St James' Under-16 Footballers Win SW (C) Championship (7th Oct. 2012, Castlehaven)
St James' 3-8 Gabriel Óg 1-9
The under-16 footballers of St James’ overcame Gabriel Óg 3-8 to 1-9 to secure yet another championship for the club, though there were many anxious moments to endure before the task was complete. St James’ built up a handy first-half lead that included goals from Peter Walsh and Jack Butler, whilst limiting Gabriel’s to just two points.
Stung into a response, Gabriel’s scored 1-7 in the second half, but St James’ kept up a decent scoring rate, adding 1-4 to their tally and never looking like losing the lead. St James’ keeper Adam Ahern was once again crucial in securing the win, as was wing-back Jack Hurley, who was tasked with marking Gabriel’s Cork panelist, and proved well able for the assignment.
But this was a game when the entire St James’ defence had to be and was at its best, ensuring Garbriel’s scores during their golden patch were not enough to change the outcome. Brandon Creagh, Euan Courtney, Peter Walsh and Cian McPeake never flagged, and each made vital blocks and other interventions to frustrate Gabriel’s, with Walsh and McPeake also getting on the scoreboard.
The loss of Brian Lombard due to a finger injury was a blow, but his replacement Seán O’Reilly justified his call-up by scoring a point and being involved in several other scores. Fellow under-14 player James Taylor was also unfazed, scoring the game's first point and proving near-impossible to mark.
Top scorer for St James’, Seán O’Connor, played an inspirational game, as did team captain Jack Butler, whose well-taken goal early in the game clearly sapped the will of the opposition. A typically composed and skillful performance by Aaron Hayes was also key to St James’ success, and important too was the workload and strength of will of Kevin Horan.
Panel: Adam Ahern, Cian McPeake (0-1), Brandon Creagh, Seán O’Connor (1-2), Brian Lombard, Peter Walsh (1-1), Euan Courtney, Aaron Hayes (0-1), Jack Hurley, Jack Butler (1-0), James Taylor (0-1), Seán O’Reilly (0-1), Alan Butler, Ciarán O’Donovan, Peter Whelton, Joseph O’Sullivan, Conor Scully.
Heartbreak for St James’ at All-Ireland Junior 7s Football (21st Sept. 2012, Dublin)
On a beautiful sunny All-Ireland weekend, St James' proudly represented Cork in Dublin in the All-Ireland Junior 7s football finals. St James’ opened their campaign with a 4-12 to 2-8 win over the Derry representatives, Doire Trasna. Next up was Cappincur, representing Offaly, and another sublime performance by St James’ saw off the opposition on a score of 4-13 to 3-6. Two injuries to St James' players saw their ten-man panel under pressure for the remainder of the competition, yet both heavily bandaged players continued to play a major part. The third game was against Ardagh from Mayo. St James’ led 2-3 to 1-4 at the break, and in the second half really took control to win on a score of 4-9 to 1-5. The last game of the group was against Geraldine O’Hanrahan’s of Wexford. The Wexford outfit needed a win to stay involved so a stiff game was expected. However, St James’ rose to the occasion and were easy winners on a scoreline of 10-7 to 1-6.
Having topped the group, St James’ proceeded to the quarter final where they came up against a fine athletic team composed of emigrants now resident in Qatar. This proved to be a battle royal and St James’ fought hard to keep in touch, exchanging scores throughout the first half. St James’ had two great goal-scoring chances only to see both skim the post, and at the break found themselves on the wrong side of a 1-5 to 1-3 scoreline. Upon resumption, St James’ recovered well, but were still a point behind with only a minute to play. A breakthrough on the stroke of time led to an equalising point (1-9 apiece) to take the game into extra time. It was now all or nothing as in these games the first score wins, and unfortunately for St James’, Qatar got that golden point. (Qatar went on to win their semi-final game, and in the final recorded a big win of 2-12 to 1-6.) Full credit to St James’ for a tremendous day of football. The players – suffering from complete exhaustion – retired to their team hotel for an early night.
Panel: Finbarr McCarthy, Mark Evans, James O’Driscoll, Paul O’Sullivan, Frank Hayes, Micheál McCarthy (Brittas), Conor Hegarty, Denis Fitzpatrick, Kieran O’Donovan, Donnacha McCarthy. Mentors: Jim Ahern, Micheál McCarthy (Dunnycove), Diarmuid O’Donovan.