St. James' reach yet another final
St. James' overcame a woeful first 18 minutes to see off spirited hosts Rathgarogue-Cushinstown in the New Ross District Under-21 football Roinn 1 championship semi-final on Friday.
St. James' 2-14 R'garogue-C'town 3-4
The home side sprang out of the blocks and led by 3-3 to 1-1 after a fantastic opening, but the Ramsgrange boys slowly found their feet and dominated the second-half to book their place in the District decider.
With a squad laced with Senior players, the visitors came into the game as warm favourites. Eight of those involved in the club's last Senior outing - the Leinster tie against Killoe - started this game, albeit not in the fashion they might have drawn up prior to throw-in.
The game was tied at 0-1 each when Aaron Ryan's quick free sent Patrick Murphy away to bag Rathgarogue-Cushinstown's first goal. However, a stretching Michael O'Grady fisted Brian Molloy's searching ball to the rigging to hit right back.
When Adam Parle ghosted in and shot past Johnny Kelly, Colm Murphy got back to clear off the line and that let-off gave Rathgarogue-Cushinstown a jolt of confidence as they scored 2-1 in the next four minutes to move eight points clear.
Daire Bolger nabbed the first of those two quick-fire majors after Seán Kehoe's pass was fumbled in his direction.
Then Jason Dunne hauled in a Simon Murphy kick-out and drove right through the middle of the defence to net.
From 3-3 to 1-1 ahead after 18 minutes, Rathgarogue-Cushinstown managed just one 40th-minute Ryan free in the remainder of the game as St. James' powered forward.
Points from Molloy and Parle (two) narrowed the deficit to five at the interval (3-3 to 1-4), and it was cut further with scores from John Power, Parle (two) and Darragh Lyons in the third quarter.
When Molloy's ball in broke to Tomás Walsh and he drilled past Kelly in the 47th minute, St. James' had their first lead of the night. From that point on the visitors added six unanswered points to book their final spot by a scoreline that didn't tell the whole story.
St. James': Simon Murphy; Conor Crosbie, Enda Crosbie, John Power (0-1); Rob Murphy, Daniel Keating, Tomás Walsh (1-0); Darragh Lyons (0-1), Brian Molloy (capt., 0-2); Andrew Walsh (0-1), Shane Murphy, Alan Walsh; Michael O'Grady (1-2), Adam Parle (0-7, 5 frees), Jamie Doran. Subs. - Adam Prendergast for Alan Walsh, inj. (23), Morgan White for Shane Murphy, inj. (27).
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown: Johnny Kelly; Ian Kennedy, Peadar Cody, Colm Murphy; Liam O'Shea, Robert Murphy (capt.), Patrick Murphy (1-0); Mark Carroll, Jason Dunne (1-0); Tadhg Cody, Garrett Browne (0-1), Daire Bolger (1-0); Seán Kehoe, Barry Murphy, Aaron Ryan (0-3, 2 frees). Subs. - John O'Keeffe for P. Murphy, black card (42), John Forrestal for Kennedy (60+2), Jack McGrath for Kehoe (60+2).
Referee: John Tobin (Geraldine O'Hanrahans).