What a difference from the Jimmies over 11 weeks
Published 20/10/2015 | 00:00
What a difference a few months can make in the development of a team. Eleven weeks ago St. Martin's dished out a 15-point hammering to St. James' in the league stages of the championship. The Jimmies only qualified for the quarter-finals by virtue of a one-point scoring advantage over their neighbours, Gusserane.
Last Saturday the Ramsgrange outfit exacted the ultimate revenge on their opponents and deservedly won their first-ever Tom Doyle Supplies Senior football title.
For the first ten minutes it seemed like the Piercestown men were going to over-run their opposition. They scored two unanswered points and recorded five wides before St. James' had created a decent attack.
However, the eventual winners weathered the storm and slowly grew in confidence and belief as they proceeded to gain a grip on midfield. Points from the impressive Adam Parle, Kevin O'Grady and Matthew O'Hanlon gave their team a one-point lead at half-time.
We expected a St. Martin's onslaught in the second-half and they got the perfect tonic with a penalty awarded after 15 seconds that was confidently despatched by Ciarán Lyng. However, St. James' responded brilliantly from this setback by scoring four unanswered points.
St. Martin's created loads of chances but a combination of poor finishing, wrong options and pressure from the Jimmies defence meant they never took the lead for the rest of the game. Despite being under pressure at times, the winners showed great composure and teamwork to hold out for an historic victory.
It's hard to believe but, 51 weeks after they won the Intermediate title they are amazingly Wexford Senior football champions, and the year has not ended yet as they are now striving for the double double.
It has been an amazing two years for the St. James' club and shows what can be achieved with a group of dedicated players who are willing to put in the hard work. Their astute management team also deserve great credit for the way the team was prepared and the tactics they employed on Saturday.
The big difference was that all of their main men performed at a high level. Graeme Molloy and Kevin O'Grady showed their class while captain Brendan Doyle pushed the outstanding Matthew O'Hanlon close for the man of the match award.
The spirit in the team is only improved by having four Barron brothers and three Molloys - two brothers and their cousin - all working hard for each other. Adam Parle has been a revelation this season and he was a constant threat throughout the game on Saturday.
Congratulations to Glynn-Barntown who held out to win the Intermediate title, despatching the horrible memories of last year's heartbreaking loss. It was a performance full of spirit as they survived a Bannow onslaught despite playing three-quarters of the game with 14 players. They then had to play in the Leinster Club championship on Sunday and recorded an impressive win over their Louth opponents. It was the perfect antidote to the previous week's hurling disappointment.
Last week we had all the hype and the eventual disappointment of the rugby World Cup along with the damp squib soccer match between Poland and Ireland. Sandwiched in between was an amazing performance by the Irish boxing team in the World Championships. A gold, silver and bronze medal made it the most successful for Ireland in the 42-year history of the tournament.
The team finished fourth in the medal table out of 69 countries competing. Out of a team of seven boxers and three coaches, Wexford had Dean Walsh, Adam Nolan, Eddie Bolger and Billy Walsh as part of this historic occasion which is a tremendous achievement.
Incidentally, last weekend Naomh Eanna returned to Senior hurling after a ten-year absence. The last man to train them to the Intermediate title in 2001 was none other than Irish boxing coach Billy Walsh.