(Captain Liam Murphy and his team-mates lifting the title aloft as the sun sets in the home of Galway football, Pearse Stadium).

“This one is for Alfie Howley”, captain Liam Murphy of  the St. James’ U13 team said as he lifted the under 13 ‘A’  county title aloft in Pearse Stadium. Howley, was the U13 biggest supporter up until his untimely passing last month. St James U13 ‘A’ footballers won the county ‘A’ championship final last week for the fourth time. Prior to the merger, Renmore won the title in 1986 and Mervue claimed the cup in 1987. Padraic Howley captained the Renmore team in 1986 and many players on the Mervue team had family connections with the current winners; including Kenneth Scanlon and club coaches Pat Crowley and Peter Mulrooney. All of the mentioned above were on that famous Mervue team of 1987.

(Conor Connelly of St. James’ with the opening score of the game). 

The club won this significant title in Pearse Stadium last Friday evening after an exciting contest against a much touted Oranmore/Maree side .St James’ had defeated Caherlistrane in the semi-final and Oranmore had accounted for Corofin to set up this eagerly awaited contest. There was no let-up in proceedings from the off with St James’ starting at a ferocious pace befitting of a final. Oisín Scanlon, Conor Conneely and Alan Corcoran were particularly potent up front for the Jimmies and registered key scores to race into a 4.0 lead. Oranmore settled and came back into proceedings with scores from David Casserly, Ronan Keating and the impressive Harry Glynn. The pace was frenetic with neither side giving an inch. St James’ were the better side in the opening half and deservedly went in 3 points to the good at half time.

(Oisín Scanlon added a tally of 2-5 in the final). 

There was rest in the second half. Oisín Scanlon who had an excellent final overall scored a fantastic goal at the start of the second half to push the James’s lads further ahead only for them to be pegged back once more by a tonic Oranmore goal in reply. The game ebbed and flowed at this juncture with Oranmore staying in touch. But in the championship quarter St James really began to show their quality. Scanlon again adding to his personal tally with some sublime scores. Oranmore were starting to struggle to gain a platform at midfield at this point and when Chris Fitzpatrick scored a goal after a sweeping St James move the game was all but over with 5 minutes left on the clock. Oranmore continued to press but found it hard against a resolute St. James’ defence. The referee, Muiris MacGearailt sounded the final whistle and the St. James’ lads could celebrate. All in all they deserved the victory.

(Ryan Connolly receiving the “Player of the Match” award from Sean Breathnach of Galway GAA).  

Liam Murphy the St James’ captain accepted the cup from Coiste na nÓg chairman Michael Ryder to rapturous applause. It was particularly poignant when Liam mentioned Alfie Howley the recently deceased club stalwart in his victory speech. The Jimmies had great performances in every line of the field. None more so than Niall McHugh who was imperious at full back marking Oranmore talisman Ronan Keating . McHugh was ably assisted by Dara McGrath and Evan Dilleen. In the half back line, Ryan Connolly who received the player of the match award had an outstanding evening with Alex Nolan, Finn O’Reilly and sub James Freeman also contributing handsomely. In midfield, Liam Kelly and Finn Lynagh worked extremely hard. In the half forward line, Alan Corcoran with 3 points, Liam Murphy with some excellent assists and Jamie de Paor who scored a crucial second half point were important to the cause all day. In the full forward line Oisín Scanlon with a personal tally of 2.5, Conor Conneely and Mark Allnutt all played a significant part in the victory. Subs also played their part like Tony O’ Brien and Oisín Gorham.