Padraig Pearses gave it their all in this intriguing All-Ireland intermediate semi-final in idyllic Templetuohy on Sunday. Too often, the term ‘a brave effort’ can be bandied about, but in Pearses’ case it was justly deserved. Up against more stylish opposition, John Jenkins’ charges – reduced to 14 men after just 12 minutes – raged against all the odds, and looked like they might snatch a win, or at least force extra-time, in this absorbing clash against Munster champions Ballymartle. In a clash of this stature, there was bound to be talking points and in this penultimate game of the competition, there were many.
The first couple came within 60 or seconds of each other, namely the pivotal Ballymartle goal on 11 minutes and the dismissal of Pearses wing-back Tommy McDonagh moments later. Although starting brightly enough, with Tomas Flannery shooting the contest’s opening point from a free, the Galway men were dealt a huge blow when Ballymartle corner forward Jamie Dwyer, following a neat pass from brother Barry, found the net on 11 minutes. That score put the Cork title holders into a comfortable 1-4 to 0-1 lead. Calm heads were now needed. However, a rush of blood to McDonagh’s crown moments later – when he pulled low on Ballymartle wing forward Darren McCarthy under the high ball – he received his marching orders. When Rory Dwyer converted the ensuing free to nudge the victors further in front, it seemed the Gurteen/Ballymacward outfit were going to be in for a torrid afternoon. However, in the second quarter, Pearses began to steady themselves. Free taker Flannery – who hit all of Pearses’ points on the day – traded scores with Ballymartle's Seamus Corry and Darren McCarthy before the Pearses corner forward struck two points late in the half to leave them trailing 0-5 to 1-7 at the break.
Ballymartle began the second half in similar fashion when, just 14 seconds in, Rory Dwyer scored a cracker from play. Barry Dwyer (free) and McCarthy added further efforts in the third quarter to extend their team’s lead to 1-10 to 0-5 and it looked as if they would, at any moment, open the floodgates. Yet, it never happened. With every passing moment, Pearses stomach’ for the battle just got stronger and stronger and their insatiable spirit began to grind Ballymartle down. Indeed, if Lady Luck had smiled on Pearses, they might have got the breakthrough their gritty display deserved. First, Galway centre-forward Cyril Donnellan had two 20-metre efforts denied on the goal-line, before Flannery went low from a similar position, only to have his pile-driver deflected out for a ’65. Pearses, though, were not giving up the chase. Flannery converted the subsequent placed ball, before adding three more frees in the ensuing eight minutes to narrow the gap to a single goal.
Meanwhile, at the back, Pearses were defending heroically, with the full-back line of Anthony Kenny, Tomas Kenny and Padraig Raftery, along with the half-back unit of Kerrill Hardiman, Thomas Higgins and the versatile Aidan Kilkenny – deployed from wing-forward to fill the vacated berth – absolutely magnificent. For the last 17 minutes of the contest, Ballymartle never raised another flag, while Pearses continued to pepper their opponents’ goalmouth, quite often with high balls. In truth, 14-man Pearses, for their guts and determination alone, deserved to get something from the tie, but try as they might, they just couldn’t breach the Ballymartle goal and the Corkmen held out for the win. While there were plenty of talking points from this one – there was a sneaking suspicion that the ball may have crossed the line from one of Donnellan’s 20-metre frees – the main differences between the two were the sending off and Ballymartle’s ability to take their scores from open play.
That Pearses managed to leave just a score in it at the end, having played over 50 minutes, including injury-time, with just 14 men was a phenomenal achievement, although that will be of little consolation to them this week. Still, if they carry that mindset and attitude into the senior championship in late Spring, then they will cause problems for the hierarchy of the county. Of course, the loss of sharpshooter Jimmy Gelston with a metatarsal injury – although the corner forward did remove the cast himself the day before so he could make an appearance – was also a major blow to Pearses’ efforts. They were over-relying on Flannery to produce the scores, particularly as centre-forward Cyril Donnellan had to be moved to midfield, where he worked his socks off, to halt Ballymartle’s early momentum.
A knock-on effect of this move – and the sending off – was that the imposing Emmet Ward – a player who impressed during the county championship – had then to be withdrawn from his full-forward berth to lead the half-forward line, leaving a massive hole inside. It just made life so difficult for Pearses offensive players. Undoubtedly, Pearses will benefit from the experience when they rejoin the senior ranks in the coming months, while, if the Galway intermediate county management were looking in, they would have seen a number of defensive performances that could well backbone their title hopes in the Summer. Quite simply, all of the backs were man of the match contenders, particularly corner back Padraig Raftery and the versatile Aidan Kilkenny, while Cyril Donnellan left everything he had out on the field. Credit, also, to the likes of Flannery and Ward for operating under such trying circumstances up front.
PEARSES: F. Flannery; A. Kenny, T Kenny, P. Raftery; K. Hardiman, T. Higgins, T. McDonagh; S. Hardiman, K. Donnellan; C. Ward, C. Donnellan, A. Kilkenny; T. Flannery (0-10, 9f), E. Ward, A. Bellew. Subs: R. Lally for K. Donnellan (30 mins), S. Raftery for Bellew (42 mins), J. Gelston for T. Higgins (52 mins).
BALLYMARTLE: D. McCarthy; D. Coleman, M. Tobin, D. Dwyer; J. Kelly, P. Dwyer, N. Sheehan; S. Corry (0-1), G. Webb; D. McCarthy (0-3), R. Dwyer (0-2, 1f), B. Dwyer (0-4, 3f); J. Dwyer (1-0), D. Dwyer, P. Coughlan. Subs: D. Edmonds for Coleman (47 mins), S. O’Mahony for Coughlan (59 mins).
Referee: P. Casey (Waterford).
Stephen Glennon, Connaught Tribune
For the first time in their 44 year old history, Padraig Pearses claimed their first ever Connacht hurling title last Sunday when they pulled clear to defeat Ballyhaunis in the intermediate decider.
Not the most thrilling of encounters and it took until the final 10 minutes to come to life, but that won’t bother the supporters from Gurteen and Ballymacward who witnessed their side’s second title in seven days.
After claiming their fourth county title the previous Sunday, Padraig Pearses were fancied to add the Connacht crown, but they faced a Ballyhaunis team determined to do better then they did against Tynagh-Abbey/Duniry at this stage last year.
