St James’ GAA club members enjoy trip to Áras an Uachtaráin
On Friday 15th July, fifty-two members of St James’ GAA Club visited Áras an Uachtaráin at the invitation of President Mary McAleese in recognition of the magnificent community effort that ensured the successful development of the club’s sports hall. The trip had been eagerly awaited for the past number of months, and excitement levels were high as the coach made its way into Phoenix Park. The great white gates of Áras an Uachtaráin opened, and the bus carefully squeezed through the narrow entrance between two huge pillars that were clearly constructed in a bygone era when horse and trap were the mode of transport and the plain people of Ireland were not on the visitors’ list. The bus wound its way through manicured gardens and trees that had been planted by dignitaries, with plaques alongside each tree to give the background to its planting.
Arriving in front of the main building, there was time to admire the beautiful fountain and the neatly laid-out beds of flowers before all made their way up the steps to the main door, to be welcomed by Áras staff. When everyone was present in the State Reception Room, the President entered and was introduced to club president Michael Collins and chairperson Jimmy Butler. Jimmy Butler introduced each club member as the President welcomed and spoke to each person individually. Following the introductions, President McAleese posed for photographs with the group, and presentations were made. On behalf of St James’ GAA Club, President McAleese presented club chairperson Jimmy Butler with a token of the club’s appreciation of his dynamic and determined leadership of the project. Following this, the President invited all to tea, and here she mingled with those present and kindly posed for group photographs. Whilst mingling, the President discussed the recent visits of Queen Elizabeth and President Obama, her memories of her children playing football and hurling, and her time spent in West Cork and Kerry while on honeymoon, where – she recalled – it never stopped raining. Following tea, An Uachtarán bade farewell as she had further engagements to attend to.
The President’s staff invited club members to tour the building, which gave a wonderful insight into life at the Áras and the history attached to the furnishings and paintings. Some of the youngsters acted the parts of visiting ambassadors, whilst Conor Scully played the grand piano in the State Drawing Room.
At the conclusion of the visit, club members returned to the coach and departed the Áras. After a truly memorable occasion for St James’ GAA Club, those present will have lifelong and treasured memories.
Junior C Football Championship (played in Leap)
St James’ 2-17 Kilmacabea 0-8
The junior B footballers got off to the best of starts in this year’s championship (St James’ junior B side has been placed in the junior C championship; see below this report for all three championship placings). Kilmacabea had home advantage but St James’ had the advantage of a better team – a fact testified to by the winning margin of 15 points.
There were many encouraging aspects to the St James’ performance: excellent teamwork, good discipline (few frees conceded and just one yellow card), nine different scorers, winning the first half (0-9 to 0-4) then achieving a higher second-half tally (2-8), a great goalkeeper (Finbarr McCarthy), fine performances from the five minors (James Hayes, Thomas Nyhan, Tadhg Casey, Reuben O’Hea, Niall Evans – three of whom scored), and a very strong bench (five subs came on).
All but two of St James’ points came from play, and Ian Evans was naturally in command when it came to the frees (in addition to scoring a goal). J.D. O’Donovan was without doubt the most influential player for St James’: his tackling and distribution is exemplary, but of equal importance is his reading of the game and his leadership. Wing back Peter Barrett played his best game this season, scoring a goal and a point. Fellow wing back Connie Leahy also reaped reward for good play and hard work, scoring 3 points. Another to catch the eye was Michael Santry at full forward; in addition to scoring 2 points, he made several other scores, including the final pass to Peter Barrett for his goal.
Though good individual performances were crucial, this game was won by outstanding teamwork and commitment. All twenty players who took to the field gave their all, and those not able to get on were chomping at the bit, and will no doubt feature later in the competition.
Team: Finbarr McCarthy, Thomas Nyhan, J.D. O’Donovan, Eoin Feen, Peter Barrett 1-1, Denis Fitzpatrick, Connie Leahy 0-3, Garrett Lombard 0-1, Brian O’Donovan (Duneen), Niall Barrett, Ian Evans 1-5 (2 frees), Tadhg Casey 0-1, Conor Hegarty 0-1, Michael Santry 0-2, James Hayes 0-2. Subs: Shane Field, Andrew O’Leary, Niall Evans, Reuben O’Hea 0-1, Kevin Kearns, Shane O’Connell, Emmet Hayes
Junior A Football Championship Teams
Argideen Rangers / Ballinascarthy / Bandon / Bantry Blues / Barryroe / Carbery Rangers / Castlehaven / Clann na nGael / Clonakilty / Diarmuid O’Mathuna’s / Doheny’s / Gabriel Rangers / Ilen Rovers / Kilbrittain / Kilmacabea / Muintir Bhaire / O’Donovan Rossa / St Colum’s / ST JAMES' / St Mary’s / St Oliver Plunkett’s / Tadhg MacCarthaigh
Junior B Football Championship Teams
Bandon / Bantry Blues / Clann na nGael / Clonakilty / Goleen / Kilmeen / Newcestown / Randal Óg
Junior C Football Championship Teams
Clonakilty / Gabriel Rangers / Kilmacabea / Kilmeen / O’Donovan Rossa / St Colum’s / ST JAMES' / Tadhg MacCarthaigh
Minor Hurling Championship (played in Timoleague)
Barryroe 4-12 St James’ 2-11
Goals win games. Yet despite Tadhg Casey scoring two beauties for St James’ in last Saturday’s minor hurling championship match against Barryroe, goals didn’t win this game for the Ardfield/Rathbarry team because Barryroe scored four. It could have been more but for several fabulous saves by the St James’ keeper, Adam Ahern, who also kept a cool head when collecting loose ball around the small rectangle.
Barryroe were made to work hard for their scores. St James’ defenders Danny O’Connor and Cian Kavanagh fiercely contested every ball, whilst Thomas Nyhan at corner back also had a lot to do with several Barryroe attacks breaking down, and twice blocked hard-hit sliotars with his body without flinching, much less complaining.
Midfielder Niall Evans had a very good game, and kept St James’ in touch with two points early in the second half, one from a long-distance free, the other from play – again, from long range. Reuben O’Hea put in a big effort, whilst Brian O’Donovan again showed his natural talent for the game. Pa Keohane and Aaron Hayes – still an under-16 player – covered a lot of ground and sent plenty of passes up to the front men.
In attack, Tadhg Casey was on the mark in every department, adding five points to his goals, including two frees and a 65. In addition to setting up a couple of Casey’s points, James Hayes also put the ball over the bar twice, the second after a brilliant solo through the Barryroe defence. Shaun Goggin – another under-16 player – scored a couple of frees, but those goals from Barryroe – two in each half – were to decide the game.
Team: Adam Ahern, Danny O’Connor, Thomas Nyhan, Cian Kavanagh, Pa Keohane, Brian O’Donovan, Aaron Hayes, Niall Evans 0-2 (1 free), Reuben O’Hea, Shaun Goggin 0-2 (2 frees), Tadhg Casey 2-5 (2 frees, 65), James Hayes 0-2. Subs: Brian Lombard, Kevin Horan, Seán O’Connor