Newtown lament Mad’ finish

by Dave Donnelly
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FAI Intermediate cup
Newtown Rangers 2

Newtown Rangers manager Glenn Madden admitted his side ‘never really got going’ as they bowed out of the FAI Intermediate Cup with a 3-2 home defeat to UCC on Sunday.

The Students were full value for their win in Baltic conditions at Farrell Park, having led twice before Matthew McKevitt popped up with a last-minute winner.

Newtown twice hauled themselves back into the game thanks to Alan Greenalgh and Brian Malee after McKevitt’s opener and a second-half strike from Rob Slevin.

Nevertheless, the tie appeared to be headed to a replay in Cork when McKevitt lined up a shot from range that shouldn’t have beaten Paddy Whelan but squirmed under the keeper’s body.

It was no less than the former Waterford underage striker deserved for an outstanding all-round performance as UCC’s front three terrorised Newtown’s back three.

McKevitt started and finished the move that led to the opener shortly before the break, flicking a long ball to Owen Collins before collecting the return ball and finishing smartly in the corner.

Newtown got a fortunate equaliser soon afterwards, however, as Greenalgh’s left-wing cross beat netminder David Coffey, hit the post and rebounded into the net off the keeper’s head.

UCC regained the lead within three minutes of the resumption as a free kick was flicked into the path of centre-half Slevin, and he nodded the ball into the net.

Once again, Newtown hit back within minutes and won a penalty when Lee Murtagh’s shot was handled by Slevin, and defender Malee came up from the back to send Coffey the wrong way.

UCC continued to create the better chances in the closing stages and got their reward as the clock ticked towards 90 when Whelan misjudged McKevitt’s effort from distance.

“We were nowhere near the levels we should have been at,” a disappointed Madden told the Dublin Gazette. “Maybe three or four lads turned up and some of the big-game players didn’t.

“Maybe they caught us off the hop a little bit. I still think we should have been able to deal with it. We were simply off it at the back, where it’s been one of our stronger areas the past few weeks.”

Focus now turns to the league where, despite sitting fourth from bottom, Madden feels they have a good chance of promotion to the top tier with the likes of Carl Wynne fit again.

“The league would be our main focus and hopefully we can push to our aim, which is promotion. We probably won’t win it – Maynooth are a bit ahead – but promotion is what we’re looking at.”

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