The Joe O’ Callaghan Perpetual Cup

Back in 2007, when White’s Cross GAA put forward a new trophy to honour one of the Club’s greatest stalwarts, to replace the existing Seandún Junior A Football Championship trophy, they had secret hopes of getting their hands back on it soon.  That target was reached in 2008 when we were crowned Junior A Football Champions for only the second time in the Club’s history.  Now that we have had our hands on the Cup we are slow to part company, and are trying our utmost to keep this Cup in its rightful home for a second twelve month stint.  We can make this claim to ownership because of course Joe O Callaghan (RIP) was the heartbeat of White’s Cross GAA for many a long year.

The team has again qualified for the divisional championship final, now sponsored by the Silversprings Moran Hotel, where a tough battle lies ahead with the league champions of 2008, St Finbarrs.  It is the fourth time in the past five years that White’s Cross have reached the final stage of the championship, but under the stewardship of Finbarr Kiely, this side seem as intent as ever on success.  However the Togher club is on a real crest of a wave in recent times, and have made very steady progress with the big ball in recent years, culminating of course in their Senior side qualifying for the 2009 Senior County Final.  Thus our lads will have to be at their very best to see off the challenge of the Barrs second side, and the championship victory over the same opposition will count for very little on final day.  This was a lesson harshly learnt by our own county senior footballers in their recent joust with the Kingdom.

As mentioned, White’s Cross opened this year’s championship campaign with a win over St. Finbarrs, back in May on a 1-8 to 0-10 scoreline.  Thus the Barrs had to avail of the back-door and this they did to the optimum.  Initially they accounted for St Michaels with a facile victory 3-9 to 0-3.  They followed this up with a 2-10 to 0-14 victory over Douglas, albeit after a replay.  This qualified them for a semi-final pairing with St. Nicholas where once more they really turned on the style and won out very comprehensively 3-15 to 0-7. 

Meantime our first-round success allowed us by-pass the back-door games and into a quarter final clash with Brian Dillons where we won out, 0-12 to 0-8.  This paved the way for a repeat of last years final pairing, and another joust with Nemo Rangers.  However the Nemo side of 2009 was a different beast from that of 2008.  With former Cork star Joe Kavanagh taking the role of captain, it seemed that some of their fromer senior greats including John Paul O Neill and David Niblock, decided to ply their trade at Junior grade.

Indeed when Nemo’s Shane Horgan kicked his fourth free in the 56th minute to tie the game at nine points a-piece, it looked as though the reigning champions were about to be undone by our own failings in front of goal. Fourteen wides in total, many of them from good scoring positions, meant that White’s Cross had failed to kill off their opponents. Up stepped midfielder Denis O’Regan however and his point in the 58thminute was the difference between the teams at the final whistle. 

According to independent news reporters commenting on the game White’s Cross were the better team through-out. Eoin Murnane led by example from centre-back and brought the ball forward at every opportunity. Murt Kelleher had a superb sixty minutes also and his surging runs from midfield caused the Nemo defence huge problems. Up front Edwin Buckley was a constant threat in the inside forward line.

Nemo for their part lacked the firepower upfront to really trouble their opponents. They could only manage three points from play over the course of the game, two of them from the boot of veteran Kavanagh. 

White’s Cross started the better and Edwin Buckley was unlucky to see his shot come back from the crossbar in the second minute. We had another goal opportunity in the 20thminute. This time the chance fell to Donnacha Murnane, but his shot was saved by McNally in the Nemo goal. The follow up from Stuart Kiely was somehow blocked by Leonard McCarthy and Nemo survived. 

A good run and score from Edwin Buckley had Cross three clear with fifteen minutes remaining, but three Nemo frees had them back on level terms by the 56th minute. O’Regan’s winner was enough to take Whites Cross to the 2009 final.  

The final takes place in Ballinlough on Sunday, October 4th at 4pm.

Under-Age Matters

After the summer recess, under-age training has recommenced each Sunday morning at the Club grounds from 11am to 12pm.  This training is open to both boys and girls between 5 and 11 years and new players are always welcome.  These sessions will include both football and hurling coaching over the coming weeks.  Enquiries to Conor at 087-6293430. 

