Congratulations to all the club’s leaving certificate students on their examination results. The best of luck to all as they set out on the next phase of life, be it in third level college education or in trade apprentiships.
After weeks of intensive training under manager Mark Tyrrell and his selector colleagues, Fran Whelan, Philip Larkin and Tim Butler the senior hurlers are ready to resume their county senior league/championship campaign against St. Martin’s in Castlecomer, on Friday evening next.
Having successfully managed a three month “interlude” with friendly fixtures and training camps, since their last league/championship victory over Tullaroan in May, the selectors believe they have their panel primed for what is expected to be a hugely competitive fixture against the north Kilkenny club. Both sides will be striving hard for victory to enhance their chances of going straight through to the championship quarter-finals.
On Sunday evening in John’s Park, the club’s Junior team overcame a strong challenge from neighbours, Dicksboro on a 0-14 to 0-12 scoreline to earn a place in the second round of the 2013 championship. The hard won victory was achieved on the back of a steely spine provided by Philip Larkin in the centre of the defence and full back, Patrick Butler, both of whom instilled great confidence in their youthful colleagues throughout the hours hurling.
Playing against a strong breeze the young James Stephens side, put in a battling performance,only to trail their opponents by two points 0-8 to 0-6, at the interval. A positional switch, by the selectors at half time which saw Maurice Harkin move to centre forward and the hard working Richie Hayes to full forward had the desired effect, loosening the grip of the ‘Boro defence and creating openings for the young Village men to benefit from.
With the game on a knife edge, promising goalkeeper Gavin Costigan was called on to make a game changing save after 15 minutes, giving increased confidence to the side’s younger players, Conor Brown, Paul Lynch, Niall Mullins,and Luke Scanlon who upped their game considerably in the drive for victory. Throughout the hour, Conor McQuillan did trojan work at centre field, scoring in all, 0-8 to help the side over the line for a narrow, but well deserved victory.
On Saturday afternoon, David Walton kept the flag flying for the club when he lined out, at corner forward, in the All-Ireland Intermediate semi-final against Galway in Semple Stadium.
Like their western opponents, they went into this game without being tested, as, for some reason, there was no provincial title to compete for, this year. Following a convincing 0-16 to 0-8 victory they now meet, neighbours, Tipperary, in the All-Ireland final --a repeat of the 2012 decider -- which may, yet be scheduled for Nowlan Park.
U-14 LEAGUE FINAL
After a promising first half display, after which they trailed the National Feile semi-finalists, O’Loughlin Gaels by a single point, 1-8 to 2-4, in Monday week’s U-14 county “A” hurling league final, the “wheels came off the wagon” in a second half for the James Stephens U-14 representitives who were outscored by 2-8 to 1-1 in the final thirty minutes of the game.
While the result at the final whistle, 3-16 to 3-5, was disappointing for the young Village standard bearers, together with their mentors, under Dan Cody and his enthusiastic team they must now “knuckly down” to prepare for the upcoming championship campaign in a bid to reverse that defeat.
U-16 “A” CHAMPIONSHIP
On Tuesday evening the U-16 hurlers overcame a weak Slieverue side in the 1st round of the U-16 “A” championship. which qualified them for a second round fixture against Ballyhale Shamrocks in Callan on Thursday evening.
This championship quarter-final clash, with old age rivals, ‘Shamrocks, turned out to be a high scoring encounter with the young James Stephens stalwards holding the upper hand throughout the hour and deserving the 4-21 to 2-14 victory at the final whistle.
Nevertheless, typical of Ballyhale teams down through the years, they never gave up the fight ensuring a competitive championshiop game which will stand to the Village lads as they set about preparing, under manager, Richie Manogue and his team, for what is sure to be a serious semi-final engagement with the John Power driven, John Lockes in three weeks time.
NTH. JUNIOR “B” CH’SHIP
Aided by a soft breeze, in Friday evening’s Nth.Junior “B” championship fixture the club’s Junior “B” team “shot out of the blocks” from the first blow of the referee’s whistle, and built up a four point lead in as many minutes, before opponents, Dicksboro opened their account with a point after five minutes.