And that determination was evident after just two minutes when they struck for an early goal. Keith Higgins’ long free worked its way to Liam McDermott; the wing forward tried to make inroads before spilling possession but team mate Stephen Hoban was alert, striking the breaking ball off the ground at a ferocious pace that left Fergal Flannery with no chance of stopping it hitting the net.
A great start for Ballyhaunis; Padraig Pearses didn’t panic and got on with the job in hand but couldn’t make their chances count on the scoreboard. Three goal chances were spurned during the opening 30 minutes – Jimmy Gelston’s snap shot went wide in the sixth minute, Thomas Flannery’s touch five minutes later was well stopped by goalkeeper Michael Walsh, while Barry Donnellan couldn’t get enough on a Hardiman delivery in the 21st minute to trouble the Mayo keeper.
Five first-half wides didn’t help John Jenkins’ side either but they still managed to get ahead in the 13th minute. Two Flannery frees by the seventh minute had reduced arrears to the minimum but they would make a bigger impact before the quarter hour mark.
Cyril Donnellan took possession and ran at the Ballyhaunis defence leaving full back Peter Healy no choice but to bring him to ground. Referee Declan O’Driscoll signalled a penalty and Donnellan hit the net to give the Galway team a 1-2 to 1-0 lead...
PADRAIG PEARSES: F Flannery; A Kenny, T Kenny, P Raftery; K Hardiman, T Higgins, T McDonagh; S Hardiman, K Donnellan; B Donnellan, C Donnellan (1-2, 1-0 pen), A Kilkenny; T Flannery (0-10, 0-9f), E Ward, J Gelston (0-2). Subs: A Bellew for K Donnellan; R Lally for E Ward; K Hillary for B Donnellan.
BALLYHAUNIS: M Walsh; D Keadin, P Healy, A Brennan; H McKermitt, D McConn (0-1), P McConn; P Higgins, P Lynch; L McDermott, K Higgins (0-7, 7f),T Buckley; D O’Brien, S Hoban (1-2), N Murphy.
Subs: B Hunt for L McDermott; A Lyons for P Lynch; C McCrudden for D O’Brien.
THOMAS Flannery played a captain’s role in helping Padraig Pearses claim the Finnerty Plant Hire Galway Intermediate hurling Championship, scoring three points late in the game to help his side see off the challenge of Killimor and earn a return to the senior ranks at a bitterly cold Kenny Park, Athenry on Sunday. Andrew Keary’s goal six minutes from time had Killimor within a single point of the Gurteen Ballymacward men and a replay loomed large once more for two clubs who famously needed three finals to separate them at this grade almost twenty years previously. As in 1991, it was Pearses who prevailed in the end, as Flannery’s salvo ensured Killimor were chasing a goal in the dying embers of this dour clash. Robbie Mitchell did have one final fling with a free from 30 yards out, but Padraig Pearses had already seen off a similar situation in their epic quarter final victory over Cappataggle and they held out once more to spark raucous celebrations.
While conditions were far from ideal as temperatures plummeted and a rain-soaked pitch hampered free-flowing hurling, this contest was by and large a forgettable affair which offered precious little to warm the heart, or hands, of any neutrals present who may have been expecting more from these two sides. As Flannery stated afterwards, Pearses were expecting and had prepared for a physical encounter and Killimor duly turned it into one. Critically, though, in Cyril Donnellan Pearses had the one player who could elevate the tone of the game, even if only sporadically, and his second half goal gave his side the lift they needed to get themselves over the finishing line.
Killimor, while acknowledging that they have a young and improving side, may well look back on this one as an opportunity missed, as they squandered a number of relatively straightforward frees and gave Fergal Flannery in the Pearses goal plenty of catching practise in the first half as numerous efforts dropped harmlessly short. The only lead they held in the game lasted barely a minute when midfielder Shane McClearn twisted and turned before opening the scoring from the right sideline in the fifth minute. An impressive response soon had Pearses 0-3 to 0-1 in front, though, as Thomas Flannery clipped over two frees before Aidan Kilkenny took advantage of defensive hesitancy to point on 10 minutes.
Cyril Donnellan’s first involvement saw him drag a shot onto the right upright; Ger Lyons effort minutes later at the other end could well have suffered the same fate until the last moment when it crept inside the post – after some hesitancy the umpire correctly acknowledged the score. A frustrating spell followed as referee Christy Brown had rightful cause to whistle for a succession of frees which caused the tie to stutter along aimlessly for a time. Then Ger Lyons pointed a free for Killimor to level matters on 22 minutes, but Pearses hit back with three on the trot before the break to give them a double scores advantage.
Cyril Donnellan was first to strike with a good point, before full forward Emmet Ward positioned himself well to pick up a loose ball and fire over the bar. The final score of the half was simplicity itself as Keith Donnellan read Fergal Flannery’s dropping puck out to perfection and dissected the posts with the minimum of fuss. Andrew Keary’s impact on proceedings until this point for Killimor had been noticeable by its absence, but within 16 seconds of the restart he drove over a great score from the right touchline. Killimor needed to get the next score too, but a Cyril Donnellan burst at the other end won a free which Flannery converted.
A goal behind, Ger Lyons notched up Killimor’s eighth wide with twenty minutes remaining but soon made up for that miss with his third point. Two minutes later, though, Cyril Donnellan rattled the net after Aidan Kilkenny’s high ball drifted towards Flannery on the 20m line and the inter-county star tore onto the breaking ball and finished with aplomb. There looked to be only one winner at this point, and that remained the outlook despite Killimor outscoring Pearses by two Michael Dervan frees to one Flannery effort over the next ten minutes. Then, from nothing, Keary struck for Killimor’s lifeline goal when the referee allowed a scramble develop in front of the Pearses goal and as the defenders assumed a free would soon be forthcoming, Keary blasted to the net and set up a dramatic finale.
