How can Newcastle West upset the most successful club team of all time?

This Sunday’s Munster Club quarter final is intriguing in that the Limerick side have been given little chance, despite their impressive run through the county championship.

In the county final, albeit against an Oola side that ever showed up, Newcastle led from start to finish, decimating their opponents of any opportunities whilst limiting them to a single score from play.

Newcastle West captain Thomas Quilligan lifts the county football title amidst joyous scenes from his teammates. Credit Sport Action Photography

Likewise, in their county final victory, Nemo Rangers dominated Duhallow in the opening half before easing to victory, winning out 2-8 to 0-10.

While this Sunday will be a completely different challenge for NCW, advancing to a Munster semi is not beyond the bounds of possibility.

Nemo will need to be given the respect they deserve, but Newcastle should approach the game as they did against the back-to-back Limerick champions Adare in the semi-final.

In that game, they overwhelmed the then defending champions physically, opening up a lead that they would never relinquish.

Physically, they can match up to Nemo and will need to take this approach early on.

Their opening goal against Adare came courtesy of a turnover in the Adare defence and a similar signal of intent could prove crucial on Sunday.

Newcastle West’s Mike McMahon wins possesion in the county final despite the attention of Oola’s Tommy Hayes

One thing that has been different about Newcastle this year is their willingness to attack when the opportunity has presented itself.

While in past years they were guilty of slow build up, they have demonstrated a desire to get ball into the forwards quickly when afforded the time and space to.

Of course, they are more than adept at holding onto possession when needed.

They have the players to employ various game plans with differing types of forwards at their disposal.

In Mike McMahon, they have a virtually unmarkable target man on the edge of the square who caused havoc in the Limerick championship.

Eoin Hurley, their chief free taker can win it both ways with size and speed while Jamie Lee has proved his worth for both club and county over the years.

Their half-forward line will be crucial in turning over ball with excellent work rate shown by AJ O’Connor, Brian Hurley and Thomas Quilligan throughout the year.

This will be needed especially on Sunday with Nemo Rangers having Cork starlets Luke Connolly and Paul Kerrigan in their half-forward line.

Cork Senior Football Championship Final, Pairc Ui Rinn, Ballintemple, Co. Cork 27/10/2019 Duhallow vs Nemo Rangers Nemo Rangers Luke Connolly celebrates scoring his sides second goal Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Oisin Keniry

Newcastle have some excellent man-marking defenders, namely Mike O’Leary and Mike O’Keefe who may well be assigned onto that duo.

If they can hold Nemo, as Duhallow did in the second half in the Cork county final, the likes of Iain Corbett and Sean Murphy will have the license to drive forward which they have done to devastating effect at times during the Limerick championship.

Newcastle also have players of the elk of Stephen Kelly, Diarmuid Kelly and Bryan Nix to come on and see out the game should they stay in the game long enough.

It certainly won’t be easy, and Nemo have the ability to overwhelm the Limerick side, but if they play to their potential there could be a shock on the cards.

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