Junior A Football Championship (played in Castlehaven, Sat. 25th June 2011)
St James’ 1-10 Gabriel Rangers 0-9
A tremendous team effort by the junior A footballers of Ardfield/Rathbarry in Saturday’s championship meeting in Castlehaven with last year’s champions Gabriel Rangers eventually overwhelmed the Ballydehob side, and propelled St James’ into the next round. Though Gabriel’s were quickest off the blocks, scoring three points before St James’ could reply, three excellent points by Mark Evans and a magnificent point by Kieran O’Donovan from a long-range free soon brought Gabriel’s down to earth, and by half-time St James’ were only a point down (St James 0-4 Gabriel Rangers 0-5).
Gabriel’s began the second half as they had the first, and once more established a three-point lead. At that moment, St James’ stepped it up a few gears, with Kieran O’Donovan leading the charge with two points scored on the run, followed by yet another point from the impressive Mark Evans. Gabriel’s again piled forward, but were denied by the St James’ goalkeeper, Diarmuid O’Donovan, who kept a bevy of Ballydehob forwards at bay whilst confidently catching the ball after it fell from an almighty height just inches from the goal line.
The St James’ defence quickly mopped up, just as they did for much of the match, during which Micheál McCarthy (D) was nothing less than monumental, Mark O’Brien as sturdy as the walls he builds, and Kevin O’Leary outstanding. Corner backs Eoin Deasy and Seamus McCarthy played, as always, with total commitment to the cause, whilst centre back Micheál McCarthy (B) was highly influential in deciding the outcome of the match.
Once the ball was back in the Gabriel’s half, Paul O’Sullivan got on the score sheet with a point from a well-judged free. Gabriel’s, though clearly feeling the pressure, nevertheless found scores of their own, and nudged ahead again, though by only one point. At that moment, Kevin O’Brien powered his way through the Gabriel’s midfield and half-back line before delivering a perfect hand-pass to James O’Driscoll, who instinctively knew this was the moment to go for broke, and duly scored a stupendous goal. Gabriel’s were sunk, and could be in no doubt about it after Kieran O’Donovan pointed from distance and at an acute angle.
The starting 15 for St James’ had by now put in the equivalent of two shifts (Donnacha McCarthy, though extremely active at wing forward, had expended every drop of energy in dropping back to help out the defence when needed), and so a fresh pair of legs were sent out – these ones were attached to the body and footballing brain of Tony Hayes, who wasted no time in starting the move that set up another point, this time from Micheál McCarthy (B).
Gabriel’s were by now desperate to get the ball up the field, but a fearless block by Frankie Hayes not only snuffed out their final hope but exemplified the character and determination of this St James’ unit. Timing is all, they say, and St James’ seem to have timed their recent resurgence to perfection.
Team: Diarmuid O’Donovan, Eoin Deasy, Micheál McCarthy (D), Seamus McCarthy, Kevin O’Leary, Micheál McCarthy (B) 0-1, Mark O’Brien, Kieran O’Donovan 0-4, Kevin O’Brien, James O’Driscoll 1-0, Mark Evans 0-4, Donnacha McCarthy, Paul O’Sullivan 0-1, James O’Sullivan, Frank Hayes. Subs: Tony Hayes, David Hayes, Finbarr McCarthy, Ian Evans, Denis Fitzpatrick, Conor Hegarty, Garrett Lombard, Connie Leahy, Brian O’Donovan, Shane Field, William Sheehan, James Hayes, Tadhg Casey
Minor Hurling League (Ardfield)
St James’ 1-9 Kilmeen 7-19
The minor hurlers were given a painful lesson by Kilmeen in this league match played last Monday in Ardfield. If the game had come to a halt at half-time, the result would have been bearable (though obviously still unwelcome), as St James’ had by then clocked up 1-7 to Kilmeen’s 2-10. Those first-half scores came from Tadhg Casey (1-5) and Shaun Goggin (0-2, both from frees). Kilmeen ran away with it in the second half, and it would have been worse were it not for several point-blank saves by goalkeeper Adam Ahern. Brian Lombard also played a very good game, and Seán O’Connor and Brian O’Donovan each got on the scoreboard, with a point apiece.
Team: Adam Ahern, Danny O’Connor, Thomas Nyhan, Brian O’Donovan, Cian Kavanagh, Aaron Hayes, Niall Evans, Reuben O’Hea, James Hayes, Kevin Horan, Brian Lombard, Shaun Goggin (0-2), Tadhg Casey (1-5) Sub: Seán O’Connor (0-1)
Under-12 Hurling (Ballinascarthy)
The under-12 hurlers met Pedlar’s Cross in their most recent match, and again showed good skills and much promise. Though Pedlar’s scored most points, St James’ went for goal and succeeded four times – trainer Shane O’Connell described Harry Oates’ goal as the best under-age goal he has ever seen. Pedlar’s won the match, but the result was of no real importance – the players continue to improve and enjoy the game, and this is the key thing.
Team: Daniel O’Driscoll, Harry Oates, Niall O’Donovan, Frank Meaney, Pádraig O’Donovan, Ciarán Whelband, Ian O’Keeffe, Conor Hayes, Fionn McPeake, Gary Lombard, Seán White, Andrew Whelton, Liam Crowley, Jack Creagh