Helped in no small way by a powerful display from centre-forward Alan Tyrrell who revelled in the ideal playing conditions claiming a personal tally of 1-5 out of the team’s 1-9 total at the half time break. Throughout the half, the Village men were dominated in every sector of the field, and were thoroughly deserving of their ten point lead at the interval.
However, on the resumption the Dicksboro men upped their game hugely, and after Shem O’Grady pointed for James Stephens on two minutes, the ‘Boro men responded immediately with a succession of unanswered points over the next twenty minutes, to reduce the defecit to four points with ten minutes left on the clock. With the defence under fierce pressure, cool heads were called for and into the breech stepped the peerless Philip Larkin, backed up by commanding performances from centre fielder, Maurice Harkin, and backs, Damian Phelan, James Hennessy, and James Keogh, the unyielding James Stephens men held out for a deserved 1-11 to 0-9 victory.
In a pulsating finish to Saturday afternoon’s All-Ireland senior camogie semi-final Kilkenny held out for a 2-12 to 2-10 victory over Cork in Semple Stadium. Trailing by a point with ten minutes left, former camogie All-Star, Aoife Neary spectacularly doubled on a free from Ann Dalton to finish to the nett and give the Kilkenny a two point lead.
Playing with a strong breeze the Cork girls piled on the pressure but could not break down a very determined Kilkenny defence. Well done, Aoife on a game changing goal strike, which has earned the Kilkenny “kittens” a crack at the All-Ireland camogie title against,Galway,-- their first since 2009 -- in September..
It was a hard luck story for the U-16 camogie team as they went down to Thomastown, having fought bravely to the bitter end, in their recent championship fixture. On a positive note the U-14 girls have qualified for the league semi-final against Young Irelands at a date and venue to be decided.
KELLS ROAD DRAW
The August draw will take place, as per usual, in the clubrooms on Wednesday next, 28th August at 9p.m. The continuing support for this fundraiser is a vital guarantee for the development committee enabling them to press ahead with the construction of the dressingroom complex, without interuption, thereby facilitating the completion of the project by the end of the year.
SENIOR FOOTBALL FINAL
The county board has fixed the county senior football final, between James Stephens and the 2012 champions, Muckalee, for Sunday,1st.September in Freshford.
The James Stephens Golf Society’s President prize outing takes place in Kilkenny Golf Club on Saturday next, 24th August. The tee has been reserved from 11.40a.m,. To book your slot on the time sheet contact, Seamus Maguire (087-7687651). New members are welcome to come along and enjoy the golf and friendly banter and, no doubt, tales of missed opportunities,after their round on the longest hole - “the 19th”.
A final reminder to runners and racers that the annual Rusty Scanlon 10K road race will take place on Wednesday evening, next, 28th August starting from Woodies at 7p.m. Registration at Woodies from 6.30p.m. The Rusty Scanlon perpetual trophy will be presented to the winner of the race. Duiske glass trophies will also be presented to the 1st placed male and female runners as well as the 1st placed team. The prizes will be presented at a reception in James Stephens Barracks on Friday night, 30th August.
10,000 HORSEPOWER RUN
Ger Hodson reports that the Tullaroan Development Committee are running a tracker challenge to raise funds for the Irish Wheelchair Association and their own development organisation on Sunday 1st September. The challenge is “to get as many trackers as possible on the Tullaroan roads, starting from the sports ground at 1p.m., to get the total power of all the trackers over 10,000 horsepower”. Entry per machine is Eu 20.00. -- it should be noise but great fun!
Billy Mc will be on stage on Saturday night to provide the weekend’s musical treat.
This week’’s lotto draw produced the following combination : 9 : 18 : 26. There was no winning ticket. Next week’s jackpot increases to Eu 3,000. The consolation winners were : Tom Keane, Ned Costigan, Darren Dalton, John O’Neill and Billy Tyrrell.