Tears in Duggan Park

Abbeyknockmoy 5-5 Pearses 2-6, Report by Martina Donnellan. Abbeyknockmoy’s more physical outfit got the better of a young Pearses U14 team in the U14C final played in Duggan Park this evening. The Abbey lads held the upper hand for the entire first half and they led by 2-2 to 0-2 at half time. The pulsating Niall Mannion scored the first point of the evening for Abbeyknockmoy after he showed a great burst of pace while Conor Moran had levelled matters by the 3rd minute after he himself was fouled.

Pearses however, conceded the next couple of scores, in the form of goals; a first from Kevin Maher which Harry Mitchell initially saved but Maher was on hand to finish and a second bullet from Niall Mannion which Harry could simply do nothing about. Abbeyknockmoy never looked back after hitting the front as they were led by the towering Mannion, Maher and Cian Quirke.

Niall Mannion added another after he fetched a high lobbing ball, weaved himself into a scoring position to tap over and put Abbeyknockmoy in the driving seat. Pearses received a let-off after a humdinger rebounded off the crossbar and Harry Mitchell made an exceptional diving save to save Abbey nudging further ahead. Conor Moran tapped over another free just before half time to leave Abbeyknockmoy firmly in front 2-2 to 0-2.

Pearses were playing into the scoring goal in the 2nd half and badly needed to get some scores on the board. However, it was Abbey who scored first, a free from Cian Quirke and a point from Niall Mannion from a difficult angle. Conor Moran responded with a Pearses free after Anthony Feeney was fouled. Niall McDonagh scored from play after Jonah Donnellan kicked the ball into his path and he hit a lovely point on the run.

Cian Quirke kept Abbey in front with another pointed free and Abbeyknockmoy scored another unstoppable bullet which found the net and stretch Abbey further in front. Then Pearses were thrown a lifeline when Darragh Roche found the net after Ronan Hynes sprayed the ball across the field to him. Roche still had some work to do to shake off some tackles but finished well. Straight from the resultant puck out Ronan Hynes fed Niall McDonagh who at this stage was playing in a centre field role and he reduced the deficit to 2 goals with a point over his right shoulder.

Conor Moran pointed from play after Paddy Kenny’s quickly taken 65’ found the unmarked Moran. At this stage the momentum was with the Pearses lads as Darragh Roche narrowly missed when another inch of a stretch from him might have seen him finish to the net. Abbey broke Pearses flow with another goal this time from Maher. Conor Moran was wide with a free when it looked like he was going for the top corner. However, Darragh Roche who never gave up and fought for every ball, even those which looked a lost cause was rewarded when he was upended and the ref signalled for a penalty.

Up stepped Moran, the gait of him told us he’d go for it and his low hard effort rattled the net to put 5points between the sides, 4-5 to 2-6. Pearses tried hard in the closing stages to push on but were stopped in their tracks due predominantly to the strength of the opposition. Abbeyknockmoy got another goal right at the end to put a better gloss on the scoreline for them while Harry Mitchell made a point blank save almost as the final whistle was blown. Final Score: Abbeyknockmoy 5-5; Pearses 2-6.

Pearses tried hard but were unsuccessful in gaining a real foothold in the game as they were thwarted by a strong more physical Abbey side. The concession of two goals were a hard blow to take so early in the game and Pearses were left chasing the game to the end. That said, most of Pearses lads are U14 again next year. The effort and commitment shown by all was commendable and they never let the jersey down. Jack Reilly got in plenty of tackles in the backs while Paddy Kenny was a revelation with clearance after clearance and put in a titanic tussle with Abbey’s strike force.

Mark Donnellan won plenty of ball in the rucks and went on some thwarting runs while Oisin Donoghue and Niall McDonagh worked hard in the half back line although Niall settled into his more natural midfield berth more in the 2nd half. Midfielders, Anthony Feeney and Orin Burke put in a good grind while Conor Moran did his job on the placed balls, Ronan Hynes did a lot of donkey work andamp;amp; Darragh Roche never gave up. The forward duo of Conor Kelly and Cillian Fahy showed great heart. There may have been tears afterwards but we all learn more in defeat than we do in victory. So lads take a bow.

Well done to Abbeyknockmoy on their reward this evening as Pearses now look forward to the upcoming Feile in 2 weeks time. Thanks to mentors, manager Martin Scarry assisted by Eddie Mitchell, Sean O’Neill and Declan Lawless for their efforts and commitment shown to this squad this year.

Scorers: Conor Moran 1-4 (1 pen; 0-3f); Darragh Roche 1-0; Niall McDonagh 0-2.

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