KOG hits hat-trick
Jimmies off the mark with fine win
This was the O'Hanlon/O'Grady show as the St. James' duo put Gusserane to the sword with a wonderful exhibition in this exciting Tom Doyle Supplies Senior football championship Group B game at O'Kenedy Park, New Ross, on Sunday.
St James' 3-10 Gusserane 1-10
While Kevin O'Grady will be hailed for his hat-trick of goals, it was the superb Matthew O'Hanlon in midfield who controlled this game, particularly in the second-half.
O'Grady's speed and skill in carrying the ball at pace tore gaping holes in the Gusserane defence, and his two second-half goals were superb pieces of finishing.
Gusserane started brightly with opening points from a Shane Cullen free and Seán Ryan, but O'Hanlon was already announcing himself on the scene with a huge 50-metre pointed free after eight minutes.
Shane Cullen added a point with a punched effort, but one of the game's changers arrived after 14 minutes.
Daniel Keating won possession to the right edge of the big square, turned and seemed to lose his footing, but referee John Diskin awarded a penalty much to the amazement of even neutral supporters, leaving Kevin O'Grady to send a powerful penalty to the bottom left-hand corner of the net and giving his side a 1-1 to 0-3 lead.
A Páraic Conway point had the sides level at the end of the opening quarter. After O'Grady and Seán Ryan traded points, referee Diskin again figured in another controversial decision when he black carded Adrian Redmond for a rather innocuous push, leaving O'Hanlon to point the resulting 40-metre free and give his side a 1-3 to 0-5 interval lead.
The second-half produced an incredible transformation as O'Grady stormed all over the Gusserane defence.
Within 60 seconds of the re-start he won possession and moved along the end line before cutting back out to create an angle to power home a superb left-footed goal.
Gusserane responded with points from Páraic Conway and Shane Cullen along with an Adrian Flynn 50-metre free, but after 37 minutes O'Hanlon lofted over a superb long-range left-footed point to restore his side's control.
St. James' were leading by 2-8 to 0-8 when O'Grady once again sprung on the scene, knifing his way through the Gusserane defence at speed before sending a low left-footed shot from 14 metres to the bottom left-hand corner of the net, pushing his side into what appeared an unassailable nine-point lead entering the final quarter.
Although Gusserane tried to force the game in the closing stages, all they had to show for their efforts was a Ken Cahill goal from a penalty six minutes from the end, but there was to be no denying St. James' their day as they recorded their first victory back at this level.
St. James': William Murphy; Paul Barron, Jason Barron, Greg Doyle; Daniel Keating, Robert Barron, Brian Molloy; Matthew O'Hanlon (0-3, 2 frees), Brendan Doyle; Emmett Dunning (0-1), Kevin O'Grady (3-4), Mark Molloy (0-2); Liam Murphy, Shane Murphy, David Doyle. Subs. - Donal Barron for Dunning, Tommy Walsh for S. Murphy.
Gusserane: David Kehoe; Cathal Somers, Adrian Redmond, Jack O'Connor; Robert Browne, Adrian Flynn (0-2, 1 free), Liam Dillon; Ken Cahill (1-0 pen.), Cillian Kehoe; Fintan Ryan, Graeme Cullen, Páraic Conway (0-2); Shane Cullen (0-4, 2 frees), Seán Ryan (0-2), Darragh Doyle. Subs. - Shane Doyle for O'Connor, Robert Corcoran for Redmond (black card), Jamie Cooney for Doyle, Philip Wallace for C. Kehoe, Jack O'Connor for F. Ryan.
Referee: John Diskin (Bannow-Ballymitty).