St James’ 3-18
Randal Óg 0-9
JOHN MURPHY REPORTS
EVERY picture tells a story and the yawning gulf that existed on the scoreboard at the end of this Clona Milk South West U21C 12-a-side hurling championship final between St James’ and Randal Óg in Rossmore last Friday night week paints an accurate reflection of the difference between the teams.
St James’ star man and captain Aaron Hayes split the posts in the opening minute, a score soon negated by Randals leading playmaker Gavin Hunt.
The Ballinacarriga-based outfit briefly enjoyed a period of ascendancy when a brace by Donnacha Collins gave them a narrow advantage, 0-3 to 0-1, by the tenth minute.
The gap had narrowed to the minimum two minutes later when Sean O’Reilly cut inside the Randals cover to clip over a cracking point.
The Saints then upped the ante considerably, Cathal Hennessy dominating the middle third, Rob Hegarty a solid centre back and the Hayes duo, Conor and Aaron, ably assisted by Jack Oates, Sean O’Reilly and Brian O’Mahony beginning to cause huge problems for Randals defence.
In fairness Randals shot-stopper Ted Nyhan and defenders Seamus Murphy and Conor O’Donovan were working overtime attempting to stem a threatening St James’ forward outfit.
The writing was on the wall when Aaron Hayes found Brian O’Mahony unmarked 30 metres from goal and the latter crashed the ball to the Randals rigging in the 13th minute.
St James’ were up and running, with Oates, Aaron Hayes, Conor Hayes and O’Reilly in scoring mode.
The accuracy of Gavin Hunt kept Randals barely in touch, but their hill became a mountain – pardon the pun – to climb when Aaron Hayes smashed a fabulous shot just beneath the crossbar to billow the Randals net for a second time in the 26th minute.
Adrift by 2-8 to 0-5, by the interval Randals emptied the bench in an effort to infuse life into an ailing attack. Collins, Hunt, Crowley, Shanahan, Murphy and Conor O’Donovan tried their hearts out, but despite a brief revival after half time, the game was now already done and dusted, a superb late Ardfield goal by Cathal Hennessy in the 56th minute icing an already well-baked Saints cake.
Joe Crowley, chairman of the South West Board, was on hand to present the cup to a delighted Aaron Hayes after the game.
St James’: Aaron Hayes 1-6 (2f), Cathal Hennessy 1-2, Sean O’Reilly 0-4, Jack Oates 0-3, Brian O’Mahony 1-0, John Hodnett 0-2, Conor Hayes 0-1.
Randal Óg: Gavin Hunt 0-7 (4f, 1 65), Donnacha Collins 0-2.
St James’: Peter Whelton; Patrick Hurley, Joseph O’Sullivan; Seán O’Connor, Rob Hegarty, Cathal O’Driscoll; Cathal Hennessy; Conor Hayes, Aaron Hayes, Jack Oates; Seán O’Reilly, Brian O’Mahony.
Subs: John Hodnett for O’Reilly (34), James O’Riordan for O’Connor (52), John O’Brien for Oates (52), Seán White for Aaron Hayes (55), Brendan Kingston for O’Driscoll (56).
Randal Óg: Ted Nyhan; Seamus Murphy, Seamus Crowley; Cian O’Neill, Conor O’Donovan, Tomás White; Eoin O’Sullivan; Donnacha Collins, Mark Shanahan,Pádraig Galvin; Kevin Dullea, Gavin Hunt.
Subs: Cian Dillon for Dullea (40), Dan O’Sullivan for Shanahan (40), Jamie Kearney for White (43), Diarmuid Hayes for Galvin (54).
Referee: Connie Murphy (Kilmeen).