As had happened throughout the course of the game, though, Pearses responded well and Flannery kept his composure to register his fifth successful free from a difficult angle with four minutes remaining. Ger Lyons quickly reduced the arrears to one, but Flannery ensured that it would be he who accepted the cup from County Board chairman Joe Byrne with the game’s last score, a splendid effort from the touchline. In winning their club’s fourth intermediate title, Pearses were best served by goalkeeper Fergal Flannery; Padraig Raftery, Kerril Hardiman, and Sean Hardiman in defence; Keith Donnellan put in a tireless shift in midfield; Aidan Kilkenny was also solid while Cyril Donnellan and Thomas Flannery were the best of the forwards by some way.
Killimor were best served on a disappointing day for them by solid, tireless displays from Padraig Gohery, Eoin Fahy, Shane McClearn, Eamon Duane, Andrew Keary (second half), and Ger Lyons. Pearses won’t have much time for celebrating as they face a Connacht final against Ballyhaunis in Athleague on Sunday (2pm). With Keith Higgins (1-7) and Stephen Hoban (1-2) to the fore, the Mayo men defeated Four Roads of Roscommon in the semi-final by 3-13 to 2-13.
PEARSES: F. Flannery; A. Kenny, T. Kenny, P. Raftery; T. McDonagh, T. Higgins, K. Hardiman; S. Hardiman, K. Donnellan (0-1); A. Kilkenny (0-1), C. Donnellan (1-1), C. Ward; T. Flannery (0-6, five frees), E. Ward (0-1), J. Gelston. Sub: B. Donnellan for C. Ward (30 minutes).
KILLIMOR: L. Gordon; M. Gohery, E. Fahy, N. Duffy; P. Gohery, E. Duane, R. O’Brien; D. Broderick, S. McClearn (0-1); S. Boland, S. Duane, A. Keary (1-1); M. Dervan (0-2, both frees), G. Lyons (0-4, two frees), R. Mitchell. Subs: K. Callanan for Broderick (40 minutes), T. Gibbons for Boland (47 minutes). Referee: C. Brown.
Pearses are back among the elite after the shortest possible period down under. Just one year after suffering the trauma of relegation, they experienced the other end of the emotional spectrum when they proved too strong for a disappointing Meelick-Eyrecourt challenge at Athenry on Sunday. The men from Gurteen and Ballymacward hurled with conviction and pure passion to capture their second Intermediate hurling title in five years and their celebrations were all the more compelling in the wake of the recent double tragedy in the club.
While many neutrals in the crowd might not have been too impressed with the standard of hurling, few could complain about the the level of commitment from these two fired up teams and even fewer could dispute the result at the finish. In the end Pearses' victory was down to two men – former county U21 star Francis O'Brien, who ruled the roost at midfield and his namesake at corner-forward Tom O'Brien, whose unerring accuracy from frees made all the difference as the the tension rose in the second half. But this was also a fine team performance, particularly from a solid defence which made life hard for the Eyrecourt forwards. Led by the example of Seamus Lawless they rarely looked to be in trouble – despite their side's inability to build up a convincing lead at any stage over the hour.
It took Pearses a while to get going, though, as they had to wait all of 15 minutes before Tom O'Brien sent over their first score. Previous to that, Eyrecourt goalkeeper Gay Lyons dealt comfortably with their ineffective long deliveries while John Burke, Noel Larkin and Cathal McEvoy mopped up in their half. The midfield tussles were absorbing. Marcus McEvoy just about had the measure of Pearses' Tony O'Brien but his partner, young Liam Hogan was under extreme pressure from the rampant Francis O'Brien for long periods. Eyrecourt enjoyed a brighter opening, with McEvoy sending a penalty over the bar in the second minute before setting up a fine point from Noel Kenny seven minutes later. But the O'Briens soon made their mark, with Francis sending over a breath-taking point from all of half-way barely thirty seconds after Tom had opened their account.
Francis was in inspirational form, adding two similar scores in the second half and setting up some fine passes for his colleagues in attack. Tom O'Brien added two further points, including a peach from play from the left hand corner, in addition to a fine score from Joe Fahy. While the Eyrecourt forwards proved highly unimpressive at the other end. Much was expected of Basil and Tommy Larkin, but they found the Pearses full-back line impossible to thwart over the hour and Meelick-Eyrecourt had to rely on a pointed free and a sideline cut from McEvoy to complete their half-time tally. Tom O'Brien sent over his third point from a free, to leave Pearses 0-6 to 0-4 in front at the break.
Pearses only seemed to be in trouble for a short period after the break, when Tom Turley kicked the ball to the net to give Eyrecourt the lead two minutes into the second half. But Pearses soon regained the initiative, with Tom O'Brien sending a succession of frees over at the other end, while Joe Fahy and Francis O'Brien registered two fine points from play to give Pearses a three point lead. McEvoy was Eyrecourt's only consistent point scorer. He sent over a free to complement a Paddy Larkin point, to leave just one point between the sides with 12 minutes to go.
And the result could have been quiet different, had Larkin not smashed the ball inches wide of the Pearses goal five minutes earlier. However the Pearses men had something in reserve and their forwards ran the Eyrecourt defence ragged as Noel Carr, Francis and Tony O'Brien sent over a succession of fine points from play in the closing stages. Eyrecourt might have salvaged an unlikely draw right at the end, when Basil Larkin broke loose only to shoot the ball across the face of the goal. But Pearses fully deserved their three point win, thanks to the hard work of the O'Briens, O'Neill, Lawless, Emmett Lydon and Joe Fahy.
PEARSES: J. O'Grady, E. Lydon, S. O'Neill, M. Carr, PJ O'Connell, S. Lawless, J. Jenkins, Tony O'Brien, F. O'Brien (0-3), J. Fahy (0-2), N. Carr (0-1), P. Murray, M. O'Brien, K. Hillary, Tom O.Brien (0-8, 6f). Subs: D. Hillary for Murray (38 mins), T. O'Grady for M. O'Brien (38 mins).
MEELICK-EYRECOURT: G. Lyons, S. Moran, J. Larkin, J. Burke, C. McEvoy, N. Larkin, J. Hurley, L. Hogan, M. McEvoy (0-6, 5f, 1sl), N. Kenny (0-1), T. Turley (1-0), T. Larkin, B. Larkin, P. Larkin (0-1), M. Kenny. Subs: R. Howe for M. Kenny (47 mins), D. McElroy for T. Larkin (48 mins).
