'Treble' for Jimmies
GAA division 1: St James' 1-14 - Horeswood 1-9
Kevin O'Grady kicked eight second-half points as St. James' came out victorious against hosts Horeswood in one of the most meaningful games in Wexford football history on Saturday.
There have, naturally, been hundreds of more important games. Yet seldom do two teams take part in a contest that has three outcomes.
By winning the tie the Ramsgrange side opened their All-County League Division 1 campaign with a victory, claimed the 2018 Tommy Murphy Cup, and also advanced to the final of the 2019 edition of the New Ross District pre-season tournament.
Fran Fitzhenry's side were always in control against their neighbours.
Horeswood did rally towards the end to get back within two points, but the result paints a fairly honest picture of how this went as a whole.
St. James' look almost championship ready. They were crisper, they played with greater focus, and they had an impressive intensity about their game. They set their stall out in the opening minutes and built a 1-2 to nil lead.
Shane Murphy and Greg Doyle knocked over points before Tomás Walsh volleyed home Graeme Molloy's knockdown of O'Grady's long ball in the tenth minute as St. James' purred from the off.
Leigh O'Brien's men rallied with four points in five minutes straddling the midway point in the half, with Jamie Myler (two), Collie Nolan and Eric Banville on target, but when former St. James' man Myler went over on his ankle and moved inside they quickly lost the focal point of their attacks.
The Jimmies finished the half stronger, pointed through Darragh Lyons and O'Grady, and were denied a second major when Conor Swaine saved Tomás Walsh's low shot after he broke through on goal.
They still led by 1-5 to 0-4 and increased that advantage to six by the 43rd minute, thanks in part to three O'Grady points.
Horeswood got themselves back into the contest when Seán Nolan found the net with his left boot at the end of the third quarter.
Twice O'Grady extended the lead to four, but minors by Myler (two) and Eoin Murphy made the score 1-11 to 1-9 with three minutes remaining.
Fouling had proved the best way of stopping O'Grady earlier in the half, but as legs wilted that became even harder and he kicked three late points from play to cement a deserved St. James' victory.
St. James': John Ryan; Daniel Keating, Paul Barron, David Doyle; Darragh Lyons (capt., 0-2, 1 free), Shane Murphy (0-1), Brian Molloy; Robbie Barron, Alan Walsh; Kevin O'Grady (0-9, 4 frees, 1 '45), Brendan Doyle, Donal Barron; Tomás Walsh (1-1), Graeme Molloy, Greg Doyle (0-1). Subs. - Liam Murphy for A. Walsh (31), Conor Crosbie for Lyons, black card (49), James Walsh for D. Barron (51), Robert Murphy for T. Walsh, inj. (52), Philly Molloy for R. Murphy, black card (60).
Horeswood: Conor Swaine (capt.); Kevin Parker, Seán Stafford, David Murphy; Eamonn O'Sullivan, Jack Kehoe, Barry Hearn; Shane O'Hanlon, David Larkin; Collie Nolan (0-1), Jamie Myler (0-5, 2 frees), Eoin Murphy (0-1); Dale Flynn (0-1), Eric Banville (0-1), Seán Nolan (1-0). Subs. - Brian Kehoe for D. Murphy (36), John Bradley for Flynn (43), Michael O'Hanlon for S. O'Hanlon (45), Eddie Breen for C. Nolan (46), Dean Roberts for O'Sullivan (59).
Referee: David Jenkins (Gusserane).
Other Division 1 results: Shelmaliers 3-9, Kilanerin 1-11; Gusserane 1-8, Fethard 1-7; St. Anne's 4-5, Castletown 0-10; Glynn-Barntown 3-15, Sarsfields 0-9; St. Martin's v. Starlights (postponed).