Pearses 3-4 Ardrahan 1-4. Report by Martina Donnellan. Pearses produced a brilliant display to advance to the U13B Final with a hard fought win over Ardrahan yesterday morning and set up a Co Final showdown against Rahoon-Newcastle. This game had a bit of everything- some brilliant sideline cuts, spectacular saves from Darren Moran, some fantastic dual displays most notably Padraig Kelly and his opponent and the height of bravery from both teams.
Pearses gelled together to put in an inspiring and battling performance in a match where scores were at a premium as both sets of backs were on top. Credit must go to Pearses outstanding full back line: Daniel Lydon, Conor Hillary and Fionn Donohue who were exceptional throughout to deny supply to Ardrahan’s inside forward line. The half back line were inspiring, lorded by the versatile Padraig Kelly with the tenacious Kyle McDonagh and James Queeney in commanding form, doing everything right.
Pearses started well with a key opening goal from Conor Walsh but Ardrahan responded with a point from Brian Callanan as he made space and cut through the middle to fire over with ease. Pearses talisman Diarmuid Ryan added a point from play while the resultant puck out saw Sean Kelly’s goal bound effort deflected over the endline as Jonah Donnellan was wide with the 65’. A free from Ardrahan’s Brian Callanan was saved by Darren Moran while Fionn Donohue swept the spilled ball away from danger. Jonah Donnellan converted a placed ball just after the water break when Sean Kelly was fouled to put Pearses up 1-2 to 0-1. Diarmuid Ryan’s pointed effort tailed wide after David Walsh switched play from the left flank to Sean Kelly’s wing.
A good spell of pressure from Ardrahan saw a certain goal look ominous only for the combined bravery of Conor Hillary and James Queeney who tested the timber in their hurls with a great block down as No. 8 for Ardrahan received a yellow card for his efforts. Ardrahan pointed just before the break when Brian Callanan picked up a loose ball and fired over. Immediately down the other end, a good build up involving Cian Burke on the left wing whose stick pass found Diarmuid Ryan & as his goal effort was saved the ball fell to Conor Walsh whose effort curled wide. In a low scoring half Pearses led 1-2 to 0-2 at half time.
Ardranhan’s danger man Brian Callanan went on a good probing run which produced a spectacular diving save from Darren Moran but the ref called play back as it was deemed Callanan took a slap on the way and Ronan Barry converted the placed ball. With 2 points in it, Ardrahan began to exert some dominance but again Fionn Donohue kept his corner intact, winning a free out for his efforts to help relieve the pressure in this tit for tat game. Ardrahan converted another free after a chop from Padraig Kelly and suddenly the deficit was back to the minimum.
David Walsh ended Pearses scoring drought with a free after ‘big’ Diarmuid was fouled. The turning point arrived 2 mins before the water break when Davy Walsh found Cian Burke down the line; Burke’s cross was caught by the pare paw of Diarmuid Ryan and he turned to deftly finish low and hard under the goalies body. The resultant puck out was poor; snapped up by Jack Kenny and his shot looped under the crossbar to put Pearses well in charge with confidence soaring well in command 3-3 to 0-4 approaching the final quarter.
Diarmuid Ryan threw over a beauty from play from 45’ out on the resumption to increase the comfort margin between the sides. For the final 10mins Ardrahan threw everything at it for the final 10mins as the fought for their lives with most players camped in one half of the field and Pearses pushing back players to help out the defence. The pressure paid off even though it looked like Jonah Donnellan had prevented a 65’ but the ref awarded it. The 65’ was pumped in around the house and with little room to swing Ardrahan managed to pull to swipe the ball under Darren Moran’s diving body. With 2 goals in arrears Ardrahan pushed hard and Moran again made a great stop from close range. The game petered out with Pearses holding firm as their backs stood tall and did their job well.
It was a near vintage performance from Pearses in every area of the field. There was ample support from Dylan Roche & Jonah Donnellan in midfield when it was needed towards the end. The entire squad were shining lights as Cathal Hynes, Diarmuid Ryan & Sean Kelly played puck in the full forward line.
Scorers: Diarmuid Ryan 1-2; Conor Walsh 1-0; Jack Kenny 1-0; David Walsh 0-1(F); Jonah 0-1 (F).
Panel: Darren Moran, Conor Hillary, Daniel Lydon, Kyle McDonagh, Padraig Kelly, James Queeney, Jonah Donnellan, Dylan Roche, Conor Walsh, David Walsh, Cian Burke, Cathal Hynes, Diarmuid Ryan, Sean Kelly, Jack Kenny, Ross Lally, Tommy Nutley, Ciaran Hogan, Eoghan Ryan, Dylan King, James Feeney, Alan Burke, Luke Mitchell, Tadhg Hart.