James’ Prevail in Junior A Championship Showdown

September 26th, 2017 | by stjamesgaa
James’ Prevail in Junior A Championship Showdown
Club News

Last Sunday in Pearse Stadium, St. James’ and Barna met in the Junior A West Board Championship final. This game was a close encounter and nothing separated the teams until the final quarter of the game. It was Barna who opened the game on top with two well executed points coming from forwards Ross Murphy and Conor Curran. Barna were very impressive in the opening half and took their scores well. In contrast, James’ too played a good brand of football and their kick passing was refreshing to witness, notably in the second half. The James’ midfielders opened the scoring for their side and among these players were Ruairi McCann and Josh MacFarlane. Furthermore, Conor Curran of Barna kept plugging away at the score board and he upped the tempo in attack. The Jimmies found it very difficult to keep up tabs with him. In the opening quarter James’ were finding it difficult to find a pattern of play and they eventually managed to score a couple of consecutive points in the final quarter of the first half. Among the scorers were Alan Hanley, Paddy McKernon and Darragh Lundy. Barna’ missed a lot of scoring chances before the interval and the margin could have been a lot more than the scoreboard read at halt-time. The teams were level at the break with all to play for in the second period.

The return of the injured Ruairi McCann boosted the James’ midfield line and McCann fielded excellent ball and it must be noted that he played a pivotal role for James’ in this game. Both teams locked horns, set to do battle in the second half and again it was Barna who took the lead. The James’ goalkeeper misread a ball and it ended up in the back of his own net. Barna now had the advantage and looked like they were going to press on. Nonetheless, James’ clawed their way back into the game and added a tally of scores which brought the sides level with 15 minutes remaining on the clock. Centre back Shane Gillespie and Sean Byrne worked very hard for the city outfit and their influence on the game helped James’ a lot. Barna full-back Eoin McDonagh had an exceptional game in defense. He kept tight grips with James’ full forward Ronan O’Connell. Although O’Connell managed to score 3 points in the second half, McDonagh could not have done anything about O’Connell executions as they were outstanding scores to say the least.

Donal Folan of Barna scored an excellent point from play to level the game in the last 10 minutes. When Barna did something good, the jimmies were quick to respond and Sean Boyle from the Renmore/Mervue club raised the umpire’s white flag to extend the Jimmies lead with only several minutes remaining on the clock. It must be noted that the James’ bench made a big impact on the game and the introduction of Cillian Breathnach, Robert Carroll and Ryan Doherty was the talking point. Breathnach sealed the win when he popped up with the winning goal and quickly after he added a consecutive score, 1-1 in total in space of 10 minutes. Barna managed to score a couple consolation points in the final minute to narrow the deficit to six points. However, it was too late for the orange men and referee Noel Gorham blew the final whistle and it was the jimmies who emerged winners from this finale. James’ had a lot of good players on the day and one would have to look at their defense. In goals was Nigel Walsh and he had a very good game. The defense was also on top form was Patrick O’Connor, Emmett Lee, Sean Byrne, Patrick McKernon, Shane Gillespie and Gary Farrell. Ruairi McCann and Josh MacFarlane were very good in the middle of the park and in the forward line players like Ronan O’Connell, Robert Carroll, Darragh Lundy, Robert Wynne, Sean Boyle, Alan Hanley, Ryan Doherty, Cillian Breathnach and Keith Jordan all stood out. In contrast Barna had good players in Eoin McDonagh, Daniel Cleary, Robbie Curran, Conor Keenan, Ross Murphy, Conor Curran and Donal Folan. This is the first title captured by the Jimmies at junior level since 2011.

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