St James continue to make history as they move into first junior A county final

St James continue to make history as they move into first junior A county final

Fiachra Cronin, St Michael's, closes in as James O'Driscoll, St James, fields a high ball in the JAFC semi-final at Ovens. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

St James 1-12 St Michael’s 0-9 

ST James’ footballers qualified for their first junior A county final following this deserved triumph in Ovens on Sunday afternoon.

A sublime goal from impressive forward Aaron Hayes in the 58th minute secured the St James their county final berth. The Saints now advance to a county final showdown against Kilshannig next Sunday. 

James have yet to concede a goal thus far this season. Their success is built on their formidable team spirit and their work ethic.

St James started the game in impressive fashion. They moved into a three-point lead after eight minutes following points from James O’Sullivan, Michael McCarthy and a converted free from player-coach Alan O’Shea.

St Michael’s opened their scoring account in the 10th minute through Eoin O’Donovan. This score was immediately negated by an Aaron Hayes point. The pace of the game was unrelenting. St James were very accurate, while St Michael’s wasteful shooting greatly hindered their chances.

Alan Nolan, St Michael's, tries to get past Kevin O'Leary, St James. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Alan Nolan, St Michael's, tries to get past Kevin O'Leary, St James. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

The Seandun divisional team reduced the arrears to one point by the 14th minute after two successive points from Liam Grainger and Mark O’Keeffe. Both sides continued to trade scores which ensured St James held a one-point lead after 18 minutes. 

The Carbery side finished the first half strongly. They struck four successive points which enabled them to hold a deserved five-point lead at the interval, 0-9 to 0-4.

St James started the second half brightly with attacking wing-back Micheal McCarthy notching his third point from play which moved his side six points clear. St Michael’s quickly reduced the arrears to five points after a nice score from Robbie Cotter. 

St Michael’s continued to press forward, but a combination of poor shooting and superb St James defending continued to thwart them. St James restored their five-point lead by the 51st minute through Alan O’Shea. St Michael’s inspired by Robbie Cotter and Liam Grainger reduced the arrears to four points in the 57th minute which ensured a nervous finale ensued.

St James secured victory in sensational fashion however when Aaron Hayes unleashed a powerful drive to the roof of the net which propelled them to victory. The Saints weathered a late siege from their opponents as they march on to the county final.

Scorers for St James: A O’Shea 0-5 f, A Hayes 1-1, M McCarthy (D) 0-3, F Hayes, J O’Sullivan, J O’Sullivan 0-1 each.

St Michael’s: L Grainger 0-4, R Cotter 0-2, E O’Donovan, M O’Keeffe, A Nolan 0-1 each.

ST JAMES: D O’Donovan; M McCarthy, E Feen, J O’Sullivan; M McCarthy, K O’Leary, J O’Sullivan; P O’Sullivan, J O’Driscoll; A Hayes, J O’Sullivan, K O’Brien; F Hayes, M Evans, A O’Shea.

Subs: S O’Reilly for J O’Sullivan (27), C Hayes for M Evans (50), K O’Donovan for K O’Brien (52), I Evans for F Hayes (59).

ST MICHAEL'S: C Hartnett; R Coleman, J Cashman, T Murphy; S Holland, S Lenighan, D Corkery; I O’Keeffe, F Cronin; M Drommond, M O’Keeffe, A Nolan; R Cotter, E O’Donovan, L Grainger.

Subs: B Holland for F Cronin (40), D Hurley for S Lenighan (40), O Hanley for E O’Donovan (55), C Adams for J Cashman (58, BC).

Referee: John Ryan (Macroom).

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