U12 Autumn League Shield Final (played in Dunmanway, Monday October 5th)
Sam Maguires 3-0 St James 4-7
Defeats in the League and summer-long tough training sessions sometimes seem very unworthwhile when players and parents alike wonder if there is going to be any light at the end of the tunnel. However, on Monday evening last all of the above were proved to be so worth it when St James U12’s left Dunmanway with the Autumn League shield under their wing. Both sets of players could do nothing about the heavy rain when playing under lights on a superb surface to serve up a very entertaining hour’s football. In the Autumn League, St James had succumbed to a superior Kilmacabea side in the Cup semi-final a week previous which led to the consolation of a Shield final vs Sam Maguires. Even though the game was meant to be played 13-a-side, it was agreed by both sets of trainers prior to the game that sufficient numbers on both meant that a traditional 15-a-side game could be played. On the night, from start to finish, St James were the better team but in truth should have probably been further ahead at the half-time whistle. Led by inspirational captain, Ben McShane in mid-field, it was obvious from the start that the 17 boys/girls had no interest in heading back to Ardfield/Rathbarry with nothing less than a victory. Gearoid O’Donovan in goal showed that his confidence is growing with every game, his kickouts were superb in finding his targets while he also showed his determination in bursting off of his line when needed to quell any possible danger. The three full backs were huge again, Aaron O’Donovan (Ardfield) at full-back showing once again that he is always a step ahead with his reading of the game and spotting any potential danger. O’Donovan was flanked on each side brilliantly with Ava Barry showing that she is a match for any corner-forward on any team by clearing her corner at every chance while the dogged Cian Hurley had a huge game on the left quenching the threat of a very tricky Sam Maguires corner-forward. On the wings, Adrian Whelton showed once again how solid a player he is maturing into which complimented the tenacity of Daniel Barrett on the opposite flank who never gave up on any ball. All the while, Sean Lawless done his usual, strutting his stuff at centre-back marshalling all behind him and refusing all coming towards him. McShane in mid-field (not for the first time this year) grabbed the baton when needed, leading by example by doing exactly what he expected of his team-mates. He was partnered in mid-field by John O’Donovan who drove the team forward at every opportunity, once again showing with his 1-4 that some people are just simply, born to play sport. When scores were needed O’Donovan was massive as was centre-forward Cameron Whelton who gave the Sam Maguire half-back line so much to think about when leading his forwards admirably. Whelton was especially huge in the second-half having seen his right-half forward Daniel Bennett carry the fight to Sam Maguires in the first half, when covering huge amount of ground along with contributing his scores. On the other flank, David O’Brien did his usual non-stop running with his speed and unselfish handpassing the foundation of a lot of St James great play. In the full-forward line, Denis White was a constant thorn in the Sam Maguires side, showing for every ball and proving a nightmare to mark while Meabh Barry did her usual, non-stop looking for every ball, always making herself available and proving a constant threat. The other corner-forward, James O’Donovan was one of the three U10’s that have been a huge addition to this years U12 panel. O’Donovan tore into the game from the very start, linking up play and showing that he is well worth his spot on any U12 team. To compliment any team, it’s always great to blood in younger lads and indeed, selectors can be forgiven for “giving players runs” for the sake of it. This certainly wasn’t the case with the half-time introduction of Darragh Gough and Conor Whelton who showed that along with their U10 colleague, O’Donovan, they have well and truly stepped up to the mark. Gough once again showed serious maturity beyond his years while Whelton took absolutely no notice of the fact that he was playing an age above him when tearing into the opposition at every opportunity.
There was a good five minutes gone in the game before St James registered the first score of the game when Daniel Bennett took the opening point very well. Ben McShane got the games first goal before Sam Maguires scored their opening goal against the run of play. Two more points, Bennett’s second and John O’Donovan’s opening point left St James with a 3-point lead at half-time. Without being critical, it has to be said that on some occasions this year, the team have appeared to “drop gears” a bit in the second half but encouraging words from trainers Jonathan O’Donovan, Gay O’Driscoll and Aidan Whelton had the desired effect as the team resumed where they had left off at the short-whistle. Cameron Whelton registered an early second-half goal only for Sam Maguires to raise the green flag again. Whelton duly re-raised the hosts again adding his second goal of the night before John O’Donovan scored an opportunistic long-range goal to leave 9 points between the sides. John O’Donovan went on to score three more points with Denis White also raising a white flag before Sam Maguires scored their third goal in what proved to be the last score of the evening.
