Pádraig Pearses 2-6 Killimor 2-5. Report from Connacht Tribune. This County Intermediate Final, played at Duggan Park on Sunday was every bit as close as the scoreline suggests. Although Pearses had much the better of things in the second half of the game, there was always the possibility, right up to the final whistle, that Killimor might pull something out of the bag and bring about a result that might not altogether reflect the the full run of play. Both clubs were seeking their first title at this grade and consequently there was no lack of effort from either side. Although a light shower before the game made it hard for the players to hold their footing. The pace all through was was excellent and the big crowd that turned up for the 1.30pm start got plenty to cheer about.
As they walked disconsolately off the pitch, the Killimor forwards must have been regretting their early prodigality. They started the first half with a good breeze behind them and while they managed to register two goals and three points, what the scoreboard didn to show was the fact that, in the half hour they had also shot 9 wides. Pearses were not as wasteful. They managed a goal and two points and only registered two wides. At half time then, it was obvious that Killimor would have a fight on their hands if they were to stay in the game. The second half followed it’s expected course. Pearses grafted away, taking their chances as they presented themselves and deploying their defence well, they kept the Killimor forwards in reasonable check. They too in their turn became a little wasteful and allowed a few chances to go a begging.
Killimor were on the move from the throw-in and they were a point up after a minute, with a free from Patsy Curley. Killimor continued to press, but very good work from Pearses half-back Tom O’Grady nipped many promising movements in the bud. Pearses got an attack going and it took a good clearance by Killimor full-back Michael Headd to ease the pressure. A long range free by Paraic Hobbs set Killimor attacking again. The defence got the ball away, but Killimor came back in force and and a very fine move ended with the ball inches wide. In the sixth minute Pearses broke upfield in an attack along the right wing. The ball was sent in from the right wing where the defence was concentrated. It came to the unmarked Eamonn Bellew and without wasting a second he connected with the ball and sent it to the net, well out of the reach of Killimor keeper, Benny Hoary.
Killimor’s immediate reply was another wide and they followed this with with tow more, before the tenth minute they earned close free. Patsy Curley’s shot was looking good but Michael King in the Pearses goal went up well to grab it. It fell from his grasp and rolled around the square. Killimor Full-forward Tom O’Hara finished he ball to the net to put Killimor 1 in front. Pearses rallied to force a 65. The ball was partially cleared but it was picked up on the right and sent back in over the bar by midfielder Kevin Donnellan to leave the sides level. For the next ten minutes the hurling was hard, with both sides having their chances. In the twentieth minute Patsy Curley sent a Killimor free over the bar, but intend of marking the score in his book the referee instead took the names of the two players who were indulging themselves a little as they waited close to the goal. The free was retaken and Curley was again on target.
Excitement was high and neither team lacked encouragement. Pearses moved Brendan Hardiman from attack to defence and he gave solidity to a hard-pressed defence. Though Killimor kept up the pressure they were off target in their finishing. Two minutes before half-time Eamonn Hanney stretched their lead with a well-taken point and before the Kilimor cheers had died down the forwards were swarming again around the Pearses goal. Martin Coen finished to the net. Just before the half-time whistle Frank Finn had a point for Pearses and almost immediately The Killimor goal had a very narrow escape. At the interval Killimor led 2-3 to 1-2 and many were wondering if that margin would be enough in the circumstances.
Both sides used the interval to make positional changes. Pearses started the second half with plenty of fire and kept the Killimor defence well stretched. killimor broke out of defence to mount a good attack but Ian Barrett threw away the chance of a lifetime when he shot wide from in front of the goal. Pearses went on the attack and Eamonn Bellew pointed on 34 minutes. Alfie Barrett made a good run soon after for another Pearses point. Frank Finn was now starting to get the advantage at midfield and Pearses were kept on the move. Alfie Barrett, ex-couty full-back, Joe Clarke and Eamonn Bellew now moved a a half-forward line should and caused plenty of problems for the Killimor defence. With fifteen minutes remaining, after a period of sustained pressure, Pearses broke through the Killimor defence. Keeper Benny Hoary had no option but to charge the inrushing Joe Clarke, but Clarke cooly moved the ball away from the goalkeeper and tapped it to the net. Shortly later Frank Finn sent over another Pearses point from 50 meters.
Seeing their chance of the title slipping away Killimor rallied and Eamonn Hanney had a point from a free on the right to cut their deficit to one. They tried again, but Pearses goalkeeper Michael King did well to save from O’Hara. Pearses wasted a couple of chances before Brendan Hardiman pointed a free. Killimor came again and Tom O’Hara got under Eamonn Hanney’s centre to both another point for the black and amber, and rester their flagging hope. Only a point in front Pearses rallied. Benny Hoary was called on to make fine save, before victory was finally assured.
Pearses had a good keeper in Michael King, who made some fine saves. Tom O’Grady was an outstanding defender, always in the midst of the action and another to catch the eye was corner back Pat Bellew. Brendan Hardiman divided his time between defence and attack and did well in both sectors. Frank Finn and Kevin Donnellan were good in midfield, after they had settled. The line of half-forwards Alfie Barrett, Fr. Joe Clarke and Eamonn Bellew were always a threat to the Killimor defence. For Killimor Eamonn Hanney, Tom O’Hara and Patsy Curley were lively forwards, but generally, the attack lacked cohesion and finishing power. John Headd and Ian Barrett ad their moments at midfield but they did not pair as well as their opponents. Paraic Hobbs, Michael Headd and Liam Beirne did well in defence as did keeper Benny Hoary.
PEARSES: M. King, J. Raftery, T. McDonagh, P. Bellew, T. O’Grady, G. McDonagh, M. Kilkenny, F. Finn (0-2), K. Donnellan (0-1), A. Barrett (0-1), J. Clarke (1-0), E. Bellew (1-1), B. Hardiman (0-1f), M. Raftery, PJ O’Connell. Sub: T. Burns for M. Raftery.
KILLIMOR: B. Hoary, P. Hobbs, M. Headd, M. Egan, M. Donoghue, P. Starr, L. Beirne, J. Headd, I. Barrett, E. Hanney (0-2), M. Dillon, P. Curley (0-2f), P. Blayney, T. O’Hara (1-1), M. Coen (1-0).
Referee: J. Sherry.