Report by Martina Donnellan. Ballygar proved too strong for Pearses in Saturday morning’s U12 hurling final played in Mountbellew. Ballygar seemed physically dominant over Pearses and opened strongly registering two goals in the first 10 minutes from which Pearses never bounced back. In truth, Pearses never really got going. It was probably one of their most lethargic performances all year but that said, they were closed down very quickly by a rampant Ballygar side.
Ballygar goaled straight from the throw-in and although Darren Moran made a good double save in goals, somehow Ballygar poked the ball over the line. David Walsh was wide from play but converted when asked moments later. James Queeney had a good run down the sideline but as he cut in across the end-line, his effort hit the side net. It was tit for tat for a short while until Ballygar completely took over. Their second goal arrived on 10minutes following a sideline cut and although the first attempt from Dan Kelly was blocked by Darren Moran, Eoin Naughton goaled the rebound. A long free from the back from Padraic Kelly into the square, was whipped on by Ross Lally but his effort went across the face of goal.
Eoin Naughton converted a free for Ballygar while David Walsh pointed after he ran on to a Cian Burke free from defence. With 15mins gone the smallest man on the field Joe Mullin for Ballygar passed to Luke Lohan who hammered home his 2nd goal and Ballygar’s 3rd to make it 3-1 to 0-2. Diarmuid Ryan was wide from play while Jonah Donnellan converted a free after Ballygar over-carried. Harry Holmes tapped over a point from play to extend Ballygar’s advantage. As the teams broke for half time Ballygar enjoyed a comfortable lead on a score line of 3-2 to 0-3.
On the resumption of play you could sense that Pearses knew that it was now or never for them as they threw everything into hauling back the lead, but Ballygar boxed clever. Pearses had a few goalmouth shemozzles but nothing prevailed while up the other end, Eoin Naughton pointed from play. Patrick O’Neill was fouled and his free was mis-hit and fell to Jonah Donnellan who was also fouled in the process while his effort was converted to make it 3-3 to 0-4. Joe Mullin, the smallest lad on the field andamp;amp; Coltan Rabbitte converted a free apiece to extend Ballygar’s advantage to 3-5 to 0-4. Darren Moran’s clearance from the goal line then appeared to be controlled nicely by Jonah Donnellan, only for his man to rob the ball and hit it straight over as Ballygar were certainly enjoying the last quarter while Pearses were struggling to make an impression with the game running wildly away from them.
Ballygar’s dominance prompted further pressure which manifested itself in two successive points from their star player No. 9 Eoin Naughton, one from play andamp;amp; a 65’ which he converted after James Queeney had no choice but to concede the 65’. Padraic Kelly picked up a loose ball and fired over from a good distance out but it was immaterial at this stage. Ballygar converted a 65’ in the last puck of the game as Pearses could get no closer. In the end the whistle was sweet music to both sides as it stopped the rot for the Pearses lads as the Ballygar lads deservedly celebrated their County Final success. Final score: Pearses 0-5; Ballygar 3-9.
Panel: Darren Moran, Conor Hillary, Dillon Roche, Kyle McDonagh, Padraic Kelly, Cian Burke, Jonah Donnellan, James Queeney, Conor Walsh, David Walsh, Ross Lally, Diarmuid Ryan, Cathal Hynes, Patrick O’Neill, Jamie Nutley, Brián Thompson, Ciarán Hogan, Fionn Donohue, Daniel Lydon, Niall Grady, Ross Laheen, Tommy Nutley, Sean Kelly, Eoghan Ryan, Alan Burke, James Feeney, Dylan King.
Thanks to this group of lads for their efforts all year and their mentors: Michael Kelly, Adrian Queeney, Paul Hogan, Larry Hillary and Kevin Ryan for the hours of hurling undertaken. It might not have ended as one would have liked, but there’s much more learning in losing than winning and there’s always next year.