St James 1-16
St Colum’s 0-13
JOHN MURPHY REPORTS
LAST year’s South West defeated JAHC semi-finalists St James got their campaign up and running at sun-kissed Dunmanway.
The Ardfield/Rathbarry combination was too strong for St Colum’s in this round one clash.
This was a solid performance with much to admire but St James’ manager Gerry Ryan stressed that the championship has just started and a long road lies ahead.
‘The championship starts from here on in and, of course, St Colum’s still have a role to play, so the next round is really important,’ Ryan said.
‘Despite having the wind, we shot a lot of first-half wides. It was worrying until Aaron Hayes got that goal. They may have been an element of luck because he cut in and squeezed his shot home from a narrow angle.
‘It was crucial and gave us some breathing space. We needed it because St Colum’s are great championship battlers, have pride in the jersey and really came at us in the second half.
‘Our lads had to step up to the plate in defence, they did well and this is a good start, but many more tough battles lie ahead.’
James O’Driscoll (free) and JP O’Sullivan traded early scores but with the strong wind to their backs, St James raced into a 0-6 to 0-1 lead by the end of the opening quarter. Aaron Hayes, Ian Evans, Kieran O’Donovan (2) and two frees from James O’Driscoll had James’ in control.
With limited opportunities Denis McSweeney and JP O’Sullivan managed to raise two white flags for Colum’s to cut the gap to 0-6 to 0-3. Micheál Casey, Eddie O’Sullivan, Martin Hurley and Dermot Cronin were all grafting away diligently in Colum’s cause.
However, all their good work went for nought as St James’ unleashed a scoring barrage that yielded an unanswered 1-3 between the 24th and 31st minutes. Tadhg Casey, Kieran O’Donovan and Aaron Hayes were all involved in that crucial goal, the latter somehow beating Micheál Cronin from an acute angle in the 24th minute.
Two frees by O’Driscoll and a delightful score by the menacing Kieran O’Donovan saw St James lead 1-10 to 0-3 at the break.
St Colum’s upped the ante in the second half. While they chipped away at the deficit, mainly due to the accuracy of Sean O’Shea from frees, the goal they craved for never materialised.
In a last throw of the dice Colum’s moved shot-stopper Micheál Cronin to the mark, Micheál Casey coming on to man the gap for the closing ten minutes. A good run by the ever-willing Denis McSweeney yielded a point in the 56th minute but unyielding St James failed to be fazed by the pressure and ran out comfortable winners.
St James: James O’Driscoll 0-11 (11f), Aaron Hayes 1-1, Kieran O’Donovan 0-3, Ian Evans 0-1.
St Colum’s: Sean O’Shea 0-6 (5f), JP O’Sullivan, Denis McSweeney 0-2 each, Cormac O’Connor, Micheál Cronin, Martin Hurley 0-1 each.
St James: Diarmuid O’Donovan; Joseph O’Sullivan, Micheál McCarthy (Dunnycove), Cathal Hennessy; Mark Evans, James O’Driscoll, Micheál McCarthy (Brittas); Ian Evans, Tadhg Casey; Kevin O’Brien, Paul O’Sullivan, Kevin O’Leary; Sean O’Reilly, Kieran O’Donovan, Aaron Hayes.
Subs: Andrew McCarthy for Sean O’Reilly (50), James O’Sullivan for Ian Evans (52), Seamus McCarthy for Tadhg Casey (53), David Hayes for Joseph O’Sullivan (53).
St Colum’s: Micheál Cronin; Tony Harrington, Martin Hurley, Donal Hurley; Seamus McHugh, Dermot Cronin, Eddie O’Sullivan; Micheál Casey, Jamie McSweeney; Cormac O’Connor, JP O’Sullivan, Ben Murphy; Denis McSweeney, Micheál O’Sullivan, Sean O’Shea.
Subs: David O’Mahony for Seamus McHugh (ht), Mike Cronin for Micheál O’Sullivan (ht), Micheál Daly for Donal Hurley (49).
Referee: Michael Walsh (Barryroe).