RESILIENT Newcastle West are back-to-back Limerick senior football champions for the first time in the club’s history.
It follows an epic extra-time victory (1-11 to 2-5) over Adare at Fitzgerald Park, Kilmallock last Sunday.
Mike McMahon (NCW) and Robbie Bourke (Adare) traded goals in the opening-half, after which the holders held a slender one-point advantage.
Shane O’Connor grabbed a three-pointer for Adare in the closing period. The Maiguesiders looked to have earned the winner from Mark Connolly at the death, only for ice-cool Darren O’Doherty to bring an absorbing final into additional time.
“We had to dig it out at the end and did so very well. To be honest, we were damn happy to get into the dressing-room level after normal time,” admitted winning manager Jimmy Lee to Limerick’s Live 95.
“And, the message in there at that stage was to try and drive it on from there, and thankfully they responded accordingly – as I would expect from what are a serious bunch of players.”
He added: “I’m seriously proud of those lads because there was pressure on the players as well. Maybe we didn’t talk about it, but it was out there – on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, the media and all of that – about Newcastle West looking to win back-to-back championships for our very first time.”
A relived Lee, who was also in charge of the club’s hurling side reaching the semi-final of the Premier Championship, concluded: “At the end of it all, we’re extremely happy to have won the final, and if it had gone on any longer, I’m not sure my heart would have stood up to all that pressure.”
Important scores for the Magpies in extra-time came from man of the match Mike McMahon, captain Iain Corbett, and All-Star nominee Cian Sheehan.
Also in celebratory mood are Castlemahon, for whom county hurling ace Séamus Flanagan was prominent, after emerging 3-10 to 0-7 winners over neighbours Feenagh/Kilmeedy to capture the Premier JAFC title in Tournafulla. Seán Downey emerged as a two-goal hero for the winners, with the third arriving from Ciarán O’Sullivan.
Castlemahon meet Shamrocks (Waterford) in the Munster Championship opener on Saturday.