NEWCASTLE WEST secured their fourth County Football League Division 1 title in a row thanks to a comfortable 2-9 to 0-8 win over St Kierans at Mick Neville Park in Rathkeale on Wednesday evening.
Goals after the break from Mike McMahon and substitute Brian O’Doherty gave Mike Qulligan’s charges the seven-point margin of victory, despite a late fight back from a lacklustre Kierans side.
Newcastle West took full advantage of a strong breeze in the first half to lead 0-5 to 0-3 at half-time.
Failing to take control of possession in the second half, it took Kierans until the 49th minute to score their first point of the half.
This encouraged a late spirited fight back as Kierans came within four points of their near neighbours but a late O’Doherty goal put the game beyond any doubt.
The Magpies’ preparation for the senior football championship final against Oola in two weeks’ times got off to the perfect start when Limerick footballer Jamie Lee put his side ahead within two minutes.
It wasn't until the 14th minute that there was another point scored when Newcastle and Lee got their second of the game.
Lee was cleverly played in by Iain Corbett who did well to create space for his Limerick teammate to slot over.
A minute later another dazzling run by Corbett saw the Newcastle West midfielder put three between the two sides.
Further points from AJ O’Connor (2) were responded by two frees and a point from play as Sean McSweeney eventually got Kierans off the mark.
Kierans had the wind in the second half but were pinned in their own half by a determined Newcastle West side who grabbed the first four scores of the second half.
Lee added to his tally before a Mike Mahon goal and further scores from Thomas Qulligan and Lee made it 1-9 to 0-3.
Credit to the Ardagh men, Kierans didn’t give up and as Newcastle West made several changes, a late Sean McSweeney inspired fight back gave his side a glimmer of hope.
Five points in a row from McSweeney wasn’t enough though as Newcastle West secured the win with a O’Doherty goal as the game ended 1-9 to 0-8 in favour of the county finalists.
NEWCASTLE WEST: Jamie Lee 0-4 (one free); Mike McMahon 1-0; Brian O’Doherty 1-0; Iain Corbett, AJ O’Connor 0-2 each, Thomas Quilligan 0-1 (free)
ST KIERANS: Sean McSweeney 0-8 (three frees, two 45s)
NEWCASTLE WEST: Conor O’Sullivan; Mike O’Keefe, Darren O’Doherty, Michael O’Leary; William Hurley, Darren O’Doherty, Steven Brosnan; Sean Murphy, Iain Corbett; Brian Hurley, AJ O’Connor, Thomas Qulligan (capt.); Eoin Hurley, Mike McMahon, Jamie Lee
SUBS: Diarmuid Kelly for Brian Hurley (40 mins); Lee Woulfe for William Hurley (45 mins); Bryan Nix for Eoin Hurley (50 mins); Donnchadh Woods for Seamus Hurley (52 mins); James Kelly for Mike McMahon (54 mins); Brian O’Doherty for Thomas Qulligan (56 mins)
ST KIERANS: Rob Bradley; Maurice Shine, Diarmuid Mulcahy, Anthony Mullins; Liam Kennedy, Johnny McCarthy, Diarmuid Crowley; Anthony Molyneaux (capt.), Darragh Treacy; Noel Callanan, John Hayes, Ray Cahill; Sean McSweeney, Donie Nolan, Seamus Mangan
SUBS: John Doyle for Donie Nolan (45 mins); Paudie McCarthy for Ray Cahill (50 mins); Kevin Meade for Anthony Mullins (52 mins); Killian Enright for Diarmuid Crowley (52 mins);
Referee: Michael Sexton (Bruee)