Junior A Football Championship (played in Dunmanway)
St James’ 2-7 Caheragh 0-8
St James’ advanced to the quarter finals of the junior A football championship with a workmanlike win over Caheragh on a lovely summer’s Sunday in Dunmanway – lovely, that is, for the supporters; for the players, the warmth and humidity were oppressive, and no doubt accounted for the game having been less than a thriller. But there was still everything to play for, and St James’ were undoubtedly the hungrier team.
There were no scores from either side for what seemed like an eternity, and then, like buses, along came three from Mark Evans, including a well-placed twenty-fifth-minute penalty goal that was compensation for the one he would have scored if he hadn’t been pulled down. The two points and goal from Evans were punctuated by three Caheragh points, but two points from Donnacha McCarthy (one from miles out) and a typically battling score from James O’Driscoll gave St James’ a half-time cushion of four points.
Caheragh were clearly out of sorts, scoring just four points in the second half. But that was still two more than the couple scored by St James’ (Donnacha McCarthy again, and one from Kevin O’Leary). But a fabulous Frankie Hayes goal (made by Kevin O’Brien) knocked the stuffing out of Caheragh, and though they applied pressure for the last quarter (during which they scored three of their meagre haul of four points), the St James’ defence withstood the worst of it. With just two minutes on the clock, Caheragh came close to a goal, but St James’ keeper Diarmuid O’Donovan made the save that sealed their fate.
See this week's Southern Star for a full report (by Tommy Lyons).
Panel: Diarmuid O’Donovan, Fearghal Beamish, Séamus McCarthy, Eoin Deasy, Mark O’Brien, Micheál McCarthy (B), David Hayes, Kevin O’Brien, Micheál McCarthy (D), James O’Driscoll 0-1, Mark Evans 1-2 (1 pen), Donnacha McCarthy 0-3, James O’Sullivan, Kevin O’Leary 0-1, Frank Hayes 1-0, Tony Hayes, Finbarr McCarthy, Garrett Lombard, Ian Evans, Connie Leahy, Peter Barrett, Denis Fitzpatrick, Conor Hegarty, James Hayes, Brian O'Donovan, Shane Field, Andrew O'Leary, Tadhg Casey, Eoin Feen, Niall Barrett, Michael Santry, Niall Evans
Junior B Football League (played in Crosshaven)
St James’ 3-14 Crosshaven 1-8
For the first three minutes of this junior B league match Crosshaven looked comfortable. For the remaining fifty-seven minutes they played catch-up. Crosshaven’s opening point – at the end of their three-minute purple patch – was answered by a point from Ian Evans, then another point from Ian Evans, followed by another point from Ian Evans, one from Peter Barrett, one from Ian Evans, a point from Michael Santry, and another from Ian Evans. Clearly, some kind of pattern was forming.
It took Crosshaven twenty-two minutes to score a second point. Flushed with their success, they scored two more in quick succession. Garrett Lombard brought the Crosshaven scoring flurry to a halt with a nice point of his own, but it was the fabulous goal from Finbarr McCarthy – made by Michael Santry and Ian Evans – that really brought the shutters down for Crosshaven. On the stroke of half time, yet another point from Ian Evans – his third from well-taken frees – sent Crosshaven to the bench in search of answers that could not be found on the pitch.
St James’ began the second half nine points clear, and soon extended this to twelve points with scores by James Hayes, Finbarr McCarthy and Shane Field. However, Crosshaven were not the push-over this scoreline might suggest. This was a hard-fought match that demanded the total commitment of the St James’ players together with huge reserves of energy that anything less than a very fit team would have lacked. Nor were Crosshaven out of the game, as their sudden burst of scoring proved. A goal and three points reduced their deficit to seven points with plenty of time for more. However, a brilliantly worked move involving Niall Evans, Eoin Feen and Michael Santry was brought to a conclusion by Shane Field confidently sending the ball over the bar for his second point, and once more St James’ were in command.
Crosshaven had by now run out of ideas, and the heat was taking its toll, with no scores from either side for quite some time. The drought – such as it was – was relieved by a great goal from Niall Evans, who had Conor Hegarty to thank for a perfect pass. Goal-scoring can be infectious, and Michael Santry soon caught the bug, expertly dispatching into the back of the net the ball that had been supplied from Shane O’Connell who first dodged several Crosshaven defenders before providing an excellent pass to Santry.
The win was nothing less than a very good all-round team performance deserved. Niall Barrett paid the price for his committed tackling when injured early in the game, and had to leave the field.
Panel: Pa Keohane, Brian O’Donovan, J.D. O’Donovan, Eoin Feen, Peter Barrett 0-1, Denis Fitzpatrick, Connie Leahy, Shane Field 0-2, Garrett Lombard 0-1, Niall Barrett, Ian Evans 0-6 (3 frees), Michael Santry 1-1, Conor Hegarty, Finbarr McCarthy 1-2, James Hayes 0-1, Tadhg Casey, Shane O’Connell, Andrew O’Leary, Niall Evans 1-0
Under-14 Hurling Championship (played in Ballineen)
St James’ 7-8 Iveleary 0-4
Midday bonfires were lit in Ardfield/Rathbarry on Sunday to celebrate the return of the jubilant under-14 hurlers from Ballineen, where they had overpowered Iveleary in the championship decider. Seven goals and eight points from the St James’ strike force were answered with just four points from Iveleary.
