U-16 Hurling Championship Final (Leap, 16th Aug. 2012)
St James’ 2-10 O’Donovan Rossa 0-2
The under-16 hurlers captured yet another championship for the club by annihilating Skibbereen in rain-lashed Leap on Thursday evening. Conditions were atrocious – the pitch would be better described as a giant puddle – yet St James’ still played skillful hurling and found score after score whilst their opponents thrashed about hopelessly, with a few of the Skib players resorting to unsavoury tactics.
The first half was tentative, but an early and imaginative goal by Brian Lombard from a close-in free settled the nerves, and though St James’ scored just 1-3 for the half, Skib’s two points during the same period would be all they’d score for the entire game. Points for St James’ before half-time came from Lombard, Seán O’Reilly and Jack Butler (a cracker of a score).
In the second half, St James’ picked off eight scores whilst keeping Skib totally scoreless. Brian Lombard’s free-taking was impeccable, and procured for the team another three points. Kevin Horan and Aaron Hayes both scored fabulous long-range points, whilst James Taylor scored his first point after receiving a perfect pass from Cian McPeake, and his second at the end of a brilliant passing move involving Peter Walsh and Seán O’Connor. With 1-10 on the board, those waiting patiently on the bench got their chance, and within seconds young Jack Oates scored a memorable goal with an aerial double.
From defence to attack, this was an impressive St James’ performance. Peter Whelton in goal was both dependable and smart, whilst full-backs Adam Ahern and Brandon Creagh were dogged and brave. Half-backs Cian McPeake, Peter Walsh and Seán O’Connor were made to work extremely hard but repeatedly and masterfully snuffed-out Skib’s attempts at a breakthrough. Team captain Aaron Hayes was exemplary, and like every player in a St James’ jersey was prepared to take the hits whilst pushing forward. Half-forwards James Taylor, Kevin Horan and Brian Lombard came up with the scores as required, with the skillful Lombard again proving a reliable and willing free-taker. Full-forwards Seán O’Reilly and Jack Butler each put in a lot of hard work and both earned a point for their pains.
Team mentors Diarmuid O’Donovan and Kieran Barry can be very proud of their panel, and they deserve great credit for again steering a St James’ hurling team to championship success.
Panel: Peter Whelton, Adam Ahern, Brandon Creagh, Cian McPeake, Peter Walsh, Seán O’Connor, Aaron Hayes (0-1), Brian Lombard (1-4), Kevin Horan (0-1), James Taylor (0-2), Seán O’Reilly (0-1), Jack Butler (0-1), Jack Oates (1-0), Ciarán O’Donovan, Alan Butler, Conor Scully, Joseph O’Sullivan.
U-21 Hurling Championship Semi-Final (Leap, 14th Aug. 2012)
St James’ 4-7 Bantry 2-10
The under-21 hurlers will contest the championship final after beating Bantry by a goal in a hard-fought contest played in Leap. Yet towards the end of the game it looked as though Bantry would hold on for the win, having scored 1-3 without reply, but a brilliant move spanning the length of the pitch involving first Tadhg Casey, then Michael Santry, was completed by John O’Sullivan (Kilmacabea), who scored a sensational goal (his third of the game) with an overhead volley as the ball flew towards the target. Bantry levelled the game with a point, but with only seconds left to play a long-range Kevin Kearns free dropped below the bar for a goal and the win.
The game was a high-intensity affair of the first order, but good organisation and committed play by St James’ ensured a first-half haul of 2-5 (Santry, Kearns and O’Sullivan the scorers). The distribution by keeper Niall Evans kept the front ranks well supplied, whilst the defenders played as though their lives depended on it. The final will be against St Mary’s.
Panel: Niall Evans, Thomas Nyhan, Eoin Feen, Danny O’Connor, Emmet Hayes, Cian Kavanagh, Colin McCarthy, Kevin Kearns (1-5), Seán Scully, Shaun Goggin, Michael Santry (0-1), Tadhg Casey, Johnny Carroll, John O’Sullivan (3-1), James Hayes, Colin O’Flynn, Dylan O’Sullivan.
