Sweeney Shoots U16s into FInal

A brilliant display from Brian Sweeney powered our U16 hurlers to the U16B Championship Final yesterday evening in Kenny Park. Sweeney was outstanding from start to finish, with three first-half goals, all from 21-yard-frees setting the tone. He also had the ball in the net early in the second half, but for Referee Leonard Fay and his umpire to disallow it for an adjudged square ball.
The first Pearses goal arrived after just four minutes, when Lee Murphy finished to the net to open a four point lead. Before Portumna registered their first score in the 13th minute, Sweeney had added another 1-1 to the Pearses tally. Portumna added a second point, but did not score again for the remainder of the half. Sweeney’s hat-trick was complete by the 28th minute, before Keith Connell landed two long range frees in succession to leave the half-time score, Pearses 4-4 Portumna 0-2.
Portumna were much improved in the second half and dominated the third quarter, adding 3-3 (to Pearses 0-2) to their half-time score by the 44th minute. It was in this period also that Sweeney had a possible fourth goal disallowed. The margin was now down to just four points (4-6 to 3-5) and the Shannonsiders looked like they were about to pull off the most unlikely of comebacks.andamp;nbsp;
Yet again Sweeney took up the mantle. His direct running, as it had been doing all evening, tormented the Portumna defence in the closing stages. As darkness fell in the final quarter, Pearses subdued any possibility of a comeback, outscoring Portumna 0-5 to 0-1. Four of these points coming from Sweeney and the fifth another long range free from Keith Connell.
It was a great win, gaining revenge for the loss in an earlier Group game, to the same opposition, but most importantly securing a place in the Final. Pearses were best served by Ronan Carr and Ronan O’Neill in defence and Paul Lally who worked tirelessly alongside Sweeney in the middle of the park and Lee Murphy in attack, despite suffering the effects of a late challenge early in the game.andamp;nbsp;
St Thomas’ overcame Oranmore-Maree in the first Semi-Final played before this one also in Athenry. It was a surprise, considering Oranmore-Maree had topped the Group. St Thomas’ will now play Pearses in the Final, whichandamp;nbsp;was initially set to be played on Monday evening, but will more likely be at the end of next week. Fixture will be confirmed during the week.andamp;nbsp;Pearses have played Thomas’ earlier this year, in the opening Group game, defeating them 0-16 to 1-4. Hopefully the outcome can be the same in the Final!
Pearses: Sean Murray; Ronan Carr, Keith Connell (0-3), Ronan Flannery; Matthew Walsh, Ronan O’Neill, Dermot Byrnes; Brian Sweeney (3-8), Paul Lally; Daniel Masterson, Matthew Ruane, Eoghan Burke; Conor O’Neill, Lee Murphy (1-0), Emmett Costello. Sub used: Seandamp;aacute;n Flaherty.

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