Ciaran Tierney, Connacht Tribune
The exploits of these two teams in Sunday's Intermediate Hurling Final at Loughrea did not merit such a thrilling finish, but Killimor snatched a draw with a goal four and a half minutes into injury time just seconds after Pearses had put three points between the sides. In the end a draw was probably the fairest result as neither of the sides did themselves justice on the day on a day when the occasion clearly got the better of them.
Killimor looked to be in the better position at half-time when they trailed by just two points after having played against a fairly strong breeze. But Killimor bidding for their first title since 1984 fell apart after the restart and did not score for over 22 minutes of the second half. They had done well in the first half with the half-back line of Martin Kelly, Kevin Muldoon and Niall O'Meara curtailing a Pearses attack where only Tom O'Brien and PJ Connell looked like making any headway. O'Brien's accuracy from frees formed the bulk of Pearses first half tally, but they were rocked after 20 minutes when a Vincent Brien line ball was finished to the back of the net by John Malone. That score meant that Pearses led by two – 0-7 to 1-2 at the interval – but this lead did not appear to be enough, having played with the wind.
But the Gurteen/Ballymacward outfit were far from finished. County U21 star Francis O'Brien fired over a point for Pearses seven minutes after the restart after a fine run by Joe Fahy but we had to wait another 11 minutes for the next score when Tony O'Brien stretched Pearses lead from the left wing. Killimor were struggling to break down a Pearses defence where goalkeeper John O'Grady, corner back Emmet Lydon and centre back Seamus Lawless did little wrong. They did eventually find the target with less than eight minutes remaining of normal time remaining when Ollie Reilly reduced the deficit to a goal with a pointed free.
The introduction of Killimor substitute Thomas Brien added vitally to an otherwise dormant Killimor attack and two points in three minutes from the 19 year old left just a point between the sides with a minute left. Pearses substitute Mike O'Brien enhanced his sides position a minute later with a fine point while two minutes into injury time Killimor's Thomas Brien had the ball in the net, but his joy was short lived as Referee Sean Moran has blown for a throw in. Pearses looked set to collect the trophy when PJ Connell put a goal between the sides four minutes into injury time with a point from the left wing. But Killimor's survival instincts saved them. A long puckout from goalkeeper Tommy Callaghy broke inside the 21 and Martin Fahy raced in to drive the ball to the roof of the net and force a replay.
PEARSES: J. O'Grady, E. Lydon, G. McDonagh, F. McDonagh, J. Carr, S. Lawless, J. Jenkins, F. O'Brien (0-1), D. Roche, J. Fahy, D. Hillary, Tom O'Brien (0-6, 5 frees), PJ Connell (0-2), M. Carr, Tony O'Brien (0-1). Subs: M. O'Brien (0-1) for Hillary, T. O'Grady for Carr.
KILLIMOR: T. Callaghy, B. Lawless, G. Kirwan, D. Horan, M. Kelly, K. Muldoon, N. O'Meara, E. Hanney, N. Brody, G. Daly, J. Malone (0-1), M. Fahy (1-0), V. Brien, M. Donoghue, O. Reilly (0-3, All frees). Subs: M. Quinn for Malone, T. Brien (0-2) for Reilly.
Referee: S. Moran (Kilconieron)
John Fallon, Connacht Tribune
Dublin and Meath, how are you! Killimor and Pearses will meet for a third time to decide who will claim this year's Intermediate title, after this drawn replay in Kenny Park Athenry on Sunday. The game was dominated by both sets of backs, intent on achieving a total shut-out. Only four scores came from play during the course of a low scoring game, only one of which came from Pearses, courtesy of centre back, Seamus Lawless — an indication of how both sets of towards struggled to come by scores.
In fairness a fair dose of nerves were probably a contributory factors to the whole affair. When the laurels were handed out it tended to be backs who fared best. The likes of Killimor's Martin Kelly, Kevin Muldoon, Eamon Hanney and converted midfielder Niall O'Meara, with Pearses having their Togha Fir in the shape of Frank McDonagh, Seamus Lawless, Joe Fahy and County U21 star Francis O'Brien. It was also a day when both goalkeepers Pearses John O'Grady and Tommy Callaghy of Killimor were in fine form.
It look eleven minutes before the first score of the game, a free from Pearses sharpshooter Tom O'Brien. Points were then swapped between Fahy, Seamus Lawless and Killimor's freetaker Martin Fahy (two) and full forward Matt Donoghue. Then in the 21st minute a good delivery from out the field by Killimor's Ger Daly was well caught by Vinny Brien who timed his handpass well to the available Martin Fahy, hovering around the small square. Fahy looked like he had lost the ball at first but he recovered possession and hall-scooped half-struck it to the net for a fine goal. It gave his side a lead that Pearses would he fighting to overcome for the rest of the game.
Pearses started off the second half much the more determined, with Francis O'Brien controlling 'Lár na Páirce' and Joe Fahy and corner forward PJ Connell showing well in attack. It was to be a middle of the field affair with scores coming as rarely as a a corncrakes call. For the middle fifteen minutes of the half, not one score was recorded, and indeed in the whole half hour Killimor scored but a solitary point, a free from Vincent Brien.
Pearses come back was slow and laborious. Three frees by Tom O'Brien had brought them to within a point by by the 22nd minute. Then three minutes later he scored a marvellous 65 to level off the scores and set up a tense final five minutes. Referee Sean Moran decided (correctly) not to play extra time because of impending darkness. So there will be another day to decide the destination of this year's Intermediate title.
KILLIMOR: T. Callaghy, B. Lawless, B. Kirwan, D. Horan, M. Kelly. K. Muldoon, P. Finnegan, E. Hanney, N. O'Meara, G. Daly, N. Brody, M. Fahy (1-0), V. Brien (0-3, 2 frees), M. Donoghue (0-1), T. Brien. Subs: J. Malone for O'Meara (inj), M. Quinn for T. Brien.
PEARSES: J. O'Grady, E. Lydon, G. McDonagh, F. McDonagh, J. Carr, S. Lawless (0-1), J. Jenkins, F. O'Brien, D. Roche. J. Fahy, F. Finn, T. O'Brien (0-7, all frees), PJ Connell, M. Carr, Tony O'Brien. Subs: T. Greaney for Roche, M. Brien for Carr.
