North Board Football Champs

Pearses 2-10 Headford 0-13: Pearses secured Junior ‘A’ status for 2018 when they defeated Headford in the Junior ‘B’ North Board football final played yesterday in Menlough. A strong wind blew into the road end and Pearses played against it for the first half. Headford looked set to win the game when they led by one point with one minute of normal time remaining. A Damien Wynne goal gave Pearses the lead and Tomás Flannery then rounded off his Man of the Match performance with the final insurance point.

The teams were level, 0-1 apiece after two minutes, Enda Cunniffe equalised from play for Pearses. Headford landed the next three points from play, using the strong wind to land the scores from distance. They went on to lead 0-4 to 0-2 after 15 minutes. The North Galway team outscored Pearses 0-6 to 0-1 in the second quarter of the game, as Pearses legs tired from their running game against the gale. Half-time, Headford 0-10 Pearses 0-3.

Now with the elements at their back Pearses dominated the second half. Kerrill Hardiman fired in the game’s first goal not long after the restart. Enda Cunniffe landed a long range point from play to cut the margin to three. Headford hit back, but Pearses had the next five points of the game, Tomas Flannery with four of these, mostly spectacular, from play and placed balls. Pearses now led by one with eight minutes of normal time remaining.

There were more twists to come. A Headford shot spun off Joe Flannery’s crossbar and looked to have went wide, but was adjudged by the officials to have gone over the bar to level the game. With just two minutes remaining Headford pointed again to retake the lead. All looked lost, until Pearses manufactured a line ball in the left corner, in injury time. Flannery played a dangerous ball across the square and it went all the way over to Damien Wynne who fisted to the net. Flannery made sure of the victory a minute later with another brilliant point from distance.

Captain Gary Lally accepted the cup from Football Board Chairman Pádraig Coyne. Pearses now advance to the County Final, where they will take on West Board Champions, Ougtherard.

Pearses: J Flannery; D Skehill, K Donnellan, T Broderick; P Lally, T McDonagh, G Lally; L Murphy, L Morrissey; D Wynne (1-0), E Cunniffe (0-4), K Hardiman (1-1); T Flannery (0-5), C Hogan, R Lally. Subs used: A Finn, R Carr, N Skehill, S Hardiman, R Skehill.

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