Moycullen 1-13 Pearses 1-12

Pearses were unlucky not to pip a dogged Moycullen at the post yesterday evening in Athenry. The Gaeltacht team had suffered big defeats to both Tommy Larkins and Gort in earlier group games, so their was bound to be a reaction from them to salvage something from this years championship. Pearses were off the mark first with an Emmett Ward free, but Moycullen’s battling qualities were to the fore, they were not giving and inch. Emmet Ward added two more frees for Pearses, before Niall Skehill picked off a neat effort from play. Soon after both Richie Lally and the Moycullen’s Faherty seen red for an off the ball incident. Pearses still had the upper hand, but Moycullen never allowed the margin to get to more than two points. Importantly, they were keeping a tight rein on Cyril Donnellan, swarming him whenever he gained possession. The teams retired at half-time with Pearses leading by 0-6 to 0-5.
Moycullen made the better start to the second half and veteran Morgan Darcy was on target from placed balls, Ward was on target again fro Pearses. Moycullen were packing the middle third of the pitch leaving just one player in the inside forward line. This payed dividends when they created an overlap and hit the net with 15 minutes to go. There was plenty of time for Pearses to respond and it was Jimmy Gelston who hit back, when he sent over two points from play, in quick succession. Moycullen did not panic and Darcy was on target again from a placed ball. Donnellan had now been redeployed to centre-forward to try and reel back Moycullen’s advantage. His direct running was causing them problems and Emmet Ward converted another free to reduce the margin to 4 with just two minutes to go. Pearses were now laying seige on the Moycullen goal and when the ball broke loose to Ward he buried it through a forest of bodies to reduce the margin to just 1. In injury time Pearses won a free on their own 65 meter line on the stand side sideline. Donnellan stepped up to hit it and gave it everything, but it dropped short into the square. Moycullen emerged with possession and the ref sounded the final whistle.
News had filtered through from Loughrea on the other game in the Group between Larkins and Gort. Larkins lead at half time and a win for them coupled with a loss for Pearses would have meant Larkins would have qualified for the Quarter-Finals with Gort. However, Gort had stormed back in the second half to end up winners by 8 points. This now meant Larkins, Pearses and Moycullen all finished on the same amout of points having all won 1 and lost 2. Pearses had the better scoring average of the three teams, putting them into second place and through the Quarter-Finals, despite the disappointing result. Pearses will now contest a Senior Quarter-Final for the first time since 1981, when they took on a star studded Castlegar side. Could the opponents be Castlegar again? Time will tell.