Pearses 1-17 Ballinderreen 1-15: This Junior ‘B’ Hurling Semi-Final was switched to Carnmore today, with the original venue Loughrea being deemed unplayable. Eleven of the Pearses panel were in action less than 24 hours earlier, as the footballers captured the Co. Junior ‘B’ title in Pearse Stadium. These two teams who could not be separated last weekend looked to be heading for another stalemate as the game entered it’s final stages. Two late points from Conor O’Neill and a monster free from Paul O’Brien seen Pearses through to their second successive Junior ‘B’ Hurling Final.
There was nothing between the sides at the end of the first-quarter, deadlocked 0-4 each. Ronan Skehill opened the scoring, with Kealan Beckett and Niall Skehill (2) getting on the scoresheet among opposition scores. Niall Skehill and Paul Lally also came close with goal chances, bringing two fine stops from the Ballinderreen keeper. The South Galway men, with the breeze, goaled on the 18th minute to open a three point lead. Conor O’Grady responded from play for Pearses.
Two from Ballinderreen seen them move four clear before frees were exchanged between sharpshooting Niall Skehill and long striking Ballinderreen centre-back Michael Kelly, 1-8 to 0-7. With just a minute of normal time remaining Ronan Skehill gathered possession in the left corner and supplied Conor O’Grady across the goalmouth, who blasted to the net. Niall Skehill followed up with an equaliser from a free. There was still time for more action in injury time as a Ballinderreen free was blocked on the Pearses line right on the stroke of half-time, 1-8 each.
Ten minutes into the second half and the teams had been level on three occasions, now 1-11 each. Ballinderreen moved two clear, but Niall Skehill again levelled the game with two points. The South Galway team regained the lead, 1-14 to 1-13. Conor O’Grady squared it once more, with a super score from the right corner. 55 minutes on the clock and Aidan Kilkenny pushed Pearses in front. Young Conor O’Neill made the lead to two. They pulled one back, but the final say was left to Paul O’Brien, who having survived a stinging late blow to the leg moments earlier drove a free over from well inside his own half to secure the win.
It rounded off a fine weekend for the Club’s Junior teams, a storm of GAA action before the arrival of Hurricane Ophelia on our shores tomorrow. Pearses now advance to the County Final, where they will take on Kilnadeema-Leitrim. They will hope to atone for last year’s defeat at the same stage.
Pearses: P O’Brien (0-1); P Raftery, J Jenkins, R Carr; L Morrissey, T McDonagh, T Broderick; E Lawless, C O’Neill (0-1); K Beckett (0-2), D Wynne, C O’Grady (1-3); P Lally, N Skehill (0-8), R Skehill (0-1). Subs used: A Kilkenny (0-1), R Donnellan, D Lawless.