Toddie Byrne Cup Round 3

Pearses 1-15 Gort 1-4. Report by Martina Donnellan. Bouyed up by their performance yesterday evening against Turloughmore; Pearses youngsters were queuing for the Gort pitch entrance gates to open this morning at 10.10am, such was their eagerness to continue on from where they left off the evening before and the opening double header certainly didn’t disappoint. (Clarinbridge and Turloughmore – the other feast). Orin Burke, Paddy Kenny andamp;amp; Conor Kelly were the main instigators of an 11 point demolition of Gort in Round 3 of the Toddie Byrne Cup. In the 2nd game of the morning; Turloughmore beat Clarinbridge to top our group and went on to beat Loughrea in the afternoon’s semi-finals of the Feile competition and are now through to the final tomorrow in Kenny Park, Athenry as they bid to defend their title.

Gort got off to the best possible start and made it 1-1 to 0-0 on 4mins with a well taken goal followed by a pointed effort from play. Conor Kelly, Dara Scarry andamp;amp; Cilly Fahey linked up well as the latter was fouled and Orin tapped it over from close range. Kelly originated the move with that trademark solo of his as he found Oliver Laheen and the ball broke to Cilly who found the range with a well taken point. Conor Kelly again cut through the heart of Gort’s defence, found Cilly Fahey and as the ball broke, it was collected nicely by Dara Scarry who tapped over on 8mins. Paddy Kenny andamp;amp; Anthony Feeney worked the ball nicely from defence and as the hard working Ronan Hynes was fouled, Orin tapped the free over to bring them back into contention and level matters midway through the 1st half.
Orin showed great accuracy on the frees as he tapped over his 3rd of the match after the tenacious Cilly Fahey who showed a ‘never say die attitude’ was fouled. No. 8 missed a scoreable free for Gort as the ball curled away from the posts at the last minute while Cian Naughton pointed from play for Gort to draw the game for the 2nd time. Pearses then had a great goal chance after Orin Burke was again instrumental in the move, found Conor Kelly who tapped the ball across the goal to Dara Scarry who was lurking in the area, pulled on the ball but the goalie saved well. As the ball fell back into play, it was gathered by Pearses key man Orin Burke who showed great athleticism as he tapped over and quickly continued his accuracy from placed balls with his 4th converted free of the day.

Gort pointed from play on 19mins while straight from the puck out, Anthony Feeney found Conor Kelly who went on the rampage, cut in across the goal before walloping to the net for a tonic goal to put Pearses firmly in the driving seat against the wind, putting significant early daylight between the sides 1-7 to 1-3 in charge. Harry Mitchell made a great save but in the resultant shemozzle, the ref called the play back for a free for Gort which Cian Naughton converted just before half time and so the sides separated at the break with Pearses 1-7 to 1-4 in command.

Straight from the 2nd half, Pearses, assisted by the strong breeze, sapped any momentum Gort may have had of a recovery. Paddy Kenny penalised a short Gort puck out with a good point from play. At this stage Orin Burke was in paradise, playing out of his skin. He went on a run down the stand side of the field, dummied 2 players before passing to Cilly Fahey who was deemed to be fouled. Orin delivered the free which the forwards failed to control and the ball went harmlessly wide. At this point Pearses backs Cormac Hillary, Jack Reilly and David Walsh had little or nothing to do. Another short puck out was capitalised on by Pearses as the ball broke in the ruck to Ronnie Hynes who tapped over his 2nd of the day. Orin Burke then ran almost the entire length of the field but as he hit off the hurl, his effort was blocked down but after re-picking and shooting his attempt sailed wide; it would have been the point of the day, had it found the target. 8mins into the 2nd half, Cilly Fahey sprayed the ball into the danger area, was added to by Diarmuid Ryan and Dara Scarry finished to the net but the ref blew for a square ball. Orin tapped over a brace of quick frees to stretch the margin to 7points. Then Conor Kelly got on the end of a short puck out and split the posts.

Midway through the half, Orin Burke reeled over his 7th free which was brought into a more scoreable position for some Gort mouthing as Harry Mitchell was doing some practice of his own down the roadside goals as the free was being taken. It was an Orin day as he squeezed over his 2nd from play when he gathered a pass from Oliver Laheen and made light work of his effort with 4mins to go. A Gort free tailed wide with 2 mins to play and a Paddy Kenny effort from play also failed to find the target. Right on the stroke of full time Jack Reilly scored a superb effort after a probing run down the line, tapped over the heads of 2 opponents, Kevin Broderick style, worked himself into a scoreable position and scored a beauty from a good distance out – possibly the point of the day as Pearses finished very strong after falling 1-1 to 0-0 behind after 4mins. Final Score: Pearses 1-15; Gort 1-4. Although Pearses had a good spread of scorers on the day, the day finished well for Orin Burke who reeled in 0-9, 0-7 from placed balls and as the Carlsberg advert says: If Carlsberg could do midfielders, and centre backs and centre forwards.

The sun shone brightly after the game to finish out a glorious weekend of top flight hurling for this young Pearses team, and it proved the perfect backdrop for an extremely successful few days of hurling, particularly in our group. That’s what every young lad wants… to be playing at the top level. The players loved it, the mentors loved it, the parents loved it, in fact every single second of it was loved, even the lesson learned from the Clarinbridge demolition. So that’s Feile na nGael over for Pearses for another year as we wish Turloughmore who advanced from our group and beat Loughrea in the play off all the best in Kenny Park tomorrow. Thanks too, to Gort Hurling Club who put on a good spread for all the teams today. You can’t beat the bit of hospitality after a game.

Thanks also to U14 manager Eddie Mitchell and his assistants Sean O’Neill, Martin Scarry and Tony Walsh who never seem to leave the pitch. Finally, we wish Darragh Roche all the best in his ankle injury recovery for the 2nd time in the last few weeks.

Scorers: Orin Burke 0-9 (0-7F); Conor Kelly 1-1; Ronan Hynes 0-2; Dara Scarry 0-1; Cillian Fahey 0-1; Jack Reilly 0-1.

Panel: Harry Mitchell, Cormac Hillary, Jack Reilly, David Walsh, Jonah Donnellan, Paddy Kenny, Conor Hillary, Orin Burke, Anthony Feeney, Cillian Fahey, Conor Kelly, Ronan Hynes, Dara Scarry, Oliver Laheen, Diarmuid Ryan, Cian Burke, James Queeney, Padraig Kelly, Dillon Roche, Cathal Hynes, Conor Walsh, Patrick O’Neill, Darragh Roche (Injured)