Ballymurn boys win again
They might be short of numbers but there's no shortage of trophies in Crossabeg-Ballymurn after they powered past St. James' to take the New Ross Standard Under-14 football Division 2 championship in Taghmon on Monday of last week.
Crossabeg-Ballymurn 2-13 St. James’ 2-5
With a squad of just 17, many clubs would look to take their chances in the 13-a-side Division 5, knowing they wouldn't always have their full complement. However, the champions showed what could be achieved with a small but committed and talented bunch.
This trophy came just 15 days after the same group of players beat St. Anne's to take the New Ross Standard Under-14 hurling Division 3 championship, making it a truly memorable year for the young men of the club.
They could easily have got frustrated and lost this game. St. James' were under pressure from the start but proved they had plenty of talent themselves by nabbing goals when the opportunities arose.
The first chance came in the opening minute and it was taken with aplomb.
The opening goal was all about the pace and finishing ability of Sam Wallace. The Ramsgrange attacker burst through the heart of the Crossabeg-Ballymurn defence and drilled an unstoppable finish past Tadhg English.
Unperturbed, the Wexford District side went on a run of seven points in nine minutes as they showed their quality.
Conor Bernard was unerring from frees and kicked three of those points, Aaron Cummins knocked over a brace, and Cian Kinlough also registered.
Yet the best of the septet was the final one, coming in the 13th minute. Joe Kelly found himself inside the James' half, just inside the '45, and took a chance. It was a cracking strike that sailed over the crossbar.
Just when it looked like Crossabeg-Ballymurn would pull away, their determined opponents responded. Darragh McPhillips knocked a long-range free into the goalmouth, and it broke to Wallace who made no mistake from close range, smashing to the net.
While Wallace added a late point, the Over The Water lads managed to find three more. Cummins, Patrick Redmond and Bernard were all on target as their club went in at the break a goal ahead (0-10 to 2-1). Meanwhile, Josh White-Keating was sin-binned before the break, adding to the St. James' woes.
When Brody Murphy lofted over a nice score to start the second-half, it looked like the flow of the game would continue. St. James' had other ideas as Callum Gamble and McPhillips hit the target to pull their side within two.
The next goal was always going to prove vital and it came when Aaron Cummins' long-range strike found the net six minutes into the second-half.
They had a chance for another shortly after but Brody Murphy side-footed a penalty wide.
After Keelan Foley pointed to put four between the sides with ten minutes remaining, Crossabeg-Ballymurn wasted little time in hitting back. Patrick Redmond coolly fired a penalty to the James' net, low to his left.
Josh White-Keating kicked a nice free but it didn't stir a revival. Crossabeg-Ballymurn finished in the ascendancy, kicking scores from Cian Kinlough and Cummins to wrap up a memorable double for this superb set of players.
Crossabeg-Ballymurn: Tadhg English; Shane Walker, Josh Waldron, Adam O'Brien; Shane Cullen, Joe Kelly (0-1), Conor Bernard (0-4 frees); Brody Murphy (0-1), Aaron Cummins (capt., 1-4); Cian Kinlough (0-2), Patrick Redmond (1-1, 1-0 pen.), Seán Walsh; Nick Scallan, Cian Walsh, Mark White. Subs. - Michael O'Connor for Scallan (37), also Adam Murphy.
St. James': Shane Dunne; James Nolan, Daniel Behan, Alfie Eite; Ben McPhillips, Pádraig Barron, Mark Whitty; Keelan Foley (capt., 0-1), Rory Lynch; Darragh McPhillips (0-1 free), Sam Wallace (2-1), Tomás Barron; Callum Gamble (0-1), Josh White-Keating (0-1 free), Colum Fitzgerald. Subs. - Peadar O'Connor for Fitzgerald (37), Ciarán McPhillips for Gamble (46), also Joe McPhillips, Harry McPhillips, Jack Moore, Adam Shannon.
Referee: Aiden O'Brien (Cloughbawn).