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23rd April 2012

posted 23 Apr 2012, 03:18 by Mark Evans   [ updated 23 Apr 2012, 03:48 ]
Junior A Football Championship (22nd April 2012, Ballinacarriga)
St James’ 0-14 Clann na nGael 1-9 (after extra time)

The addition of extra time turned St James’ junior-A first-round football championship match with Clann na nGael into a test of character – a test St James’ passed with distinction. St James’ had dominated the first half, scoring five points before Drimoleage secured their only point of the half. Those scores included a cool, long-range point by Kevin O’Brien, whose inspirational and battling performance in midfield provided the foundation for victory. Corner-forward Paul O’Sullivan’s tally of five points was also a critical factor in ensuring the win, not least when he put over the final score of the match with only seconds left to play.

Of the other forwards, Mark Evans converted four frees during a spirited performance, Frankie Hayes scored a couple of trademark points, whilst Tony Hayes also pointed. Centre-forward Kieran O’Donovan was in the thick of the action and will no doubt be nursing the bruises that prove it, whilst wing-forward Kevin O’Leary can also be satisfied with his typically energetic and probing game.

A well-organised and fully functioning St James’ defence made life difficult for Drimoleague. Full-back Micheál McCarthy (Dunnycove) led by example, playing his game with authority, commitment and verve. Corner-backs Tadhg Feen and Fearghal Beamish were in total command of their sectors, whilst the half-back line of James O’Sullivan, James O’Driscoll and Séamus McCarthy was exemplary; the fact that between the three of them they were pulled down for frees a total of eleven times illustrates the threat they posed to Drimoleague, and the service they provided to the forwards ensured the scores. Midfielder Donnacha McCarthy did all that was asked of him and more, and together with Kevin O’Brien ensured St James’ had the advantage in this decisive area of the pitch.

The St James’ goalkeeper Diarmuid O’Donovan was a rock of stability between the posts, and in addition to safe handling and saves made a critical extra-time thirty-yard foray from his goal to deny Drimoleague and keep the scores level. The link-up play from the keeper’s eventual pass led to a point from Conor Hegarty that signalled the beginning of the end for Clann na nGael.

Panel: Diarmuid O’Donovan, Tadhg Feen, Micheál McCarthy (D), Fearghal Beamish, James O’Sullivan, James O’Driscoll, Séamus McCarthy, Kevin O’Brien (0-1), Donnacha McCarthy, James Hayes, Kieran O’Donovan, Kevin O’Leary, Paul O’Sullivan (0-5), Mark Evans (0-4), Frank Hayes (0-2), Conor Hegarty (0-1), Tony Hayes (0-1), Eoin Feen, Pa Keohane, Michael Santry, Brian O’Donovan, Tadhg Casey, Denis Fitzpatrick, Seán Scully, Niall Evans, Connie Leahy, Danny O’Connor, Mark O’Brien, Eoin Deasy.

U-12 Football League (22nd April 2012, Ardfield)
Kilbrittain 3-13 St James’ 4-9

The U12 footballers gave another fine account of themselves during a very high-scoring home game against Kilbrittain. St James’ were first to have the advantage of the breeze, with Fionn McPeake firing in two goals and pointing twice before Kilbrittain even got going. Scores continued to be racked up, with points from Conor Hayes, Harry Oates and Fionn McPeake before Gary Lombard added to the goal tally. Pádraig O'Donovan played a stormer in goal, making several goal-line clearances to ensure St James’ led at half-time by 3-7 to 1-4.

Conor McCarthy took over in goal for the second half and made many fine clearances under tremendous pressure, but slowly Kilbrittain got back into the match, reeling off three points followed by another goal. St James’ responded well, with Gary Lombard again finding the back of the net. Kilbrittain scored a third goal and more points to take the lead, but Liam Crowley sent over a fine point in reply, and a point by Gary Lombard brought the sides level. However, Kilbrittain got the rub of the green with a last-gasp point that served up the win. Nevertheless, this was an excellent team performance by St James’, with outstanding performances from everyone.

Panel: Pádraig O'Donovan, Conor McCarthy, Rory O'Connor, Gary Lombard (2-1), Michael White, Liam Crowley (0-1), Conor Hayes (0-2), Niall O'Donovan, Fionn McPeake (2-3), Sinéad O'Connor, Harry Oates (0-2), Lorraine Callanan, James Hodnett, Aaron O'Brien.