Playing on a perfect Ballineen pitch, St James’ had the ball in the back of the net within a minute of play, and knew immediately that more goals were there for the taking. Lead scorer for St James’, Seán O’Reilly, duly fired in four, together with a couple of points, whilst three other St James’ players also caused the green flag to be raised. Though Iveleary could not keep pace with the St James’ scoring rate, the mid-Cork boys never lost interest in the game, and to the end kept their heads raised.
Seán O’Reilly’s opener for St James’ was quickly followed by a goal from Joseph O’Sullivan – intended as a point but sneaking in under the post – and three points from the outstanding James Taylor, whose long-range point-taking is equal in accuracy to that of players in any grade and at any age.
Though the scorers for St James’ had praise ringing in their ears, the St James’ back lines started every move and kept Iveleary scores to a bare minimum. Corner backs Peter Walsh and Eoin Lombard repeatedly brought Iveleary attacks to a grinding halt, whilst Alan Butler, Cian McPeake and Conor Scully on the half-back line were outstanding. Proof of this was the twenty-five minutes it took Iveleary to find their first score – a free dispatched by the impressive James O’Donovan, who was to account for three of Iveleary’s four points.
For a while, Iveleary stemmed the St James’ goal tide, with midfielder Conchubhair Lynch dropping back to catch the high balls. But when one ball got through, a goal-line free-for-all ended with Seán White forcing the ball into the net. Again, Iveleary refused to give up, and a quick free was expertly driven over the bar from a long way out. However, the writing was already on the wall – as well as the scoreboard – with a half-time count of St James’ 3-3 Iveleary 0-2.
The second half commenced exactly as the first had: St James’ quickly had the ball in the back of the net – an opportunistic goal scored by Seán O'Reilly when a James Taylor free dropped at his feet – and followed up with a point from the excellent Jack Oates. The St James’ lead of thirteen points would have caused most opposing teams to call it a day, but Iveleary continued to play, and were rewarded with a point. The mid-Cork boys kept their shape, and could not be faulted for their fitness or hurling skills. However, St James’ were too busy scoring to admire their opponents, and for the last fifteen minutes of the game went into overdrive.
Wing back Conor Scully advanced up the pitch before providing a perfect pass to corner forward Seán O’Reilly, who gratefully put the ball over the bar. Seán O’Reilly followed up with a goal and a point that he made possible with skillful stick-work. James Taylor was next up, taking delivery of a superb pass from Daniel O’Driscoll before thwacking the ball between the posts.
Iveleary proved again that they were still in the game, taking a point from a free, though it was clearly all over by then. However, St James’ weren’t ready to turn off the taps, and Seán O’Reilly once more put the ball over the bar. There was still time for James Taylor to convert a 65 – again, displaying admirable skill and temperament – after which he hammered the ball home for his first and St James’ last goal of the game.
This first under-14 hurling championship success for the club since 1994 sees St James' advance into the county championship as reward for this most magnificent of victories.
Panel: Peter Whelton, Eoin Lombard, Peter Walsh, Alan Butler, Cian McPeake, Conor Scully, James Taylor 1-5 (2 frees, 1 65), Seán White 1-0, Jack Oates 0-1, Joseph O’Sullivan 1-0, Seán O’Reilly 4-2, Daniel O’Driscoll, Pádraig O’Donovan, Conor Hayes, Ciarán Whelband
Under-12 Hurling League (played in Caheragh)
St James’ 7-1 Caheragh 5-4
The under-12 hurlers played their first seriously competitive game this year in the recently resurrected league (albeit in a new format). The Monday evening trip to Caheragh was very productive, with seven goals and a point from St James’ ensuring a three-point winning margin. Caheragh can be pleased with the five goals and four points they chalked up, though one of those goals was scored by Gary Lombard of St James’ as an under-strength Caheragh side had to be supplemented with three St James’ players. Young Lombard returned to his rightful place for the second half, and duly scored two goals for his own team. Harry Oates came out of goal to score two goals, whilst Niall O’Donovan, Conor Hayes and Alison Taylor also scored goals. With so many goals going in, it was a nice change to see a point sail over the bar, with Daniel O’Driscoll the scorer.
Panel: Harry Oates 2-0, Pádraig O’Donovan, Frank Meaney, Eoin Lombard, Michael White, Fionn McPeake, Conor Hayes 1-0, Christeoir Hayes, Seán White, Andrew Whelton, Alison Taylor 1-0, Niall O’Donovan 1-0, Daniel O’Driscoll 0-1, Gary Lombard 2-0, Ciarán Whelband