Senior C’ship, Round 4

Pearses 1-19 Athenry 0-13. The Club’s Senior hurlers returned to second place in the Group with a good win in Duggan Park yesterday evening. 7 of the 8 Quarter-Final spots have already been filled, leaving this Group the last to be decided. Pearses are now in pole position to join Gort in the knockout stages, with Clarinbridge and Athenry also in still in contention.
This game looked as if it was heading for a close finish with the teams tied on 0-12 each 10 minutes into the second half. Pearses had just pulled back a two point lead. However a powerful finish by the men in black and white, outscoring Athenry by 1-7 to 0-1 in the remaining time seen them home.
Athenry had the better start and led 0-4 to 0-2 (Kerrill Hardiman and Ronan Bellew) after 6 minutes. Cathal Keane and County football star, Tom Flynn, among the scorers for Athenry. The next nine minutes seen Pearses on top and the scores were level 0-6 each at the end of the first quarter. Bellew (2), Tomás Flannery and Damien Wynne on the mark.
Pearses then hit the front thanks to another Bellew free. Up front Flannery was causing problems for the Athenry, Cyril Donnellan was anchoring the defence well and with Gary Lally working hard in his roving role Pearses added two more points (Bellew and Flannery), 0-9 to 0-6. Athenry fought their way back and Cathal Keane drew it level in first-half injury time, 0-9 each.
Tom Flannery, now at wing-forward, and Cathal Keane exchanged points just after the break. Then long-serving Athenry forward, David Donoghue pointed from play and a sideline to put Athenry two up 5 minutes after the restart. Pearses landed the next 3 points to regain the lead, 0-13 to 0-12. The pick of them a Flannery score from the left touchline following good work by Colm Raftery, 0-17 to 0-12 after 26 minutes. Athenry’s chances took a further blow when they were reduced to 14 men, Mark Hannon seeing red. Jimmy Gelston struck his second point before Athenry ended a 28 minute scoreless spell with a free.
Another Flannery placed ball in injury time looked to have sealed the deal, but there was still time for more. Sub Aidan Kilkenny was fouled by Athenry keeper John Grealish. Referee Christy Browne allowed the advantage but Kilkenny’s one-handed strike came off the crossbar. Browne awarded the penalty and Tom Flannery buried it to the net. The icing on the cake.
Pearses will play Kiltomer in the Final group game, a win would guarantee passage to the Quarter-Finals. Athenry (v Gort) and Clarinbridge (v Ardrahan) both need to win and hope for Pearses to slip-up to have a chance of qualification.
Pearses: P O’Brien; T McDonagh, T Kenny, R Lally; A Bellew, C Donnellan, K Hardiman (0-1); D Wynne (0-1), C Raftery; E Ward, J Gelston (0-2), S Hardiman (0-1); G Lally, T Flannery (1-8), R Bellew (0-6). Subs used: L Murphy, A Kilkenny, R O’Neill, E Cunniffe.

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