The inclement weather meant a whole raft of postponements on the first and second weekends of February, of games fixed by both the Seandún Junior Divisional Board and the Rebel Óg East Board, and thus various White’s Cross teams at both juvenile and adult level saw their proposed match fixtures go by the way side – including Under 14 football versus Grenagh; Under 18 football versus Canovee and Junior A football versus Bishopstown. Indeed even the latter fixture had to be postponed a second time as pitches still remained unplayable on the following weekend.
Thus it was the club’s second junior football side that had the distinction of commencing competitive action in 2014 with a Junior B League fixture away to St. Vincents. It must be said, that despite all the bad weather, the sand-based ground at Vincents was in excellent condition. With various new rule changes being introduced this year by the GAA both sides were no doubt somewhat apprehensive about their implications especially early on. While the introduction of the black card and new definitions around the tackle are the big game changers, for many on the field the greatest change was that mouthguards were now mandatory for the first time in adult football – they had been made mandatory at juvenile level one year previous!
The game proved a most entertaining encounter with some very good passages of football. Early on the sharp-shooting of Paul Hayes at corner-forward proved a great tonic for White’s Cross as he scored a couple of fine points. However the big score in the first half was Conal Smith’s goal 20 minutes in, after he showed great determination to run at the Vincent’s defence and drill home from 20 metres. With Kevin Fennessy and Martin Reid getting a strangehold on the middle of the field, and Thomas Meade, Brian Murphy and Sean Gorman mopping up well in defence, White’s Cross certainly had the upper hand at the break.
However St. Vincents weren’t going to take defeat without a battle, and despite playing against the wind in the second half, they forced their way back into this encounter. A double substitution by manager Anthony Kelleher saw Sean Twomey and Robert McElhinney enter the frey, and this proved crucial as in their very first touches they combined for a lovely one-two and McElhinney, one of four White’s Cross minors to see action in this game, scored a fine second goal. With another minor Cillian Ryan kicking a couple of lovely points, and a not-so-minor Conor Kelleher doing likewise, White’s Cross won out on a scoreline of 2-10 to 1-8. A good start to 2014 – tosach maith, leath na h-oibre!
Team: Ruairí Murnane; Richard Sherlock, Pádraig Murnane, Aidan O Neill; Brian Murphy, Sean Gorman, Thomas Meade (captain); Kevin Fennessy, Martin Reid; Conal Smith, Derek O Connor, Niall Twomey, Michéal Brosnan, Conor Kelleher, Paul Hayes. Also introduced: Cillian Ryan (30 mins.); Robert McElhinney and Sean Twomey (40 mins.); Shane Twomey (45 mins.).