Pearses matches today saw them pitted against neighbours Skehana first, followed by Killimor and then Ballygar in Group A of the Toddie Byrne Shield.
The Skehana match was a pure hurling epic in every sense of the word as a battling and sporting performance by both teams seen hurling as the real winner. These sides have been terribly close in the past and today was no different. Team mates, comrades and school mates on Friday, rivals on Saturday. This is what a Skehana / Pearses clash at this age group always brings. Cillian Fahy scored the opener on 3mins with a goal which just drifted over the head of Jason Connolly in the Skehana goal. Skehana responded through a Donal Loftus point from play and Sean Hansberry over his right shoulder after throttling through the middle. Pearses were applying some great pressure in the forwards just before half time but Micháel Ryan for Skehana won a vital free out as his cousin Cillian Fahy matched him for tenacity in the Pearses outfit. Half time: Pearses 1-0; Skehana 0-2
Pearses had a pure let-off within the first minute of the restart as Sean Hansberry plucked the ball from the sky, found Donal Loftus who weaved across the face of goal before shooting marginally wide. Conor Moran tapped over a free after Peter O’Neill was fouled. Loftus was wide with another goal chance but made amends soon afterwards with a good point over his left shoulder from the left side of the field. Liam Gormally limped off through injury before Loftus found the equaliser and then having swapped the free taking duties from Sean Hansberry converted a free to put them in the driving seat. The tension was palpable as a goal looked ominous for Skehana but Jack Reilly got the block in. Harry Mitchell made a great save for Pearses and Conor Moran restored parity through a free after young Cillian Fahy was fouled. With seconds left on the clock Conor Laffey turned the game around when he got on the end of a high lobbing ball from Sean Hansberry to score an epic goal when a share of the spoils may have been the fairer result. Final score: Pearses 1-2; Skehana 1-5. Scorers: Cillian Fahy 1-0; Conor Moran 0-2 (2F)
In the second game against Killimor, Pearses got off to the worst possible start conceding 2 goals within 2mins. Niall McDonagh responded for Pearses from play on 3mins. Conor Moran scored a beauty from the 45’ line but straight up the other end Killimor pointed from play to keep them in 6th gear. Conor Moran converted a placed ball after Darragh Roche was fouled and Niall McDonagh scored his second from play when he got on the end of a spilled ball. Killimor kept plucking away and scored another point from out near the stand and a goal in quick succession which ricocheted off the post but fell nicely for their forward to tap the rebound to the net keeping their challenge well alive. Conor Moran’s effort, with goal on his mind, took a deflection to fly over the crossbar. Darragh Roche scorer a whopper of a goal before half time to give Pearses great hope as he weaved across the goal and finished his piledriver well. Half time: Pearses 1-5; Killimor 3-2.
In the 2nd half Killimor tapped over an early free while Conor Moran’s long outfield delivery fortuitously found the net to build up a bit of Pearses momentum. Killimor pointed a free followed by a Moran free and with minutes remaining Cillan Fahy’s effort went right across the face of goal after good work from Darragh Roche and Conor Moran. Killimor were awarded a penalty with seconds on the clock as the taker tapped it over the bar. Conor Moran tried hard for a goal from a free after a chop down on Cillian Fahy in the late stages but his valiant effort was defended gallantly by Killimor to leave them winners by a 2 point margin. Final score: Pearses 2-6; Killimor 3-5. Unfortunately for our lads the battles of the 1st game had taken its toll and Pearses never got into gear in the 2nd game but went down fighting to the bitter end.
Scorers: Conor Moran 1-4 (2F); Niall McDonagh 0-2; Darragh Roche 1-0;
In the third game against Ballygar, the mentors tried out some new players to ensure all players had adequate playing time. Ballygar were 2-2 up, therefore killing the game for Pearses before they registered their first point. A quickly taken free from Harry Mitchell, playing outfield for this game, to David Walsh who tapped over neatly on 12mins. Ballygar added another point from play before half time to leave the half time score: Pearses 0-1; Ballygar 2-3.
The second half was only 3mins old when Ballygar added another goal although Niall McDonagh who played in goal for this game, did get a stick to it. Ballygar added another point from play before Harry Mitchell tapped over a free and then Jack Reilly scored from a placed ball after Ross Lally was fouled. Ballygar showed great goal scoring prowess when they scored another and subsequently tacked on a point. Harry Mitchell’s free went all the way to the net after he himself was fouled to give Pearses a consolation goal. The remainder of the game belonged to Ballygar as they added another 2 points to finish emphatic winners: Pearses 1-3; Ballygar 5-7. Scorers: Harry Mitchell 1-1 (Fs); Jack Reilly 0-1 (F); David Walsh 0-1.
Although things didn’t work out for the Pearses boys today, there was a lot of nearlys and maybes and with injuries and other things not going their way, Pearses can only look forward to the National Feile coming up in June. Thanks to the Mammys who put on a whopping spread and ensured that players, parents and supporters didn’t go home hungry. The hospitality was second to none as it well surpassed everyones expectations as there was no stone left unturned by Rose and Company, both young and old!
Panel: Harry Mitchell, Cormac Hillary, Oliver Laheen, Jack Reilly, Oisin Donoghue, Mark Donnellan, Paddy Kenny, Niall McDonagh, Conor Moran, Conor Kelly, Darragh Roche, Peter O’Neill, Cillian Fahy, Eanna Cunniffe, David Egan, Dara Scarry, Dillon Roche, Diarmuid Ryan, Ross Lally, Jamie Nutley, Cathal Hynes, David Walsh, Ross Lally.
Report by Martina Donnellan