Our Under 8’s were first into action post the summer break, when they participated in a blitz at Kerry Pike recently.  The other teams participating were Gleann na Laoi and Delanys.  In the first game of the morning our side were pitted against our neighbours from Dublin Hill.  Inspired by the great booming clearances of Cathal O Flynn, and the tireless running of midfielders Gavin Cronin and Luke Murphy we ran out winners.  Although starting hesitantly, once the forward play of Emma Coffey, Jack O Callaghan and Jack Casey clicked into gear, there was only going to be one winner.  In the second game of the day it was tigerish defending from Orla Coffey, Aaron Wallace, Martha Quain, Katelyn Hall and Robbie O Driscoll, ensured Mark Wallace had a quiet time in goal.  At the other end the crucial scores came from Peter Twomey and Cian O Brien.  

Afterwards our winning side were presented with their medals and some well-earned refreshments.  It was just the tonic that was needed to kick off the second half of the playing year! 

JAFC Semi-Final: Whites Cross 0-10 Nemo Rangers 0-09

JAFC Semi-Final: Whites Cross 0-10 Nemo Rangers 0-09

14/09/2009
Report from Evening Echo 14th Septemeber

Whites Cross 0-10 Nemo Rangers 0-09

Whites Cross remain on course to retain their Silversprings Moran Hotel sponsored Seandun Junior A Football title after they defeated Nemo Rangers in the first semi-final by the narrowest of margins in Ballinlough on Sunday morning.

When Nemo’s Shane Horgan kicked his fourth free in the 56th minute to tie the game at nine points a-piece, it looked as though the reigning champions were about to be undone by their own failings in front of goal. Fourteen wides in total, many of them from good scoring positions, meant that Whites Cross had failed to kill off their opponents. Up stepped midfielder Denis O’Regan however and his point in the 58th minute was the difference between the teams at the final whistle.

In truth Whites Cross were the better team through-out. Eoin Murnane led by example from center-back and brought the ball forward at every opportunity. Murt Kelleher had a superb sixty minutes also and his surging runs from midfield caused the Nemo defence huge problems. Up front Edwin Buckley was a constant threat in the inside forward line.

Nemo for their part lacked the firepower upfront to really trouble their opponents. They could only manage three points from play over the course of the game, two of them from the boot of veteran Joe Kavanagh.

Whites Cross started the better and Edwin Buckley was unlucky to see his shot come back from the crossbar in the second minute. Cross had another goal opportunity in the 20thminute. This time the chance fell to Donnacha Murnane, but his shot was saved by McNally in the Nemo goal. The follow up from Stuart Kiely was somehow blocked by Leonard McCarthy and Nemo survived.

A good run and score from Edwin Buckley had Cross three clear with fifteen minutes remaining, but three Nemo frees had them back on level terms by the 56th minute. O’Regan’s winner was enough to take Whites Cross to the 2009 final, where they will play the winners of St Finbarrs and St Nicholas which will also be played in Ballinlough at 6:15 this evening.

Scorers for Whites Cross: E Buckley 0-3(0-1F), D Murnane(0-1F), P O’Brien 0-2 each, M Kelleher, D O’Regan, K Buckley 0-1 each

Nemo Rangers: S Horgan(0-4F), J Kavanagh(0-2F) 0-4 each, P Hogan 0-1

Whites Cross: B Sheehan; S Murnane, J O’Connell, S O’Gorman; D Kiely, E Murnane, J Drummy; M Kelleher, D O’Regan; C Buckley, K Buckley, P O’Brien; D Murnane, S Kiely, E Buckley

Subs: J Meade for D Kiely, D Burke for D Murnane(both 45), S Keane for S Kiely(52)

Nemo Rangers: B McNally; R Kenneally, B O’Connor, L McCarthy; S Horgan, C McGrath, S O’Callaghan; M Hayes, D Nation; E Dilloughery, J Kavanagh, S Lyons; P Hogan, J.P. O’Neill, A Hogan

Subs: D Niblock for M Hayes(30), E McCarthy for E Dilloughery(35), C Weldon for S Lyons(43), I Gibbons for C McGrath(47)

Referee: C O’Murchu (Brian Dillons)

Report from Paul O Rourke