Newry’s last game before Christmas seen the Tyrone Towers visit the Abbey Grammar. Through injury, a weakened Newry team battled hard against a very physical Tyrone side. First quarter points from the ever reliable Paul Crawley seen Newry build an early lead. The Towers fought hard to battle back and level the scoring, and two free throws from Michael Walsh seen Newry end the quarter narrowly in front 12-9.
The second quarter was the beginning of the turning of the tie. A heated battle ensued and the foul count rose at a hefty pace. Both teams accumulated team fouls early on. Newry Declan Mathers foolishly acquired three personal fouls within minutes and ruled himself out to the later stages of the game. While the Towers enjoyed the more physical game, our Fliers struggled. Scoring only from free throws, Newry’s lead diminished and the second quarter ended all square 20-20.
Coach Brady rallied the troops with a passionate half time team talk. Newry came into the third with a fire in their bellies. Newry young guns; Campbell, Byrne and Lennon took some of the scoring responsibilities off their captain, and a strong showing from the talented trio seen the Fliers open a commanding lead of 39-30 as the third quarter ended.
It was all or nothing in the fourth as both teams went for. The Towers hit a couple of big three pointers to reduce Newry’s lead. A over physical encounter seen Mathers (Fliers) and Barker (Tower) removed from the game for unsportsman like behaviour. However Newry refused to back down to the now punishing physical game of their oppenents. Newry’s big man Conor ‘Tooms’ Twomey recovered some big defensive rebounds to aid his team’s defence, while being in the right place at the right time on offence to maintain Newry’s lead. A couple of free throws from Crawley saw Newry finish the game with a well-earned 53-46 victory. Match report: Declan Mathers