Fifteen days is a long time in sport…

This time last month we were reporting of the exciting times ahead in White’s Cross GAA, as the club faced into three Championship Semi-Finals at Adult Grade. Our Minor footballers were scheduled to face Bishopstown after a thrilling quarter final victory over Brian Dillons. Our Second Junior side sized up against Ballyphehane in the Junior B Championship Semi-Final after three successful outings in the competition. Finally our Junior A side were down to play St. Michaels in the Semi-Final of the Junior A Championship having successfully negotiated four games to reach that stage. However all in a period of 15 days the dreams of a season, … in fact the dreams of 48 years, were shattered. The Junior B side were the first of these sides in action. This was a team with high expectations having ended the interests of Ballinure, Passage and Nemo Rangers in the championship. However on the night they floundered against a good Ballyphehane side who subsequently went on to win the final of this championship. With Roy O Driscoll, Colm Sheahan and Derek O Connor all out of the country, and Sean Gorman, Edwin Buckley, Donal Kelly and Kevin Buckley all re-graded to the A-side since the Nemo victory the strength in depth of this squad was always going to be truly tested. However in our final league game prior to this championship clash disaster struck. Away to Crosshaven, the game ended up being abandoned as corner-forward Philip O’ Connell had to be taken from the grounds in ambulance with a back injury. Earlier in that game full-back and captain Robert O’ Brien and midfielder Martin Kelleher both had to be substituted with injuries. To compound matters Eoghan Kelleher picked up a leg injury the following day while training. While all but one of the above started the semi-final game ten days later, each was noticeably hampered by their injuries. In the end, despite the best efforts of Colin Lawless, Padraig Murnane, and Tomas Meade, Ballyphehane ran out deserving winners. Incidentally and thankfully, Philip’s injuries did not prove as serious as initially feared and thankfully he is well on the way to recovery. The Junior A side had a well merited 1-11 to 1-4 victory over St. Michaels in their semi-final to reach the final of this competition for the first time in the Club’s history. This was given plenty attention in the local press in the days leading up to the final against Na Piarsaigh. This ensured that despite the bad weather, a huge crowd turned up at Ballinlough for the final. However as you will know at this stage the day ended in disappointment for White’s Cross with Na Piarsaigh winning out 1-9 to 0-6. The superior physical size of the Na Piarsaigh lads suited the greasy conditions, plus an experience of the big day perhaps, helping them fashion out victory. However the White’s Cross lads can hold their heads high and hopefully this experience will stand to us in the not too distant future. Meantime we thank the fantastic support we received in Championship 2005 and wish Na Piarsaigh the very best, as they now go forward to represent the division in the County Championship. We also acknowledge the vital contribution of Des Cullinane who guided our team to this final, in his first year in charge. The minor charges of Paul Noonan, Jonathan Kenneally and Brendan O’ Sullivan, fresh from their excellent win over Brian Dillons at the quarter final bowed out of the championship to Bishopstown the following Wednesday at Mayfield. Again played in dreadful weather, the five point lead at the break our lads commanded, was insufficient as we had played with wind advantage in the first thirty. However Paul O Sullivan, Brendain Murnane, Brian Conway, Olan Aherne, Brian Cahill, Richard Sherlock, Ian Kavanagh and co. can all hold their heads high after a battling performance.