St James too strong for inept Cortoon outfit

St James were too strong, too organised, and had too much guile for a very disappointing Cortoon Shamrocks outfit last weekend at Tuam Stadium.

The "Jimmies", under the guidance of Frank Doherty again this season were able to overcome the considerable loss of county captain Paul Conroy through injury, and still win handily enough on a score-line of 2-8 to 1-6.

Their main man up front was Eoin Concannon, who hit 1-3 (2fs ) in a row in the second half, putting some real distance between the sides.

They had other big displays from the impressive John Egan between the posts, Mark Kelly at full-back, Tommy Walsh, who scored a fine early goal, Johnny Duane, Eoin O' Regan, David O'Connell, and the lively Alan O' Donnell, who won loads of ball in the full-forward line.

Cortoon will be disgusted with their lack of penetration up front and their overall lack of tactical awareness around the field. That their veteran attacker Derek Savage scored 1-4 (penalty and 4fs ) of their entire total of 1-6, tells its own tale of woe, and he was the only Cortoon man to score for the last 50 minutes.

I stopped counting their wides, and some of them were atrocious efforts, when they went into double figures and some of their shot selections, including a few from their young county players, were totally illogical and lacked any craft or acuity.

Once St James put a lot of bodies - often up to 13 players - behind the ball when they were in the lead, Cortoon looked clueless and spent their time soloing around the outside of the St Jame defensive blanket, or horsing in the size five to totally outnumbered inside men.

No doubt Cortoon team manager Mickey Costello and his management team will do a fair bit of analysis on "what went wrong" before they face Kilkerrin-Clonberne in the next round.

They need to, as another display such as last Saturday's would probably see them in relegation trouble.

St James will face Milltown in an attractive round two game in the winners’ group.

The game as a spectacle was not helped by some extremely confusing and unfathomable decisions by referee Shane Hehir.

One key decision against Derek Savage when the sides were level at 1-3 apiece and Cortoon had just scored their penalty, was extremely difficult to comprehend and had a crucial bearing on the game. Savage appeared to power past Tommy Walsh perfectly legally and he was in open territory heading for goal when he was called back and a free given to St James.

Savage was infuriated by the extremely harsh decision and he also got a yellow card for his troubles.

From that St James free, they went on an attack and Eoin Concannon slotted a point from another free, and they never looked back from there.

St James fully deserved their win, but if Cortoon had grabbed the lead at that stage of the tie, who knows how the game might have turned out. On such tight margins, games can turn.

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