Minor Football Championship (Castlehaven, 10th Aug. 2012)
Gabriel Rangers 4-11 St James’ 4-4
In the minor football championship, four goals were not enough for St James’ against Gabriel Rangers, with points the deciding factor. Given that half the St James’ team are still under sixteen, this was a very credible performance, and several of these young players stood out, including Adam Ahern in goal, who made numerous great saves.
Though Gabriel’s towards the end of the game had established a ten-point lead, St James’ refused to give up, and were rewarded with an incredible scoring flurry that began with a Dylan O’Sullivan point, and continued with a goal by Shaun Goggin and then two quick goals by Tadhg Casey to level the game. Gabriel’s replied with scores – including two goals – but again St James’ gave themselves a lifeline when Niall Evans sent the ball into the back of the net. But on this occasion, time and arithmetic were on the side of the angels, whilst the saints will try again next year.
Panel: Adam Ahern, Brandon Creagh, Peter Walsh, Cian McPeake, Seán Scully, Tadhg Casey (2-0), Seán O’Connor, Niall Evans (0-1), Jack Hurley, Ruairc Courtney (0-1), Jack Butler, Dylan O’Sullivan (0-1), Shaun Goggin (1-1), Aaron Hayes (1-0), Ciarán O’Donovan.
U-16 Hurling League (Ardfield, 13th Aug. 2012)
St James’ 6-12 Kimacabea 2-10
With the championship final only days away, the under-16 hurlers were able to use this league fixture as a warm-up for the big one, not least because Kilmacabea conceded prior to throw-in due to lack of players. Jack Butler and Seán O’Connor agreed to the shirt-change that at least kept them in green and gold – albeit of Kilmacabea – and without O’Connor’s two goals for his temporary teammates, it would have been even worse for the visitors. Almost every St James’ player got on the scoresheet, with Brian Lombard in particular demonstrating great accuracy when scoring. Also noticeable was the bravery of St James’ players when a catch was required, as well as their ability to play good passes that often lead to terrific points.
U-12 Football League (Ardfield, 14th Aug. 2012)
Barryroe 10-12 St James' 8-7
The under-12 footballers acquitted themselves very well in a pulsating match against Barryroe on Tuesday evening. As Barryroe only turned up with ten players, St James’ fielded likewise. Both teams brewed up a storm, and clocked up eighteen goals and nineteen points between them.
St James' got off to the brighter start, with Conor Hayes rounding of great inter-passing amongst the forwards and finishing exquisitely with three fine goals, whilst Niall O'Donovan also scored a great goal with a well-struck shot. Harry Oates was superb between the posts, limiting the visitors to just two goals in the first half. Michael White, Lorraine Callanan, Clodagh Walsh, Pádraig O'Donovan and Cristeoir Hayes made up a resolute defence. James Hodnett was busy in the foward play and helped in the creation of points by Fionn McPeake, Pádraig O'Donovan and Evan O'Driscoll, thus ensuring St James' led at half-time.
Conor Hayes got the second half underway with another superb goal, and this act was repeated by Niall O'Donovan. However, Barryroe decided to take the same route, replying with a brace of goals. After trading a brace of points, Cristeor Hayes scored an excellent long-range goal that increased St James’ lead to four points. Barryroe decided to follow suit, and fired in two goals in quick succession that gave them a two-point advantage. Conor Hayes added another goal, but Barryroe cancelled it out with one of their own and then followed up with another.
Several goalmouth scrambles at both ends of the pitch led to a point for Fionn McPeake and a score for Barryroe. St James' were unlucky with their final few scoring opportunities, whilst Barryroe fired a final salvo of two goals in the last two minutes to ensure the win.
Every St James' player gave their all and ran themselves into the ground. They battled for every ball, and given some luck could easily have edged this one. Overall, this was a fine team performance. [CMcP]
Panel: Harry Oates, Michael White, Lorraine Callanan, Clodagh Walsh, Pádraig O'Donovan (0-2), Cristeoir Hayes (1-0), Fionn McPeake (0-2), Conor Hayes (5-0), Niall O'Donovan (2-0), Evan O'Driscoll (0-3), James Hodnett.