St James' seal last eight spot
St James' 1-12 Taghmon-C'ross 2-6
St James' assured themselves of a quarter-final spot after edging out Taghmon-Camross in a terrific battle between the district rivals in what was an excellent Tom Doyle Supplies Group B, Round 5, Senior football championship game played in Bellefield on Saturday afternoon last.
The winners had to depend on some superb individual performers to ensure the crucial points, while if it's any consolation for Taghmon-Camross that their second half recovery fell just short, they are through to the quarter-finals, in this their first year back in Senior football having won the Intermediate title last year.
Champions of two years back, St. James' looked to be heading for a comfortable victory when leading 1-4 to 0-0 after just ten minutes, while they still led by eight points at the interval, looking quite comfortable as Matthew O'Hanlon was dominant in midfield, and had the attack showed a more clinical edge with their finishing they could have been further ahead at the break.
But credit to Taghmon-Camross, they showed they are tough competitors repeating the second half display of the previous round which helped them edge out Horeswood, but on this occasion they fell just shot, despite piling on the pressure in the closing stages as the opposition goalmouth lived a charmed existence.
St. James' had a blistering start with a goal inside the opening sixty seconds.
Keeper Sean O'Gorman was unable to control a dropping ball leaving the inrushing David Doyle get a fist to the ball to finish to the net. The score seemed to rattle the Taghmon boys, as St. james' piled on the pressure adding points through two long range Matthew O'Hanlon efforts, along with a Jamie Myler free and Mark Molloy, to lead 1-4 to 0-0 after just ten minutes.
Taghmon-Camross had to wait until the eleventh minute for their opening score a Michael O'Gorman point, but it was St. James' who still managed to maintain control, responding with points through Myler and O'Hanlon, two long range efforts, and Brian Molloy, before Darren Carty closed out the first half scoring with an additional time point, leaving the eventual winners leading 1-7 to 0-2 at the interval.
There was far more urgency about Taghmon-Camross play on the resumption.
After kicking two wides, Stephen O'Gorman created space on the right before sidefooting a low shot past keeper John Ryan, for a goal that helped lift their confidence.
Then Seamus McLoughlin, free, and Ian Carty followed with points they had reduced the deficit to 1-7 to 1-4 after 36 minutes.
As Taghmon piled on the pressure some fine play from Graeme Molloy and O'Hanlon helped to lift the pressure resulting in points from Kevin O'Grady and Myler to extend their lead to 1-9 to 1-4 with nine minutes remaining. After O'Grady followed with a further point, McLoughlin, free, and Mark Molloy went on to exchange points, but with three minutes remaining, Taghmon hauled themselves right back into the game with a splendid Mich O'Gorman goal, leaving just two points separating the sides, 1-11 to 2-6.
When Paul Barron gave his side a three-point cushion with a 60th minute point they looked safe but there was still some drama to follow in additional time.
Taghmon-Camross forced a 45, leaving Seamus McLoughlin to send the ball goalwards rebounding off the left post, across the goalmouth, before being deflected out for what turned out a fruitless second 45.
St. James': John Ryan; Paul Barron (0-1), Jason Barron, Greg Doyle; David Doyle (1-0), Graeme Molloy, Robbie Barron; Brendan Doyle, Matthew O'Hanlon (0-3); Brian Molloy (0-1), Jamie Myler (0-3, 0-1 free), Shane Murphy; Mark Molloy (0-2), Kevin O'Grady (0-2), Liam Murphy. Subs: Darragh Lyons for Shane Murphy; Tommy Walsh for Brian Molloy.
Taghmon-Camross: Sean O'Gorman; Shane Doyle, Alan Nolan, David O'Keeffe; Stephen Stafford, Mark O'Gorman, Darren Carty (0-1); BarryO'Gorman, Anthony Breen; Michael O'Gorman (1-2), Stephen O'Gorman (1-0), Chris Cullen; Semus McLoughlin (0-2 frees), Luke Sinnott, Ian Carty (0-1). Sub: Shane Leacy for Sinnott.
Referee: John Carton (Monageer-Boolavogue).