Referee: S. Moran (Kilconieron).
Harry McGee, Connacht Tribune
Better late than never was the catchphrase ringing around the parish of Gurteen/Ballymacward on Sunday night after Pearses Intermediate hurlers finally claimed the 1991 County Title at the third attempt in deplorable conditions in Duggan Park, Ballinasloe. Unlucky not to win the first day and lucky to survive in the replay, Pearses finally got the formula right when a gritty display was more than enough to withstand Killimor's disappointing challenge.
The standard of hurling was poor with the bad weather conditions taking a heavy toll on the quality of play. Skill and neat stick work gave way to doggedness and graft. Pearses, the tougher outfit, adjusted much better. Ultimately Killimor's failure to make decisive use of the elements in the opening half proved their downfall. They bunched terribly in their quest for scores and crowded out an already congested midfield area. With Killimor constantly pushing forward, it left their defence vulnerable to breakaway attacks by Pearses given the amount of open space in the losers half of the field. In truth the interval scoreline of 1-3 each was bad news for Killimor.
Pearses, significantly, didn't fall into the same trap in the second half. Their half back line and midfield resisted the temptation to move upfield giving the forwards enough room to create openings for the decisive scores. Pearses got off to a great start with a PJ Connell goal in the eight minute to compliment two pointed frees from Tom O'Brien. Killimor's only score in the opening quarter came from a Vinny Brien free in the fourth minute. Later, Brien – from a difficult free – exchanged points with the impressive Tony O'Brien but Killimor were making little or no headway up front and ten minutes from half time they trailed 1-3 to 0-2 despite being backed by the influential elements.
The losers, however, messed up an excellent goal scoring opportunity in the 21st minute when Ger Daly, after fielding a Paul Finnegan delivery, made tracks for goal but his handpass to the unmarked Brien was badly directed and the chance was lost. Ironically, Killimor gained heart from that miss and Noel Brody, now operating at full forward, was in the right place to first time the ball to the net after Brien's 21 yards free was blocked out by a wall of Pearses defenders in the 23rd minute. Almost immediately Niall O'Meara set up Daly for the equaliser.
With Seamus Lawless and Tom O'Grady outstanding in the half back line Pearses did not concede another score before half time and looked short odds at this juncture to capture the club's first Intermediate title since 1979. A Vinny Brien point from a free in the opening minute of the second half temporarily raised Killimor's hopes, but after Tom O'Brien quickly equalised (from a placed ball), Pearses dominated the rest of the match. The critical score of the match come in the 40th minute when a Tony O'Brien delivery broke to Joe Fahy and the lively Pearses wing forward beat Killimor goalkeeper Tommy Callaghy with a fine shot from 20 yards.
Only a great interception by Killimor corner back Dara Horan prevented another Pearses goal soon afterwards, but the Billy Joyce trained outfit were not to be denied, with points from Tom O'Brien and midfielder Des Roche – a great long range effort – putting the seal on a deserved win. Pearses' durability stood them in good stead all-through and while it is difficult to see them making a huge impact in the Senior ranks, confronting better teams could raise their own standards appreciably.
County panelist Francis O'Brien had a quiet game on Sunday though his influence was reduced by sustaining a couple of heavy knocks. Goalkeeper John O'Grady dealt capably with anything that came his way, but the real heroes in defence were Tom O'Grady and Seamus Lawless who both dominated their sector of the field. Corner back Emmet Lydon was also prominent while Frank McDonagh and Gerry McDonagh both finished strongly. Frank Finn grafted hard all-through at midfield while the chief threats in attack were Tony O'Brien, who roved to great effect, Tom O'Brien and the flying Joe Fahy, who was inclined to pass himself by, such was his dash going forward.
Killimor will obviously be disappointed at their performance but they possess some promising young hurlers and they have laid a solid foundation for the future. Goalkeeper Tommy Callaghy, Dara Horan, Kevin Muldoon, Martin Kelly (in patches), Niall O'Meara and Eamon Hanney were their best performers. Team captain Ger Kirwan made a couple of mighty clearances, but at times was less than safe, while only two scores from play sums up the ineptitude of the attack where Noel Brody and Vinny Brien battled bravely throughout.
PEARSES: J. O'Grady, E. Lydon, G. McDonagh, F. McDonagh, T. O'Grady, S. Lawless, J. Jenkins, F. Finn, D. Roche (0-1), J. Fahy (1-0), J. Carr, F. O'Brien, PJ Connell (1-0), Tony O'Brien (0-1), Tom O'Brien (0-4, 3 frees).
KILLIMOR: T. Callaghy, B. Lawless, G. Kirwan, D. Horan, M. Kelly, K. Muldoon, P. Finnegan, E. Hanney, N. O'Meara (0-1), G. Daly (0-1), N. Brody (1-0), J. Malone, M. Quinn, M. Fahy, V. Brien (0-4, all frees). Subs: O. Reilly for Quinn, T. Brien for Malone.
Referee: S. Moran (Kilconieron)
John McIntyre, Connacht Tribune
This County Intermediate Final, played at Duggan Park on Sunday was every bit as close as the scoreline suggests. Although Pearses had much the better of things in the second half of the game, there was always the possibility, right up to the final whistle, that Killimor might pull something out of the bag and bring about a result that might not altogether reflect the the full run of play. Both clubs were seeking their first title at this grade and consequently there was no lack of effort from either side. Although a light shower before the game made it hard for the players to hold their footing. The pace all through was was excellent and the big crowd that turned up for the 1.30pm start got plenty to cheer about.
As they walked disconsolately off the pitch, the Killimor forwards must have been regretting their early prodigality. They started the first half with a good breeze behind them and while they managed to register two goals and three points, what the scoreboard didn to show was the fact that, in the half hour they had also shot 9 wides. Pearses were not as wasteful. They managed a goal and two points and only registered two wides. At half time then, it was obvious that Killimor would have a fight on their hands if they were to stay in the game. The second half followed it's expected course. Pearses grafted away, taking their chances as they presented themselves and deploying their defence well, they kept the Killimor forwards in reasonable check. They too in their turn became a little wasteful and allowed a few chances to go a begging.
