Report by Martina Donnellan. Probably, one of the youngest teams fielding for the Galway Feile endured a tough baptism before a small crowd of die-hards in a wet Ballymacward pitch this evening. Pearses young charges fell to a 15-point loss to a slicker-moving Clarinbridge unit in their opening game of Feile’s Toddie Byrne Cup. Pearses were blown away by the concession of four goals in the space of seven first-half minutes which emphatically ended the game as a contest. It’s unlikely to get any easier with a tough test with Turloughmore on Friday evening, given that the boys in black and white hoops were National Feile champions in 2018.
Just 20 seconds had elapsed when Aaron Niland, brother of hurling star Evan, had Clarinbridge off the mark with a good point from play. Darragh Roche, just returned from a broken ankle, tapped over a free following a good solo run from Conor Kelly while straight from the puck out Clarinbridge hammered home their first goal. Aaron Niland scored 3 more goals in a 5 minute flurry, the 2nd one Harry Mitchell saved but was deemed behind the line and then he walloped a penalty to the net to make it 4-1 to 0-1. Shane Kennedy scored from play for Clarinbridge although Conor Hillary had made life difficult for him. Cilly Fahey squeezed the ball inside the butt of the post to pull back a goal after Conor Kelly did the hard work as he burst through the middle before spraying the pass to Fahey who collected the off-load in full stride, throttled forward and lashed low to the net. Half time: Pearses 1-1; Clarinbridge 4-2.
Niland continued his form straight from the restart with another great point from play. Niland goaled again as he weaved in front of goal after collecting a hand pass from No. 9. Darragh Kearney added another point for Clarinbridge from play added to by two Niland frees and a free from No. 9 making sure Pearses went through a steep learning curve. In the dying seconds Ronan Hynes latched onto a free from Orin Burke to draw a good save from the goalie. The resultant 65’ was taken by Orin Burke, won by Oliver Laheen who earned a free which Orin lashed to the net from a good distance out to finish on a positive note. Niland chipped in with an impressive tally of about 4-4, he may even have scored the first goal as well. It was a tough baptism for Pearses young guns while the outcome was never in doubt one way or the other. Final score: Pearses 2-1; Clarinbridge 5-7.
Pearses play Turloughmore on Friday evening at 6.30 in Turloughmore and Gort on Saturday morning at 11am in Gort in their remaining Feile games.
Pearses: Harry Mitchell, Conor Hillary, Jack Reilly, Cormac Hillary, David Walsh, Paddy Kenny, Jonah Donnellan, Orin Burke, Anthony Feeney, Ronan Hynes, Conor Kelly, Oliver Laheen, Cillian Fahey, Darragh Roche, Dara Scarry, Padraig Kelly, Dillon Roche, Diarmuid Ryan, Patrick O’Neill, James Queeney, Conor Walsh.