St James 2-12
THERE’S life in the old dog yet. Written off repeatedly because of the ageing profile of their team, St James proved once again that they have more to give.
Up against the form team from the qualifiers, Ballinascarthy, in the quarter-final of the Bandon Co-op junior A football championship in Clonakilty on Saturday, the Ardfield/Rathbarry men dominated from start to finish.
Goals in each half – a Frank Hayes penalty in the ninth minute, and an Aaron Hayes strike in the 50th minute – were key in this win.
‘We spoke about it in the dressing room beforehand, the need to get off to a good start,’ said man-of-the-match, midfielder James O’Driscoll.
‘Frank’s penalty goal was vital and it gave us a bit of a gap. Our lads worked very hard and we seemed to be making the right decisions.
‘We have a few good young lads coming in like Denis White and Peter Whelton, to supplement the older guys and it’s working very well. We’re building nicely now and will look forward to the semi-final.’
Early points from James O’Driscoll and the lively Frank Hayes had St James up and running. Outstanding wingback Dan Twomey did respond with a Bal point but in the ninth minute Hayes was pulled down in the square. He converted the penalty himself to open up a four-point gap. It was up to five when wingback Micheál McCarthy and full back James O’Sullivan answered a point from Bal’s Andrew O’Leary. The ability of different St James’ players to find the target, some from long range, was a strong feature of the first half.
It was 1-4 to 0-3 at the end of the first quarter following Twomey’s second white flag for Bal. There was little between the teams in the second quarter, the highlights were two magnificent long-range points from Ian Evans. Frank Hayes and strong centre forward Aaron Hayes added two more but Bal responded with efforts from Cillian Cullinane and Eoghan Ferguson. It was 1-8 to 0-5 at half time.
A quick James O’Driscoll point was the ideal start to the second half for St James. Points from Cillian Cullinane and the hard-working Ciarán Nyhan hinted at a Bal comeback but when sub Paul O’Sullivan and the unstoppable James O’Driscoll answered in kind, St James were seven to the good as the last quarter dawned.
The lethal blow to Bal’s slim chances arrived in the 50th minute and had an element of luck to it. When Aaron Hayes had his shot blocked from goal, the rebound fell kindly and he finished expertly into the bottom corner of the net. Game, set and match to St James, although a gallant Bal did answer with three points from impressive sub Aidan O’Donovan and Cillian Cullinane (2). It was fitting that St James’ sub, Alan O’Shea, the man who masterminds these victories, finished the scoring with a pointed free.
Scorers - St James: Frank Hayes 1-2 (1-0 pen); Aaron Hayes 1-1; James O’Driscoll 0-3; Ian Evans 0-2; James O’Sullivan, Mícheál McCarthy (D), Paul O’Sullivan, Alan O’Shea (1f) 0-1 each. Ballinascarthy: Cillian Cullinane 0-3 (1f); Dan Twomey 0-2; Andrew O’Leary, Conail Cullinane, Aidan O’Donovan, Eoghan Ferguson and Ciarán Nyhan 0-1 each.
St James: Niall Evans; Mícheál McCarthy (B), James O’Sullivan, Tadhg Feen; Peter Whelton, Cristeoir Hayes, Mícheál McCarthy (D); Kevin O’Leary, James O’Driscoll; Ian Evans, Aaron Hayes, Joseph O’Sullivan; Frank Hayes, Conor Hayes, Denis White. Subs: Paul O’Sullivan for M. McCarthy (D) (inj, 36), Kevin O’Brien for I Evans (41), David Hayes for D White (48), Sean O’Connor for J O’Driscoll (56), Alan O’Shea for K O’Leary (57).
Ballinascarthy: Cian Ryan; Eoin O’Brien, Gearóid O’Leary, James O’Brien; Dan Twomey, Luke Murray, Dean Harte; Ciarán Nyhan, Cathal Nyhan; Eoghan Ferguson, Cillian Cullinane, Andrew O’Leary; Damien Lyons, Seán Ryan, Conail Cullinane. Subs: Aidan O’Donovan for C Nyhan (15), Ciarán O’Neill for L Murray (ht), Colm O’Brien for D Lyons (43), Jeremy Ryan for A O’Leary (44), Aaron Ryan for S Ryan (60).
Referee: Liam O’Shea (Carbery Rangers).