Turloughmore 2-7; Pearses 2-1: Report by Martina Donnellan. Gallant, valiant, lion-hearted, courageous, brave are all words that spring to mind in Pearses gutsy and dogged performance against All-Ireland Feile Champions Turloughmore in Round 2 of the Toddie Byrne Cup played in Turloughmore this evening.
Eddie Mitchell’s charges produced an impressive display before losing to Turloughmore in dreadful weather conditions as Storm Hannah was starting to brew up for its siege on the southern part of the country at the time, but the Pearses lads were not blown away by either the storm or the might of Turloughmore as they battled bravely and brilliantly right through to the end, making life tough for their opponents. They hurled with full commitment and matched the gusto of the home side while the final scoreline may not fully reflect their performance. Turloughmore set the tempo from the word go with a great goal within seconds from their driving centre forward Eanna Monaghan. No. 12 added a point from play followed by 2 points from play from Eanna Monaghan to go 1-3 in front on 14mins. Although Turloughmore were in command, Pearses backs were playing out of their skin as 11 year old Padraig Kelly and Cormac Hillary were revelling in the corners, Conor Hillary stuck to his man like a diúilicín and Paddy Kenny man marked the impressive Eanna Monaghan with some tenacious tackling and blockdowns and at one stage even made a clearance whilst felled to the ground. Jack Reilly and Jonah Donnellan completed an impressive Pearses defence.
Pearses goaled just before half time as Cilly Fahey twisted and turned in a bid to get his shot in; his effort was blocked down, fell to Oliver Laheen who fed Dara Scarry and as Scar sent in a high lobbing ball, it was kicked to the net for a tonic goal by the towering 11year old Diarmuid Ryan to pull Pearses right back into the game before the break. Half time: Pearses 1-0; Turloughmore 1-3. A very welcome cuppa helped to thaw the spectators at half time and make 2nd half viewing a bit more comfortable for the die-hards given the cold, wet, stormy conditions. Pearses started strong and goaled after 3 mins when the ball broke from an endline ruck, was picked up by Ronan Hynes who found Conor Kelly and his ground pull took a deflection off the boot of Anthony Feeney to find the net and level matters for the first time. Straight from the puck out Turloughmore restored their 1 point advantage.
Immediately, Pearses responded as a good run from Orin Burke who played out of his skin and certainly revelled in this battle, found Oliver Laheen who in turn found the in-form Conor Kelly who hit the ball off the hurl and over after a great solo through the middle. Eanna Monaghan responded with 2 points for the All Ireland Champions, one from play and a free. The turning point came midway through the 2nd half when another great run from Conor Kelly drew 3 players on him and as he passed to Anthony Feeney, he walloped on the ground but his effort was inches wide. Eanna Monaghan put the home side back in the driving seat as they won the resultant puck out which was picked up by Monaghan and he weaved across the goal and let fly from a difficult angle to fire to the roof of the net and put 5 points between the sides. With a minute left Turloughmore pointed again from play while the resultant puck out was whipped on the ground by Oliver Laheen and as Dara Scarry was goalward bound, appeared to be dragged down but the ref abruptly blew for full time as the Pearses contingent were shouting for a penalty which fell on deaf ears. Final score: Turloughmore 2-7; Pearses 2-1.
There’s no doubt though that the Pearses boys headed home much happier than they did on Wednesday night as they made the home side earn their win. From 1-15, they were tenacious and dogged and although playing conditions were tough it was obvious these boys enjoyed this game. Thanks to Turloughmore for the welcome hospitality provided in the Baltic weather conditions which helped to warm up both sets of players a few degrees. Round 3 for Pearses will see an early morning start against Gort tomorrow, Saturday at 11am while everyone will be anxious to see who comes out trumps in the Clarinbridge vs Turloughmore battle if Hannah doesn’t knock proceedings in the meantime.
Pearses: Diarmuid Ryan 1-0; Anthony Feeney 1-0; Conor Kelly 0-1 Panel: Harry Mitchell, Padraig Kelly, Jack Reilly, Cormac Hillary, Jonah Donnellan, Paddy Kenny, Conor Hillary, Orin Burke, Anthony Feeney, Ronan hynes, Conor Kelly, Cilly Fahey, Dara Scarry, Oliver Laheen, Diarmuid Ryan, Cian Burke, James Queeney, Cathal Hynes, Patrick O’Neill, Conor Walsh.