Saints march to East Cork ti­tle

Irish Examiner - County - - Sport - Derek Kiely

ST CATHER­INE’S brought the Jame­sey Kelle­her Cup back to Bal­ly­noe for the fourth time in the club’s his­tory as they were crowned East Cork Oil Ju­nior A Hurl­ing Cham­pi­ons fol­low­ing their five point vic­tory over Rus­sell Rovers last Saturday af­ter­noon in Mi­dle­ton.

It was def­i­nitely a novel pair­ing which drew a huge crowd to Mi­dle­ton with Rus­sell Rovers go­ing for their first fi­nal vic­tory in the grade.

St Cather­ine’s, who suf­fered a fi­nal de­feat to Sars­fields last year, were de­ter­mined to make amends and go one bet­ter in search of a fourth ti­tle in East Cork.

Just like Gal­way, who got off to a flier against Water­ford in the All-Ire­land fi­nal, the Saints started off well with a Shane O’Brien ‘65’.

Then a goal from out of the blue from a well worked move in from the right wing, where Shane O’Brien set up Brian Mulc­ahy, who passed su­perbly to Richard O’Connell, who pow­ered the ball home for the game’s only goal.

Josh Beau­sang sent over a free for Rovers and then the Bud Hart­nett raised a white flag from play.

But the goal would prove de­ci­sive through­out the fi­nal and St Cather­ine’s seemed able to re­act ev­ery time Rus­sell Rovers put up a cou­ple of scores and Shane O’Brien sent over two frees for the Saints with­out re­ply into what was a sig­nif­i­cant breeze to re­store the four point ad­van­tage.

Frees were a key in­gre­di­ent in the match and Beau­sang sent over two late scores for Rovers and O’Brien re­sponded with one for St Cather­ine’s to leave his side lead­ing by three points at the short whis­tle.

The team talk at half time in the Rus­sell Rovers dress­ing room must have been good be­cause when they re­turned to the field in the sec­ond half they were cer­tainly fired up and sent over two early sec­ond half scores from Beau­sang from play to leave the min­i­mum be­tween the sides.

How­ever, St Cather­ine’s con­trolled the sit­u­a­tion well and O’Brien pointed yet an­other free and Rory Galvin scored to yet again give St Cather­ine’s the three point cush­ion.

Back came Beau­sang with an­other score from play and again the re­sponse from St Cather­ine’s was lethal with Daniel Man­gan and Shane Kear­ney scor­ing from play.

Hart­nett sent over a fine score in the 43rd minute to keep Rus­sell Rovers hopes alive, but now Man­gan was get­ting a lit­tle more free­dom for the Saints in the mid­dle and struck over an­other ex­cel­lent point from play.

As the fi­nal reached the last seven min­utes the ever re­liant Josh Beau­sang was on tar­get with an­other pin point ac­cu­rate free, but it was to be Rovers last score of the fi­nal and as the game drew to a con­clu­sion St Cather­ine’s fin­ished with a flour­ish through the ex­cel­lent Shane O’Brien adding a brace of pointed frees to his tally and sec­ond half sub­sti­tute Pa Roche fin­ished things up with a well-taken point in the 59th minute.

Rovers need­ing two goals, did get two very late frees where Beau­sang had the dif­fi­cult task on both oc­ca­sions of try­ing to find his way through a lined St Cather­ine’s goal line and when Arthur Mur­phy blew the fi­nal whis­tle it would be hard to ar­gue with the re­sult. It cer­tainly wasn’t a clas­sic fi­nal and the hurl­ing was scrappy at times, but that won’t bother St. Cather­ines in the slight­est as they con­tinue on into the Cork County cham­pi­onship along with Rus­sell Rovers.

In re­cent year’s Imokilly based teams like Castle­mar­tyr, Dun­gour­ney and Sars­fields have gone on to win County ti­tles and there is no rea­son for this trend not to con­tinue in the cham­pi­onship where in East Cork, the Saints go march­ing on and they will fancy their chances of mak­ing an im­pact in the county stages in the com­ing weeks.

But for now, they can bask in the glory of this suc­cess.

St Cather­ine’s cel­e­brate their vic­tory over Rus­sell Rovers in the East Cork JAHC fi­nal in Mi­dle­ton.

St Cather­ine’s play­ers are mobbed by their sup­port­ers af­ter de­feat­ing Rus­sell Rovers in the East Cork JAHC fi­nal in Mi­dle­ton.

East Cork Board chair­man Richard Fitzger­ald presents the cup to St Cather­ine’s cap­tain Daniel Man­gan, af­ter they de­feated Rus­sell Rovers in the East Cork JAHC fi­nal in Mi­dle­ton.

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