Jimmies march on
Duffry pipped in replayed encounter
Only the bare minimum separated the sides as they met in this Top Oil Intermediate 'A' hurling championship semi-final replay, with St. James' just pulling away from Duffry Rovers in the final minutes of this thrilling game in St. Patrick's Park on Saturday.
St. James' 0-15 Duffry Rovers 0-14
This was a real ding-dong battle with never more than a point between the sides, until St. James' finished their chances a little more clinically in the final exchanges and booked a final meeting with neighbours Fethard.
St. James' looked a little bit sharper early on in the game as they earned a two-point lead after nine minutes with points from midfielders Robbie Barron and Mark Molloy, and one from Shane Murphy, after Johnny-Flynn O'Connor had opened the scoring for Duffry Rovers.
That advantage then swung in the Duffry's favour over the next nine minutes as they went a point clear thanks to O'Connor, Liam Pender and Jason Rackard.
A number of point-for-point exchanges followed during some dogged hurling from both sides as scores form Rackard, Eamonn Doyle and Donie O'Connor were answered by St. James chief marksman, Shane Murphy, to leave the sides level at half-time.
It was impossible to pick a winner at this stage and that would be the case for the majority of the second-half also as scores from either side were duly answered in a fine display from both teams. This led to dramatic scenes going into the final two minutes when Alan O'Neill levelled matters once more.
But then St. James' seemed to hold it together a little better and looked competent as they secured a two-point lead thanks to Murphy.
With one last gallant attack Duffry Rovers looked for a winning goal but had to make do with a point in a crushing defeat, leaving the saints marching on to the final for the second year running after last year's narrow loss to Monageer-Boolavogue.
St. James': Luke Murphy; Brian Molloy, Jason Barron, David Doyle; Liam Murphy, Matthew O'Hanlon (0-2 frees), Paul Barron; Robbie Barron (0-1), Mark Molloy (0-2); Alan Walsh, Kevin O'Grady (0-2), Andy Walsh (0-1); Shane Murphy (0-7, 5 frees), Graeme Molloy, Mark Myler. Subs. - Jack O'Brien for Myler, Donie Barron for Alan Walsh.
Duffry Rovers: Stephen Watchorn; Craig Casey, Paul Nolan, James Nolan; Thomas Dunne, James Codd, Aidan Byrne; Johnny Flynn-O'Connor (0-2), Robert Frayne; Liam Pender (0-3, 1 free), Eamonn Doyle (0-3), Jim O'Neill, Donie O'Connor (0-1), Jason Rackard (0-3, 2 frees), Alan O'Neill (0-2). Subs. - Matthew Flynn-O'Connor for J. Nolan, Joe Coleman for J. O'Neill, Barry O'Neill for Rackard.
Referee: James Flood (St. Mary's, Maudlintown).