BY JOHN TARRANT
ST James’ GAA Club’s Ballad Group worked the oracle to secure Munster Senior Scór honours at the 50th provincial decider hosted in Cork City Hall.
Indeed, club supporters struggled to hide their joy at the close of a historic breakthrough. From a top-class programme, county champions displayed their cultural talents much to the enjoyment of an appreciative attendance in a splendid setting.
It was an occasion to remember for Cork and Tipperary with a hat-trick of wins for both the Rebel and Premier counties. St James kept the West Cork flags flying when the quintet of Rachel O’Sullivan, Aine Fitzgerald, Rachel Hodnett, Ashlie O’Sullivan and Amy O’Sullivan offered splendid harmonies in the Ballad Group. Their double fare of ‘Éist a Stór’ and ‘The Mad Lady and Me’ won the applause of patrons and adjudication.
Team member Rachel O’Sullivan expressed delight on their victory that involved seeing off St Mary’s (Kerry), Sixmilebridge (Clare) and Upperchurch Drombane (Tipperary).
‘We still can’t believe it. This is our first year competing in the ballad group competition at senior level, although most of us would have competed in Scór at primary school age. It’s only the club’s second Munster title ever, the first being a junior B hurling title in 2005,’ Rachel said.
‘A Munster trophy has really lifted everyone’s spirits, a first Munster title that St James’ have won at any level in Scór. It’s fantastic to get the recognition for the hard work and dedication everyone has put into Scór for years in our parish and return with Munster silverware.’
St James are following in the footsteps of divisional neighbour Carbery Rangers who stormed to unprecedented success last season to complete a rare All-Ireland double in both Scór na nÓg and senior level.
‘The senior title has returned to West Cork following Carbery Rangers’ terrific successes in 2018 in the two categories. We’re very much looking forward to the All-Ireland in Castlebar in a few weeks, hoping to do everyone in Ardfield/Rathbarry proud,’ said Rachel.
Meanwhile, the cream of national school children from across the divisions compete in the Cork Scór na bPaistí finals on Saturday in the Eire Óg Pavillion, Ovens, commencing at 2pm.