It is hard to believe but the defence of our Junior A championship crown has already begun! With the historic breakthrough last year still very fresh in the minds, our first team were pitted against St. Michaels, while our second team who had almost pulled off a championship double in 2006 for the club, only to be defeated in the final, were drawn against Brian Dillons. Thirteen teams compete it out for the honours in both the A and B championships. However while there is a ‘back-door’ option available to teams in the A Grade who lose their opening round games, no such facility is available in the B Grade which continues on a straight knock-out basis.
Junior A Football Championship
White’s Cross 2-14 St. Michaels 2-4
The first White’s Cross team illustrated in this opening round clash that they have lost none of the hunger that saw them win last year’s competition, with this comprehensive defeat of St. Michaels at Ballinlough. However the team will be the first to acknowledge that much stiffer challenges lie ahead, as a poor Michaels outfit appeared content to take the backdoor route. The scorers in chief in this win were berthed in the full forward line. Full-forward Conor Kelleher opened the scoring with an early point, and added two further points in the first half, but it was the men either side of him who did the damage over the hour. Bryan O’ Sullivan kicked some delightful scores in his five point haul, while Edwin Buckley notched up two goals and three points.
Elsewhere John O’ Connell, Eoin Murnane and John Drummy performed well in the central positions, and John Meade and Sean Gorman can also look back on their performances with satisfaction.
We now by-pass Round Two of the competition, where the ‘back-door’ series of games take place, and the remaining teams are put into the hat for the following round of ties.
Junior B Football Championship
White’s Cross 0-9 Brian Dillons 0-7
A sudden break in the run of fine weather at the end of April made for a dour hour of football in this championship clash with our near neighbours. Buoyed on by the inclusion of a number of A panellists, available to play with this team as they had not played in the previous A encounter, we ground out a commendable victory. Indeed the experience of these players including Rick Burke, Martin Kelleher, Jonathan Kenneally, Sean and Breandán Murnane, all of whom had won championship medals at the higher level in 2006, showed in the final fifteen minutes of this win. However it would be incorrect to state these lads should take all the plaudits as it was very much a huge effort from all the eighteen players who tool to the field over the hour.
Captain Padraig Murnane was always in charge in the full-back position, with Thomas Meade and championship debutant Don O’ Regan always in control in defence. In the wet conditions that prevailed a dependable free-taker would prove a huge asset, and Eoghan Kelleher certainly did not disappoint, as he kicked over four fine scores. Similarly a strong bench would prove an asset, and the half time introduction of midfielder Breandán Murnae, was a major catalyst in changing defeat into victory. Having trailed by 5 points to 3 at the short whistle, Murnane came into the fray to give the Cross a decisive edge at midfield, and kicked over two fine points.
For the record corner forwards Damian Kenneally (2) and Colin Lawless kicked the other three White’s Cross points in a well-merited victory.
Team: Aidan Harte, Thomas Meade, Padraig Murnane (Captain), Sean Murnane, Don O Regan, Martin Kelleher, Brian Murphy, Rick Burke, Jonathan Kenneally, Michael Meade, Eoghan Kelleher (0-4), Michéal Brosnan, Colin Lawless (0-1), Alf McEvoy, Damian Kenneally (0-2).
Subs: Breandán Murnane, John Hegarty, Derek O Connor