; James Lonergan, Daniel Kennedy 0-2. Subs Tommy Sweeney for Kennedy, John McCarra for Lonergan, Alan Sweeney for Grant, Caoimhin McGrath for Hickey.

Arravale Rovers – Paul O’Connor, Richie Lohan, Sean Spillane, Gary O’Callaghan, Tony Byrnes, James Mulhaire, Tommy O’Dwyer, Pearse Richardson 1-0; Ciaran Lowry, Darragh Coughlan, Gerard O’Dwyer, Conor Kissane 0-5, 0-4 frees; Fintan Ryan, David Cleary, Johnny Lowry 0-1. Sub – Diarmuid O’Donnell for Kissane.

Referee– Sean Lonergan.