U13s in Knockout Stages

Pearses 1-11 Athenry 2-2: Pearses U13’s bounced back from their set back earlier in the week and set their stamp on their last group game against Athenry from the word go while there was no disputing who was the more superior team last Saturday morning in Athenry. Fielding a reshuffled team due to illness and holidays Conor Kelly with his new white helmet and non-strapped knee started in his new role of wing-back while his mother Rose was like a chick home to roost for a while in her native Carnaun/Castlelambert area.
Young Conor Hillary started in goal, David Egan at corner back with Cormac Hillary in the opposite corner while Eanna Cunniffe had a rare start at wing-forward from his usual corner back position. It took Pearses barely 30 seconds to open their account through Darragh Roche as Paddy Kenny andamp;amp; Jonah Donnellan tacked on points from play in quick succession for Pearses to take charge. Full back Oisin Donoghue then was called into action with a great block when a goal looked at his mercy for Athenry while soon afterwards Conor Hillary made a top class save to keep Athenry at bay.
Anthony Feeney originated the move on 2 occasions in which Paddy Kenny registered his 2nd andamp;amp; 3rd point of the morning to give Pearses a 5point cushion. Athenry were trying desperately to get back into the game but it was Pearses who were rewarded further when a 65’ from Conor Moran found the net and Pearses were firmly in the driving seat midway through the 1st half. Athenry responded with a free and a point from play and 3 mins before the break they clawed their way back into the game with a whopper of a goal as their striker ran through the heart of Pearses defence before unleashing an unstoppable shot.
However, this ignited the Pearses youngsters who scored two more points before the break courtesy of a Moran free when Dara Scarry andamp;amp; Eanna Cunniffe did the hard work and Jonah Donnellan again from play after Conor Moran fed him a stick pass into space to maintain the 5 point advantage at half time. Half time score: Pearses 1-07; Athenry 1-02.
It took 8mins after the restart for Pearses to register their first score of the 2nd half; a beauty from Conor Moran as he ran down the far side of the field. Oisin Donoghue made another vital interception when a goal looked ominous as the resultant play was cleared thanks to the combined efforts of David Egan, Conor Kelly, Cormac Hillary andamp;amp; Conal Flynn. Then the hosts were right back in the game as they scored another whopper of a goal leaving even the best U13 goalkeeper in the County with absolutely no chance.
Suddenly there was only a goal between the sides and Pearses had to show real character and they duly responded with Conor Moran to the fore as he hit 3 unanswered points; his first from a free after Peter O’Neill was fouled. Moran again caught the resultant puck out to put it straight over the crossbar from a good distance out and scored Pearses last point from out near the dugouts as he spilt the posts for a personal return of 1-05.
There looked to be no way back for Athenry as the clock ticked down. However, Conor Hillary showed great alertness as the Athenry striker found himself one-on-one with only the goalie to beat late in the game but Hillary was quick to advance off his line and save well. Athenry drove forward in search of goals but Mark Donnellan necessitated a vital block down andamp;amp; then they had one last chance to find the net with a close-in free which ricocheted off the crossbar and up into the air but Moran was on hand to clear the ball from danger.
It was a good game and certainly not completely one-way traffic and more importantly these lads are back on winning ways with an U13 quarter final looming. At least we hope by now Martin Scarry had a good days sleep as we all bid him ‘good night’ at 12.30pm on Saturday!
Scorers: Conor Moran 1-5; Paddy Kenny 0-3; Jonah Donnellan 0-2; Darragh Roche 0-1.Panel: Conor Hillary, David Egan, Oisin Donoghue, Cormac Hillary, Conor Kelly, Mark Donnellan, Conal Flynn, Anthony Feeney, Conor Moran, Darragh Roche, Peter O’Neill, Eanna Cunniffe, Dara Scarry, Paddy Kenny, Jonah Donnellan, Dylan Roche, Patrick O’Neill.

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