Great day for St. James' as they dump holders
Ramsgrange men reach last four at first attempt
Intense and exciting throughout, it took a divisive penalty call ten minutes from the end to swing this game St. James' way, and they went on to hold a late surge to shock holders St. Anne's in this Tom Doyle Supplies Senior football championship quarter-final at O'Kennedy Park, New Ross, on Saturday.
St.James' 1-12 St.Anne's 0-12
Referee David Jenkins, no stranger to controversy in recent weeks, contributed to the excitement when he deemed corner-forward Adam Parle to have been fouled as he made his way towards goal along the end-line.
Parle's carry was of the D.J. Carey variety, as he took a considerable amount of steps before colliding with a St. Anne's defender who appeared to stand his ground. However, making his call from a distance, the Gusserane official waved his arms for a penalty, and Kevin O'Grady goaled to give his side a 1-10 to 0-10 lead.
It was a tense battle for supremacy in a game that was hotly contested from the very start, with some excellent football and fielding from both sides.
And when the now deposed champions reflect back on this game, they will look at the many harsh calls that went against them. This was particularly apparent in the aerial battle involving Matthew O'Hanlon and Jonathan Fogarty, with the St. Anne's player - who punched numerous high balls down - being the subject of some harsh decisions, calls that influenced the St. Anne's style of play.
In the end though, there can be little disputing the merits of this St. James' display. In their first year back in Senior ranks, they have mixed the good and the ugly, only securing a quarter-final spot by a mere point on scoring difference.
But they reserved their best football for the big stage. They moved the ball at speed and played it direct, and this ploy troubled the St. Anne's defence.
However, it was the massive contribution of O'Hanlon, a man mountain in midfield, that inspired this historic victory for the club. They can now look forward to the semi-final with a degree of confidence while St. Anne's can only reflect on a fine performance that came up just short in the absence of their key attacker, the injured Redmond Barry.
At the end of the opening quarter, St. James' led by 0-3 to 0-2. After Diarmuid O'Keeffe opened the scoring, Kevin O'Grady (free) and Seán Gaul went on to exchange points, while Graeme Molloy and O'Grady (both frees) edged the eventual winners in front.
Both sides were contributing to some fine football with St. Anne's responding with Liam Rochford and Jack Murphy points, while Gaul (free) and a long effort from Matthew O'Hanlon left St. Anne's leading by 0-5 to 0-4 at the interval.
Within sixty seconds of the re-start, a Gaul free extended St. Anne's lead, before Adam Parle and a long-range Gaul effort exchanged scores.
St. James' then went on to hit a period of dominance with points from Kevin O'Grady and two huge O'Hanlon 50-metre frees pushing them into an 0-8 to 0-7 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Points from Shane Murphy and David Doyle extended that lead, before ten minutes from the end, O'Grady shot that penalty low to the net, although the diving Richard Cleary got a hand to the ball, giving his side a 1-10 to 0-7 lead.
The champions responded with four unanswered points through Diarmuid O'Keeffe, Aidan Rochford, Liam Rochford and a Gaul free to reduce the deficit to 1-10 to 0-11 with four minutes remaining.
Substitute Brian Molloy and Rory Stafford exchanged points but another O'Hanlon pointed free sealed St. James' semi-final spot.
St. James': John Ryan; Paul Barron, Jason Barron, Greg Doyle; David Doyle (0-1), Graeme Molloy (0-1 free), Robbie Barron; Brendan Doyle, Matthew O'Hanlon (0-4, 2 frees); Donal Barron, Shane Murphy (0-1), Dan Keating; Kevin O'Grady (1-3, 1-0 pen., 0-2 frees), Emmet Dunning, Adam Parle (0-1). Subs. - Brian Molloy (0-1) for Dunning, Liam Murphy for Parle, Tommy Walsh for S. Murphy.
St. Anne's: Richard Cleary; Páraic O'Keeffe, Tomás Cullen, Kenny Cloney; Seán Gaul (0-5, 3 frees), Cian McGovern, Aidan Rochford (0-1); Jonathan Fogarty, Rory Stafford (0-1); Kevin Hannigan, Diarmuid O'Keeffe (0-2), Liam Og McGovern; Mark Furlong, Liam Rochford (0-2), Jack Murphy (0-1). Subs. - David Fogarty for C. McGovern, Cian McGovern for Furlong, Finn O'Driscoll for Murphy.
Referee: David Jenkins (Gusserane).