National Féile, Semi-Final

Roscommon Gaels 1-10 Pearses 1-5. Report by Martina Donnellan. I’m sure it’s the place where many great players both past and present would have made a name for themselves: The National Feile Competition. The semi-final against Roscommon Gaels played in Kiltormer today was dream stuff for our lads, the majority of which are underage for this competition again next year. Both teams put on a wonderful display of hurling as they battled it out for a place in a National Feile final. Even the local spectators swelled on the terrace as many came to see a Pearses side vie for a place in the Final but alas for Pearses they came up a tad bit short.

Three wides in quick succession by Roscommon Gaels was followed up by a Niall McDonagh opening score from play on 4mins. Right from Harry Mitchell’s puck out and Gael’s No. 10 fetched the ball in midfield, ran through the heart of our defence before passing to No. 12 who equalised from play. The Roscommon side then scored 1-2, one from a placed ball while their goal was perfectly executed by their big full forward. Niall McDonagh scored a tonic goal on 10mins to bring Pearses right back into it. Ronan Hynes soloed through the heart of the defence, released to Anthony Feeney who drew three players on him and he found McDonagh who blasted to the net; his sixth goal in this knock-out competition.

McDonagh added to his tally when a loose ball fell to him from a throw-in and he duly tapped over to reduce the deficit. Harry Mitchell was called into action as he batted out a certain goal but the Pearses defence were deemed to have fouled and the resultant free was tapped over by Gael’s No. 8. Conor Moran struck over a free on the stroke of half time after he himself was fouled to leave the half time score: Pearses 1-3; Roscommon Gaels 1-4.

In the second half Gaels changed gears. They scored three points in quick succession as they took command; a free and two from play; the pick being a point from No. 8 from an acute angle a good distance out. Conor Moran reduced the daylight with a pointed free after a foul on the hard working Niall McDonagh who played with a niggling injury. A goal was badly needed by Pearses to bring them back into the game but it was Gaels who added to their points tally. Conor Moran scored from play after Jason Rabbitte scooped the ball to him to reduce the deficit to 4points with 4 mins to play.

As Pearses tried desperately to get back into the game, a good passage of play involving Orin Burke and Niall McDonagh seen Ronan Hynes pull on the ball in the danger area only to see it go agonisingly right across the face of goal and wide. Had it gone in, it might have been one of the finest late comebacks ever seen. Pearses knew that it was now or never for them as they threw everything into hauling back the lead, but Gaels boxed clever as they threw the ball about to good effect. The Roscommon boys added to their tally with the last puck of the game with a point from play to see them victors with 5 points to spare.

It was disappointment all round for the young Pearses lads but in fairness everyone put in a good shift. The defence of Jack Reilly, Paddy Kenny, Conor Kelly, Peter O’Neill, Oisin Donoghue andamp;amp; Cormac Hillary did well against big physical forwards. The self-less work rate of Anthony Feeney andamp;amp; Orin Burke was conspicuous while our forward line of Darragh Roche, Conor Moran, Ronan Hynes, David Walsh, Niall McDonagh and Oliver Laheen did their best against a massive outfit. Cillian Fahy and Jonah Donnellan marshalled their men effectively while Jason Rabbitte tidied up things at wing back. Dara Scarry almost caused late drama with an over the shoulder effort which unfortunately was half blocked down while David Egan did his job well on his introduction.

The entire weekend  brought out the best in everyone involved from the players, mentors, the host parents, the bakers, the supporters, the photographer, Pearses own Feile organising committee and everyone else who took part in organising this fantastic festival of hurling this weekend. The sun shone like never before this year over a glorious weekend weather wise, and it proved the perfect backdrop for an extremely successful weekend of hurling all round: Success or no success – everyone enjoyed it. This sees the close out of U14 hurling for this year as we thank mentors Martin Scarry, Eddie Mitchell, Sean O’Neill andamp;amp; Declan Lawless for their trojan efforts with this U14 squad this year. Also wishing Mark Donnellan a speedy recovery in the shoulder injury sustained over the weekend.

Scorers: Niall McDonagh 1-2; Conor Moran 0-3 (2f)

Panel: Harry Mitchell, Jack Reilly, Paddy Kenny, Conor Kelly, Peter O’Neill, Oisin Donoghue, Cormac Hillary, Anthony Feeney, Orin Burke, Darragh Roche, Conor Moran, Ronan Hynes, David Walsh, Niall McDonagh, Oliver Laheen, Cillian Fahy, Jonah Donnellan, Jason Rabbitte, Dara Scarry, David Egan, Eanna Cunniffe, Dillon Roche, Diarmuid Ryan, Ross Lally, Cathal Hynes, Jamie Nutley.

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