At the final whistle, the persistence of the heavy rain was forgotten by players and supporters alike as everybody savoured the moment with a seriously good taste of victory in everyone’s mouths. Captain, Ben McShane proudly displayed the shield in the victorious team line-up with huge smiles all round the order of the day.
Everybody at the Club is very proud of this panel’s performances during the year. Rome wasn’t built in a day and unfortunately defeats and heavy defeats will come again. But victories like this should be cherished and savoured for a long time as the victories and successes that they have with their school friends on sporting occasions are ones that they will remember for the rest of their days.
The Club pulled out all of the stops when putting on a bonfire at the Mountain House where the 15 boys and 2 girls enjoyed some thoroughly-deserved post-match refreshments. On behalf of the Club a very proud Chairperson, Conor Hegarty presented Ben McShane with the shield before addressing everybody and conveying the Clubs great pride in the players. All of the players were introduced individually to the gathered crowd who gave everyone a huge ovation. What a great evening! Congratulations to everybody – St James GAA are very lucky to have you and are very proud of you all.
Team: Gearoid O’Donovan, Ava Barry, Aaron O’Donovan (Ard), Cian Hurley, Adrian Whelton, Sean Lawless, Daniel Barrett, Ben McShane (1-0), John O’Donovan (1-4), Daniel Bennett (0-2), Cameron Whelton (2-0), James O’Donovan, Meabh Barry, Denis White (0-1), David O’Brien. Subs used: Darragh Gough, Conor Whelton.
Two days earlier St James U10 and U8 headed to Clonakilty to take part in the final football blitz of the year. Two U8 teams and one U10 team played three games each, as usual showing great confidence and skills. After the blitz, Cork and Castlehaven senior footballer, Brian Hurley was on hand to present all of the players with their end of season blitz medals.
Players used: U10: Shane Barrett, Liam Carroll, Eoin Fitzpatrick, Sean Flood, Laura Hodnett, Charlie McShane, Shornu O’Brien-Coker, James O’Donovan, Katelyn O’Donovan, Callum O’Sullivan, Joseph O’Sullivan, Conor Whelton, Orla Whelton.
U8: Olan Brazier-Scannell, Killan Calnan, Conor Dooley, Mark Fitzpatrick, Sean Gough, Cian O’Donovan, Evan O’Donovan, Katie O’Keeffe, Cathal O’Leary, Cathal O’Loughlin, Uinseann O’Mahony, David O’Sullivan, Mia O’Sullivan, Nathan O’Sullivan, Eoin Whelton, Euan Whelton, Robert Whelton, Sean Whelton.
St James bow out of Championship
Clonakilty 1-8 St James 0-8 (Game played in Clonakilty, Friday October 2nd)
Played in Clonakilty under lights last weekend this Junior C football championship quarter final was exciting right up to the last kick without producing top class football. Favourites Clonakilty led from the start and had 1-1 on the scoreboard before St James settled and led by veteran John Santry who notched up the opening point. Sean O'Reilly had his first of three before another Santry, this time younger brother Michael added two points. William Sheehan finished the first half scoring with a point to go in 1-3 to 0-5. St James were quick off the mark to equalise, however it was Clonakilty who upped the tempo with four unanswered points. For St James it was one of those nights when a fine effort from Shane O'Driscoll rebounded off the crossbar, Conor Scully saw his effort go outside the post when a goal looked on, and eventually St James had to settle for points from James Hayes and Sean O'Reilly as time ran out.
Team- Patrick Keohane, Colm Murphy, Jonathan O'Donovan, Joseph O'Sullivan, Brian O'Donovan, Mark O'Brien, Niall Evans, Conor Scully, Shane O'Driscoll, Sean O'Reilly (0-3), John Santry (0-1), William Sheehan (0-1), Conor Hegarty, Diarmuid Keohane, Jack Butler. Subs Euan Courtney, Peter Whelton, Denis Fitzpatrick, Sean O'Connor, Michael Santry (0-2), James Hayes (0-1).
Clubs Monthly Draw Tickets
Tickets are available from club members for this popular draw where there is over €450,000 in prizes. first draw end of October, book your ticket now.