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9th July 2011

posted 10 Jul 2011, 03:40 by Unknown user   [ updated 10 Jul 2011, 03:47 by Mark Evans ]
Junior A Hurling Championship (played in Clonakilty, Sat. 2nd July 2011)
St James’ 1-20 Kilbree 0-14
The junior A hurlers swept aside Kilbree in what was for St James’ the opening game of the championship. Conditions in Clonakilty last Saturday were perfect: a balmy evening, a first-rate playing surface, a sizeable and enthusiastic crowd. On the pitch, the situation was no less perfect, at least from the perspective of St James’, whose mobility, strength, skills and sheer determination ultimately proved too much for a Kilbree side that kept up with St James’ for the first half but who had no answer in the second half when the St James’ forwards went on the rampage.

This win was built on the most solid of foundations: goalkeeper Diarmuid O’Donovan was outstanding, both in terms of defending his goal and distribution of the ball, whilst the St James’ back lines ran Kilbree ragged. Midfielders Kevin O’Brien and Micheál McCarthy (B) could justifiably put in an overtime claim considering the workload they undertook, with both due a bonus for McCarthy’s point, which was set up by O’Brien. The St James’ front men received their reward in the form of plaudits, not least for a magnificent second-half performance that stunned Kilbree. 

Kieran O’Donovan set the scene with two first-half points, whilst Mark Evans and James O’Driscoll served notice of what was to come with points from both in the opening minutes of the game. Centre forward Seamus McCarthy – the axis of the St James’ attack – scored a point in each half, as did half back James O’Sullivan, the second of which was hit from such distance and attained such a height that the snow it had acquired had time to melt before the ball finally dropped between the posts. 

St James’ began the second half only one point to the good, and the sides were neck and neck until the last third of the game. At that moment, the Ardfield/Rathbarry team turned up the heat to boiling point, and Kilbree’s hopes evaporated. Chief among Kilbree’s tormentors were St James’ Mark Evans, James O’Driscoll and Brian O’Donovan, who played what must have been his best game yet. When there were twenty minutes left to play, Evans and O’Driscoll seem to have taken a decision to tear Kilbree apart. Evans scored points from any angle and at any distance, whilst O’Driscoll made scoring space by seeming to step into a fourth dimension, entry into which was forbidden to Kilbree defenders. 

The Evans–O’Driscoll scoring spree was put on hold to allow Kevin Kearns emerge from a scramble of players to score the most welcome of goals. Normal service was resumed with another point by Evans (from a sideline cut) and two from O’Driscoll, whose scoring was only brought to a halt by the final whistle. 

Team: Diarmuid O’Donovan, Eoin Deasy, Shane Field, Donnacha McCarthy, Mark O’Brien, Paul O’Sullivan, James O’Sullivan 0-2 (1 pen.), Micheál McCarthy (B) 0-1, Kevin O’Brien, Mark Evans 0-5 (1 side line), Seamus McCarthy 0-2, James O’Driscoll 0-7 (65, 2 frees), Micheál McCarthy (D), Kieran O’Donovan 0-2, Brian O’Donovan 0-1. Subs: Kevin Kearns 1-0, Kevin O’Leary,