History makers... St James deliver a West Cork junior football title to deny Ballinscarthy the double

History makers... St James deliver a West Cork junior football title to deny Ballinscarthy the double

St James celebrating their historic victory yesterday. Picture: Denis Boyle

St James (Ardfield) 0-11 Ballinascarthy 0-9

KEEPING their feet on the ground and their aims at a lofty height, Ardfield won their inaugural Carbery JAFC title in Timoleague yesterday evening.

They did so in their first-ever final appearance in this grade and in the process denied a gallant Ballinascarthy the double, having won the hurling title a few weeks earlier.

In doing so, the Saints built on an impressive opening-half display, after which they led on a 0-7 to 0-3 scoreline. But with the lead subsequently reduced to two points, up stepped their trainer and manager Alan O’Shea to deliver a crucial brace of frees.

In the closing 10 minutes Bal put in a valiant effort to complete a double mission last achieved by Newcestown 31 years ago, but the Saints’ defence, inspired by veteran keeper Diarmuid O’Donovan, held out to preserve their record of not conceding a goal in this year’s campaign.

With the wind in their sails, Ardfield got off to the start they needed to settle their nerves, with O’Shea, James O’Driscoll, and Mark Evans all on target before Bal had Jeremy Ryan opening their scoring after 18 minutes.

It was helter-skelter after that, with Paul O’Sullivan and James O’Driscoll driving the winners from midfield.

After the interval Seán Ryan, David Walsh, and Daniel Nyhan, along with Chris Ryan, led a spirited revival to which Cillian Cullinane and Jeremy Ryan added much before Alan O’Shea served up Ardfield’s first closing-half score in the 50th minute. It was backs to the wall after that before the Saints could rejoice.

Scorers for St James: A O’Shea 0-5, (0-4 f), M Evans 0-2, J O’Driscoll, P O’Sullivan, K O’Brien, F Hayes 0-1 each.

Ballinascarthy: C Cullinane 0-4, (0-3 f), B Murray 0-2, J Ryan, B O’Donovan, D Walsh 0-1 each.

St JAMES: D O’Donovan; D Hayes, E Feen, M McCarthy (B); J O’Sullivan, K O’Leary, M McCarthy (D); P O’Sullivan, J O’Driscoll; K O’Brien, S O’Reilly, M Evans; A Hayes, J O’Sullivan, A O’Shea.

Subs: F Hayes for S O’Reilly (41), K O’Donovan for K O’Brien (56), C Hayes for A O’Shea (58 bc), S McCarthy for J O’Sullivan (63).

BALLINASCARTHY: B Hanrahan; G O’Leary, C Ryan, E O’Brien; D Walsh, D Nyhan, C O’Neill; C Nyhan, S Ryan; R O’Flynn, C Cullinane, J Ryan; D McCarthy, B O’Donovan, P Cullinane. 

Subs: B Murray for P Cullinane (40), M Kirby for R O’Flynn (41), D Harte for D McCarthy (41), D McCarthy for B O’Donovan (53), D O’Brien for C O’Neill (62).

Referee: Andrew Whelton (Clonakilty).

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