St James 2-8
WEST CORK GAEL REPORTS
LAST season when these two sides crossed paths in the South West U21 C 12-a-side football championship final, the Black and Amber dished out a drubbing to the Ardfield lads (3-12 to 1-7) en route to being crowned champions.
But at Ballinascarthy last Saturday afternoon the wheel turned full circle, as it was a case of sweet revenge for the mountain men, emerging comprehensive trap-to-line victors, 2-8 to 1-6 – an impressive 16-point turnaround.
Fielding a young side containing five minors and playing sparkling, cohesive and non-stop attacking football, the Ardfield brigade was full value for this surprise, but merited win over their more experienced opponents.
That said, their first major, scored as early as the second minute when the impressive Peter Walsh’s high delivery was dropped by a Kilbrittain defender and Shaun Goggin booted the ball low past Lloyd McSweeney, may have been somewhat fortuitous.
But certainly Goggin’s second goal, scored in the 50th minute, with Walsh again the service provider had no element of luck about it.
It killed off the game as a contest, 2-7 to 1-5, but in between the victors made scoring hay, and while the sun certainly had no notion of shining on a murky afternoon, the quality of Ardfield’s football brightened up proceedings considerably.
Walsh tacked on a point from play in the third minute and the winners, aided by the elements, were playing well. Walsh, Goggin, the two Seans, O’Connor and O’Reilly, together with captain Niall Higgins were in the thick of the action.
Kilbrittain were slow to emerge from traps, but the industry of skipper James Hurley, the sniping runs of dangerman Josh O’Donovan and hard grafting by Sean Crowley, Dylan Twohig, Kevin O’Neill and Darragh Moore kept their cause a positive one.
Two frees by Hurley were offset somewhat by a lovely score by Ardfield’s Peter Walsh, as Kilbrittain lost Ger Whelton in the 17th minute via a black card, after what looked an innocuous enough challenge.
Darragh Hayes entered the fray and performed well and then just before the interval the losers got a vital break that put them right back in the game. A delightful through ball by Darragh Hayes was collected at pace by Josh O’Donovan, who scored a superb goal from an acute angle in the 30th minute.
It left the losers a bare point adrift at the break, 1-4 to 1-3, and given that they now had wind advantage on resuming, one had to fancy Kilbrittain’s chances.
But St James’ had no notion of suffering a repeat of last year’s hiding and battening down the hatches, with Peter Whelton, Brian Lombard, Joseph O’Sullivan, Aaron Hayes and Sean Scully performing defensive heroics, they gave little away easily.
O’Reilly and O’Connor assumed the mantle of scorers-in-chief and that second Goggin goal really knocked the stuffing out of Kilbrittain, as despite the continued valiant efforts of James Hurley, Hayes, Josh O’Donovan and Ronan Sheehan, Ardfield romped past the finishing line with furlongs to spare.
Kilbrittain now face Muintir Bhaire in the losers round while St James can reflect on a job well done.
St James: Shane Goggin 2-0, Sean O’Reilly 0-5 (3f), Peter Walsh 0-2, Sean O’Connor 0-1.
Kilbrittain: Josh O’Donovan 1-2, James Hurley 0-3f, Ronan Sheehan 0-1.
St James: Ciarán O’Donovan; Peter Whelton, Brian Lombard; Joseph O’Sullivan, Aaron Hayes, Niall Higgins; Sean Scully; Dylan O’Sullivan, Sean O’Reilly, Sean O’Connor; Peter Walsh, Shane Goggin.
Subs used: Euan Coakley for Joseph O’Sullivan (58).
Kilbrittain: Lloyd McSweeney; Ger Whelton, Sean Crowley; Darragh Moore, Kevin O’Neill, Evan O’Donovan; Ronan Sheehan; James Hurley, Ryan Crowley, Dylan Twohig; Patrick O’Mahony, Josh O’Donovan.
Subs used: Darragh Hayes for Ger Whelton (bc, 17), Denis Collins for Ryan Crowley (38), Ryan Lombard for Evan O’Donovan (48), Dave O’Neill for Twohig (55).
Referee: Pat Hurley (Clonakilty).