Killimor were on the move from the throw-in and they were a point up after a minute, with a free from Patsy Curley. Killimor continued to press, but very good work from Pearses half-back Tom O'Grady nipped many promising movements in the bud. Pearses got an attack going and it took a good clearance by Killimor full-back Michael Headd to ease the pressure. A long range free by Paraic Hobbs set Killimor attacking again. The defence got the ball away, but Killimor came back in force and and a very fine move ended with the ball inches wide. In the sixth minute Pearses broke upfield in an attack along the right wing. The ball was sent in from the right wing where the defence was concentrated. It came to the unmarked Eamonn Bellew and without wasting a second he connected with the ball and sent it to the net, well out of the reach of Killimor keeper, Benny Hoary.
Killimor's immediate reply was another wide and they followed this with with tow more, before the tenth minute they earned close free. Patsy Curley's shot was looking good but Michael King in the Pearses goal went up well to grab it. It fell from his grasp and rolled around the square. Killimor Full-forward Tom O'Hara finished he ball to the net to put Killimor 1 in front. Pearses rallied to force a 65. The ball was partially cleared but it was picked up on the right and sent back in over the bar by midfielder Kevin Donnellan to leave the sides level. For the next ten minutes the hurling was hard, with both sides having their chances. In the twentieth minute Patsy Curley sent a Killimor free over the bar, but intend of marking the score in his book the referee instead took the names of the two players who were indulging themselves a little as they waited close to the goal. The free was retaken and Curley was again on target.
Excitement was high and neither team lacked encouragement. Pearses moved Brendan Hardiman from attack to defence and he gave solidity to a hard-pressed defence. Though Killimor kept up the pressure they were off target in their finishing. Two minutes before half-time Eamonn Hanney stretched their lead with a well-taken point and before the Kilimor cheers had died down the forwards were swarming again around the Pearses goal. Martin Coen finished to the net. Just before the half-time whistle Frank Finn had a point for Pearses and almost immediately The Killimor goal had a very narrow escape. At the interval Killimor led 2-3 to 1-2 and many were wondering if that margin would be enough in the circumstances.
Both sides used the interval to make positional changes. Pearses started the second half with plenty of fire and kept the Killimor defence well stretched. killimor broke out of defence to mount a good attack but Ian Barrett threw away the chance of a lifetime when he shot wide from in front of the goal. Pearses went on the attack and Eamonn Bellew pointed on 34 minutes. Alfie Barrett made a good run soon after for another Pearses point. Frank Finn was now starting to get the advantage at midfield and Pearses were kept on the move. Alfie Barrett, ex-couty full-back, Joe Clarke and Eamonn Bellew now moved a a half-forward line should and caused plenty of problems for the Killimor defence. With fifteen minutes remaining, after a period of sustained pressure, Pearses broke through the Killimor defence. Keeper Benny Hoary had no option but to charge the inrushing Joe Clarke, but Clarke cooly moved the ball away from the goalkeeper and tapped it to the net. Shortly later Frank Finn sent over another Pearses point from 50 meters.
Seeing their chance of the title slipping away Killimor rallied and Eamonn Hanney had a point from a free on the right to cut their deficit to one. They tried again, but Pearses goalkeeper Michael King did well to save from O'Hara. Pearses wasted a couple of chances before Brendan Hardiman pointed a free. Killimor came again and Tom O'Hara got under Eamonn Hanney's centre to both another point for the black and amber, and rester their flagging hope. Only a point in front Pearses rallied. Benny Hoary was called on to make fine save, before victory was finally assured.
Pearses had a good keeper in Michael King, who made some fine saves. Tom O'Grady was an outstanding defender, always in the midst of the action and another to catch the eye was corner back Pat Bellew. Brendan Hardiman divided his time between defence and attack and did well in both sectors. Frank Finn and Kevin Donnellan were good in midfield, after they had settled. The line of half-forwards Alfie Barrett, Fr. Joe Clarke and Eamonn Bellew were always a threat to the Killimor defence. For Killimor Eamonn Hanney, Tom O'Hara and Patsy Curley were lively forwards, but generally, the attack lacked cohesion and finishing power. John Headd and Ian Barrett ad their moments at midfield but they did not pair as well as their opponents. Paraic Hobbs, Michael Headd and Liam Beirne did well in defence as did keeper Benny Hoary.
PEARSES: M. King, J. Raftery, T. McDonagh, P. Bellew, T. O'Grady, G. McDonagh, M. Kilkenny, F. Finn (0-2), K. Donnellan (0-1), A. Barrett (0-1), J. Clarke (1-0), E. Bellew (1-1), B. Hardiman (0-1f), M. Raftery, PJ O'Connell. Sub: T. Burns for M. Raftery.
KILLIMOR: B. Hoary, P. Hobbs, M. Headd, M. Egan, M. Donoghue, P. Starr, L. Beirne, J. Headd, I. Barrett, E. Hanney (0-2), M. Dillon, P. Curley (0-2f), P. Blayney, T. O'Hara (1-1), M. Coen (1-0).
Referee: J. Sherry.
A week ago, when these two teams qualified for this Final in Duggan Park, the hurling was undistinguished to the degree that many were wondering if the two winners were a true representation of Minor Hurling in Galway. Seven days later, at the same venue the two qualifiers met in a thrilling final that wiped away all the despondency of the week previous. The teams lined out much as they had done the week before, but the playas much improved. As in their Semi-Final Pearses were trailing at half-time and their supporters must have been worried that had wasted a number of excellent chances. Gort were looking good and midfielders Pearse Piggott and Gerry Lally were well on top. But the game did turn around and was in doubt right up to the final whistle and even after, as the clinching goal scored in the final seconds was disallowed by the referee.
Pearses opened well, PJ O'Connell collected a loose ball from the throw-in and coolly sent the ball over the Gort bar. Pearses goalkeeper John O'Grady conceded a 70 from Derek Fahy's shot, which Gerry Lally converted. Gerry Linnane then pointed to put Gort into a lead they did not surrender for another 50 minutes. With Gerry Lally doing fine work in midfield the Gort forwards were kept busy. Gort's next point came in the sixth minute from Pearse Piggott. Gort kept up the pressure and the Pearses defence conceded a penalty, Lally took his point. Pearses keeper John O'Grady was having some difficulty in getting length into his puckouts against the breeze and this was putting pressure on his colleagues. One of the puckouts was sent back to the goalmouth in the ninth minute. O'Grady collected the ball and in attempting to clear he was hooked and the ball ran free. Corner-forward John Sullivan was in quickly to send the ball to the net.
