NEWCASTLEWEST WERE CROWNED LIMERICK SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONS FOR THE THIRD SUCCESSIVE YEAR.
Newcastlewest 3-5 Adare 0-13
A tense encounter between Newcastlewest and Adare in the Limerick SFC final resulted in the former securing their third crown in as many years last Sunday.
Adare contributed to a nip and tuck encounter, but goals won the day in a rainy afternoon in the TUS Gaelic Grounds.
The victors have now won four out of the last five titles, with this year’s triumph being their seventh overall.
Jimmy Lee’s charges are joint fifth in the all-time Limerick SFC winners’ list, along with Glin and Dromcollogher/Broadford.
Despite being sizable favourites coming into the game, it didn’t start well for Newcastlewest, as they went 0-6 to 0-1 down inside 20 minutes.
Eoin Hurley gave them the lead with a free, but Hugh Bourke hit two in row for Adare.
Ronan Connolly, Robbie Bourke, David Connolly and Hugh Bourke added to that as Adare were in the driving seat early doors.
Hurley split the posts with another free to stop the Adare points rush before the holders’ first score from play came.
Mike McMahon took a shot which looked to be dropping short, but Hurley ghosted into the danger zone to fist the ball into the net.
Jack English responded with a point for Adare who looked to be heading to the dressing rooms with a lead until Hurley struck for goal again.
The corner forward received the ball from Sean Murphy after great build up play before firing it in past Jeffrey Alfred, giving Newcastlewest a 2-2 to 0-7 lead at half time.
Hugh Bourke levelled it up for Adare at the start of the second spell with a free, but parity was only brief.
Bryan Nix slipped while approaching goal but kicked the ball just in time to strike the net and Newcastlewest got their third goal of the game, 3-2 to 0-8.
Adare responded well with Hugh Bourke converting another free, but Michael O’Leary cancelled that out with Newcastlewest’s third point.
Hurley then hit another score to increase the gap to four with 20 minutes to go.
Adare’s resilience was talked about in the lead up to the final and the showed that in spades in the closing stages with the challengers scoring four of the last five points to produce a late rally.
Goalkeeper Jeffrey Alfred kicked off the late scoring spree with a converted long range free before Hugh Bourke added another shortly afterwards.
Newcastlewest’s Hurley and Adare talisman Bourke traded points before Adare keeper Alfred hit another score.
After a tense final moments in holding possession, pure jubilation arrived for the Newcastlewest followers and the three in a row was accomplished.
A fantastic achievement by Jimmy Lee’s side who thoroughly deserved their triumph.
The county champions now test themselves against Tipperary champions Clonmel Commercials in the Munster SFC Quarter Final in Semple Stadium, Thurles next Sunday.
Newcastlewest: Michael Quilligan, Mike O’Keeffe, Darren O’Doherty, Michael O’Leary, Ruadhan O’Connor, James Kelly (Steven Brosnan ’49), Brian O’Sullivan, Iain Corbett (Seamus Hurley 46’), Sean Murphy, Aaron Neville (Brian Foley 60’), Emmett Rigter, Bryan Nix, Eoin Hurley, Mike McMahon, Thomas Quilligan (Lee Woulfe 55’).
Adare: Jeffrey Alfred, Cian Sparling, David Connolly, Jack Fitzgerald, Ronan Connolly, Shane Doherty, Paul Maher, Jack English (Josh Twomey 45’), Joe Sweeney, Shane Costello, Robbie Bourke, Davey Lyons, Shane O’Connor, Hugh Bourke, Adam Canny (Willie Griffin 46’).