St James’ secured their place in the Cork JAFC final for the first time with this deserved win against St Michael’s in Ovens.
The Carbery divisional champions now proceed to a county final showdown against Kilshanning next Sunday. A brilliant individual goal from Aaron Hayes in the 58th minute ultimately secured victory for St James’ who repelled a late siege from their city opponents.
St James’ started brightly as they raced into a three-point lead after eight minutes with points from James O’Sullivan, Micheal McCarthy (Dunnycove) and Alan O’Shea.
St Michael’s opened their account via Eoin O’Donovan but the west Cork men finished the half stronger and four successive points gave them a 0-9 to 0-4 interval lead.
McCarthy extended the lead to six points and their player-coach Alan O’Shea's consistency from frees kept St Michael’s at bay. The Dazzlers reduced the gap to four but Aaron Hayes settled St James' nerves, netting a powerful drive.
Scorers for St James: A O’Shea (0-5, frees), A Hayes (1-1), M McCarthy (D) (0-3), F Hayes, J O’Sullivan, J O’Sullivan (0-1 each).
Scorers for St Michael’s: L Grainger (0-4), R Cotter (0-2), E O’Donovan, M O’Keeffe, A Nolan (0-1 each).
ST JAMES: D O’Donovan; M McCarthy, E Feen, J O’Sullivan; M McCarthy, K O’Leary, J O’Sullivan; P O’Sullivan, J O’Driscoll; A Hayes, J O’Sullivan, K O’Brien; F Hayes, M Evans, A O’Shea.
Subs: S O’Reilly for J O’Sullivan (27), C Hayes for M Evans (50), K O’Donovan for K O’Brien (52), I Evans for F Hayes (59).
ST MICHAEL'S: C Hartnett; R Coleman, J Cashman, T Murphy; S Holland, S Lenighan, D Corkery; I O’Keeffe, F Cronin; M Drommond, M O’Keeffe, A Nolan; R Cotter, E O’Donovan, L Grainger.
Subs: B Holland for F Cronin (40), D Hurley for S Lenighan (40), O Hanley for E O’Donovan (55), C Adams for J Cashman (58, BC).
Referee: John Ryan (Macroom).