Pearses shored up the defence with a substitution and got an attack going that yielded only a wide. Then a delivery from PJ O'Connell was sent to the net by corner-forward Michael Ryan. However, Gort's midfield regained control and the Pearses defence was stretched again. Pearses did manage to break out and they were awarded a close in free. The Gort goalkeeper saved well but could not kill the ball, which ran to Pearses' James Healy, but he failed to convert. Gort missed a similar chance, but the ball fell to John Lally who goaled. Just before the quarter mark Pearse Piggott stretched Gort's lead by a point. At this stage the hurling was good and close, with Gort finishing better.
In the twenty-second minute, as Pearses were valiantly fighting to cut a seven point lead, more chances went a begging. James Healy moved the ball to centre-forward Martin Raftery, he drew the defence before sending the ball across the face of the goal to Michael Ryan, but his timing was wrong and the ball sailed wide. Shortly after, Ryan had another chance but again his luck was out. Gort keeper Monaghan then made a fine save from full-forward Tomas Lydon. Shortly afterwards another ball came across the Gort goalmouth. Pat Dillon swung but again failed to connect. Martin Raftery managed to win possession and send the ball back over the bar to compensate. Three minutes before half-time Gerry Lally sent a free over the Pearses bar to leave Gort in the lead at the interval, 2-6 to 1-2.
Gort went further ahead inside the first few minutes of the second half when Gerry Lally pointed a sixty yard free. A Gort attack was thwarted by Pearses centre-back Kevin Donnellan, who as the game progressed was to become hugely influential. Pearses, to the audible frustration of their supporters, continued to waste chances. PJ O'Connell now to midfield, was beginning to get the measure Gort's Gerry Lally. The tide was beginning to turn. Pearses mentors then made the move that changed it all, Kevin Donnellan was switched to mark Gerry Lally. On the eighth minute Donnellan pointed a free and a minute later pointed from play, then a he added a 65, before PJ O'Connell hit a long range point. Now it was all Pearses. They swarmed the Gort goal and chances were plenty. Substitute Brendan Barrett and Tomas Lydon shot scoreable wides.
Twelve minutes from time, all Pearses' missed chances were balanced by one stroke, 70 yards from the Gort goal, a free from Kevin Donnellan deceived the Gort keeper and went all the way to the net. Pearses had now cut the margin to two. Donnellan pointed another 65, then seven minutes from full-time they drew level, with a Tomas Lydon point, Donnellan providing the assist. Donnellan then pointed another free, by this stage he seemed to have taken over the game. Gerry Lally leveled for Gort and with 5 minutes left it was all to play for. Pearses pulled ahead again with a point from Pat Dillon. A Gort free fell short, but was gathered by substitute Frank Shaw who leveled the game once again. Pearses' Gerry Healy sent a pass to PJ O'Connell and Duggan Park erupted as he sent the ball sailing over the Gort crossbar for the lead score. A sideline ball was cut back into the Gort square where James Healy finished to the net. Pearses joy knew no bounds. But the referee ruled that the goal would be disallowed as it had come after he had blown for a free out.
There were many heroes for Pearses, but none more so than Kevin Donnellan, whose performance in the second half was an inspiration. Martin McDonagh, Gerry Healy and JJ Queeney were best in defence. Martin Raftery and PJ O'Connell were the best of the forwards. But most of all it was a team victory, for a team that just wouldn't give in. Gort's best player was Gerry Lally, who was excellent in the first half. He was well shackled in the second half. Pearse Piggott showed well, with the best of the defence being John Crehan and Francis Walshe. Gerry Linnane, John Sullivan and substitute Frank Shaw were the pick of the forwards.
PEARSES: J O'Grady, JJ Queeney, M McDonagh, A Bellew, P Glynn, K Donnellan (1-4, 1-3f), G Healy, G. Murphy, M Bellew, P Dillon (0-1), M. Raftery (0-1), PJ O'Connell (0-3), M Ryan (1-0), T Lydon (0-1), J. Healy. Subs: B Cummins for A Bellew, B Corbett for M Ryan.
GORT: T Monaghan, G McInerney, F Walshe, N Kelly, M Walsh, D Kearns, J Crehan, P Piggott (0-2), G Lally (0-5, 4f), J Counihan, G Linnane (0-1), D Fahy, J Lally (1-0), M Loughrey, J Sullivan (1-0). Subs: D Duffy for J Counihan, Frank Shaw for J Lally.
Referee: Frank Corcoran (Sarsfields).
Padraig Pearses, as the score suggests, had a surprisingly easy victory over a Oranmore/Maree side in the final of the County Junior Hurling Championship, played in atrocious weather conditions in Kenny Stadium, Athenry on Sunday. After a dream start, the Oranmore/Maree combination faded badly and little time had elapsed before the East Board Champions assumed complete control.
Gerry Murray at centre half forward was 'Man of the Match' for the winners, but as a team they were a far superior fifteen to the West Board men and rarely looked in danger of being beaten. A tremendous burst upfield direct from the throw in ended in a fine goal for Oranmore/Maree scored by Michael Carr and when M. Foley added a point, minutes later, it looked as though it could be their day.
Gerry Murray and Billy Kelly exchanged points before the Pearses onslaught began.
James Molloy cut through for a well taken goal, a brilliant save by Jimmy Reilly was deflected to the Pearses net and minutes later James Molloy had his second major to put Pearses well ahead. Before half time Kevin Blehein and Gerry Murray had further points to consolidate their position. The writing was on the wall for Oranmore/Maree at the interval and when James Molloy hammered in another goal for Pearses the game was as good as over. Hanniffy and Blehein exchanged points and before the finish Molloy and Burns had further goals for the winners to which Oranmore/Maree replied with a Liam Hanniffy goal.
Tom Rock in goal for the winners had a good hour and had good cover from his backs especially Joe Molloy, Tom Cloonan and Brendan Hardiman. Paul Ryan and Kevin Blehein got an even break at midfield, while Gerry Murray was the spearhead of the Pearses attack. Tom Burns played a captain's part at right half forward and James Molloy was a dangerous opportunist.
