Sport

CARBERY JAFC FINAL: Second divisional title and county football on the line

September 24th, 2022 12:30 PM

By Matthew Hurley

Argideen Rangers' Andrew Guinevan and Oisin Dowling get to grips with St James' Micheal McCarthy during their meeting in last year's championship. (Photo: Paddy Feen).

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WHO would have predicted this final matchup at the start of the year?

It’s St James v Argideen Rangers in Ahiohill this Sunday at 3.30pm.

The Bandon Co-op Carbery junior A football championship started in late July.

Sixteen teams started out, now it’s whittled down to two.

Having both finished second in their groups, punters wouldn’t have even seen either side make a final at the start of September, yet here we are.

James beat two of the pre quarter-final favourites to get here in Ballinascarthy and St Mary’s, the latter due to a late Alan O’Shea goal.

Argideen meanwhile had to go through extra time and two meetings with the 2021 West Cork champions Tadhg MacCarthaigh during their run.

Both sides have merited being here.

Having both won this competition only once, it’s an opportunity for both sides to make it two wins. The prospect of playing Cork premier junior football next season makes this match even bigger.

Statistically, the Ardfield club are the highest scorers of the Carbery JAFC with a total of 8-72. Argideen on the other are down in ninth with an average of 11.8 per game. That’s lower than Castlehaven and Carbery Rangers’ second strings.

Selector Denis O’Leary mentioned on the Star Sport Podcast that coach Paudie Kissane has brought in a defensive system.

While it does hinder their attack, their defence is the joint meanest with 2-40 conceded in five games. The crucial stat there is the goal count and both net busters were against Tadhg MacCarthaigh.

James’ on the other hand have the tenth best defence in the whole championship on average, that’s below the likes of Newcestown and Barryroe who didn’t even progress out of the group.

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Read more in-depth previews of the game including interviews with both camps in this week's Southern Star. In shops now or subscribe online via https://subscribe.southernstar.ie/plans

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This is clearly going to be a big battle between the James’ attack and the Argideen defence. Whichever line excels most on the day will win the war.

Another aspect that could be interesting is when James attack and the Argideen defence remain resolute, what if the Timoleague club then get the ball.

Most of the Argideen team is below the age of 25, so breaking quickly out of defence on the counter attack could be a way Argideen win this game.

Cast your minds back to Cork v Louth, a football qualifier played in June.

The Leinster side came down south and implemented a defensive system, hard for the Rebels to break down. Cork were smart in possession that day and their cuteness had to force Louth to come out eventually.

James might apply the same philosophy here.

They have been scoring freely no doubt, but on Sunday, they need to be patient.

The Ardfield natives have been in a south-west final most recently, beating Ballinascarthy 0-11 to 0-9 in 2019.

Most would argue that experience would be valuable to get over the line.

The Timoleague club however have a certain All-Ireland champion from 2010 as coach. Paudie Kissane has been in these pressure situations, whether it’d be Munster finals or All-Ireland deciders.

Both teams will give it their all to win this, there’s no doubting that.

Old against young. Attack v defence. James' v Argideen.

Not one to be missed.

Read more in-depth previews of the game including interviews with both camps in this week's Southern Star. In shops now or subscribe online via https://subscribe.southernstar.ie/plans

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