Jimmy Reilly brought off some fine saves between the posts for Oranmore/Maree and was not entirely to blame for the shots that beat him. Tom Walsh was a sound full back and Sean Hanniffy a tenacious defender, while Kieran Furey and Billy Kelly played well in the centre. Best of the forwards were Foley, Fitzgerald and Liam Hanniffy.
PEARSES: T. Rock, P. Hillary, J. Molloy, T. Molloy, M. Kilkenny, T. Cloonan, B. Hardiman, P. Ryan, K. Blehein (0-2), T. Burns (1-0), G. Murray (1-2), K. Raftery, V. Connor, J. Molloy (4-0), S. McDonagh.
ORANMORE/MAREE: J. Reilly, P. McGrath, T. Walsh, J. Greally, M. Killilea, S. Burke, S. Hanniffy, K. Furey, B. Kelly (0-1), M. Foley (0-1), T. Madden, T. Greally, M. Carr (1-0), D. Fitzgerald, L. Hanniffy (1-1).
Referee: B. Gardiner (Athenry).
Connacht Tribune 1967
Padraig Pearses won their first East Board title when they beat Tynagh in the Junior Hurling Final at Ballinasloe on Sunday and so brought the first championship cup to the parish of Gurteen and Ballymacward since 1940.
This was an exciting hard-fought game up to the final whistle. Tynagh were he first to break away and led by two points after five minutes, but a goal from a melee soon had Pearses ahead in the sixth minute and they stayed in front. With the advantage of a slight breeze the winners lead at the interval by 3-5 to 0-4.
From possession at the restart Tynagh piled on the pressure and a defensive slip by Pearses led to a goal to which Dervan added points to cut the lead to five points. At this stage it looked like the losers still had a chance, but a breakaway by Pearses captain Tim Burns resulted in a great goal by Vin Connor, which was followed by another by full-forward Jim Molloy. Henceforth the Tynagh men were fighting a losing battle against a hard pulling Pearses side that seemed to be improving as the game progressed.
This was a team triumph for Pearses and their first time pulling on the ground and over head played a significant part in their win. In addition they were yards faster to the ball than their opposite numbers. It was Pearses' greatest hour since the recent formation of the club and it was a great performance on the part of the new combination to have brought a title to the parish so soon, after a lapse of twenty-seven years. outstanding for the winners were Tim Burns, Gerry Murray, Jim Molloy, Joe Molloy, Tom Cloonan and Martin Kilkenny. Best for Tynagh were the three Dervan brothers, Harney, Reilly and Robinson.
PEARSES: T. Rock, P. Hillary, Joe Molloy, T. Molloy, M. Kilkenny, T. Cloonan, B. Hardiman, K. Blehein, P. Ryan, K. Raftery, G. Murray, T. Burns, S. McDonagh, Jim Molloy, V. Connor. Subs: M. Finnerty, A. Doyle, M. Lally and P. Walsh.
Tynagh: J. Gordon, S. Conroy, D. Burke, D. Robinson, K. Slattery, N. Dervan, M. Reilly, C. Hynes, M. Dervan, I. Harney, W.J. Cunningham, J. Dervan, M. Felle, P. Robinson, M. Kelly.
Referee: Mr. T. Boyle (Ballinasloe).
Connacht Tribune 1967
Ballymacward confounded the critics in the final of the Kilconnell Hurling Tournament in Kilconnell on Monday when they beat a fancied Fohenagh side by a a single point. Earlier the same day Ballymacward had accounted for Tynagh after a hectic struggle, while Fohenagh were hard pressed to defeat a determined combination from Kilconnell. This final was marked by some neat passages of hurling. Fohenagh tried hard to gain the equaliser but the stalwart Ballymacward defence could not be beaten. In those last pulsating moments Tim Sweeney (Fohenagh's County player) found much tougher opposition than he met against Clare the previous day. Outstanding for Ballymacward were Lydon and Harte in the back line, Ruane and Murray at midfield and O'Dea in the forward line. The following was the victorious Ballymacward team: P. Murray, M. Harte, P. Kenny, T. Bellew, M. Mentane, M. Lydon, M. Kenny, P. Ruane, N. Murray, P. Mentane, J. O'Dea, J. Costello, T. Burns, G. Murray, J. Collins.
Connacht Tribune 1955
Two County titles went to the North board on Sunday last in Kilconieron, when Ballymacward (North Board Champions) defeated Loughrea in the hurling final by 5-7 to 4-2 and Castleblakeney defeated Ballinasloe in the football final by 4-10 to 2-3. The two winning teams are from neighboring parishes. They both trained hard for the finals and this training was the deciding factor. The victorious fifteens were superior to their opponents in both Speed and stamina. M. Keegan (Ballinasloe) refereed the hurling game and P. Russell refereed the football match. The hurling game was fast and clean throughout and despite unfavorable weather some grand camán craft was on display. Loughrea opened the scoring with a point from Mannion and soon after J. Ward goaled for Ballymacward. Other scorers for Ballymacward in this half were: Raftery, Sweeney and Mannion. McNamee and Daniels had goals for Loughrea. This left the half-time score at Ballymacward 2-2; Loughrea 2-1.
Ward, playing a grand game at centre goaled for Ballymacward early in the second half. At this stage Kennedy and Fahy were having the better of the centrefield exchanges. Fahy, in particular, was outstanding. He distributed the ball efficiently to the forwards a who let few opportunities go astray. A great Loughrea rally found Bellew, Fahy, Kenny, Kindregan, Connell and Carr sound in defence, but continued pressure by a Loughrea forward division in which the McNamee brothers, Griffin and Flynn were prominent eventually got the Ballymacward lead down to two points. A grand effort by Fahy and Kenny for Ballymacward won a goal for Kennedy and from this on Ballymacward shaped up like winners. Fahy, Carty and Clarke held up many Loughrea efforts to pierce the defence and Carey, Mannion and Sweeney added to the Ballymacward score. The cup was presented to the Ballymacward captain by Mr. J. Whelan (Secretary of Galway County Board) who congratulated both teams on their displays.
Connacht Tribune 1940