Pearses U13 footballers were rank outsiders to beat Milltown on their home turf this evening. They were in fact a bit of a ‘David’ in the David vs Goliath traditional sense of the story, except they didn’t manage to topple the giant. Only for Milltown’s 1-2 in the last 3 minutes of the 6mins additional time played the score line would have been much more different. And then in another sense, it could have been a much different ending only for the superb performance of the towering Diarmuid Ryan in goals. Milltown had their eyes opened and certainly weren’t expecting the gallant performance put in by this all round exceptionally talented team, no matter what sporting code they play.
Ryan made two great saves within the first 2mins as Milltown went for the jugular straight from the off. Davy Walsh got Pearses off the mark first after a good passage of play from Harry Mitchell and Cilly Fahey. Milltown had the goal at their mercy moments later with just Diarmuid to beat but their forward drilled his effort well wide. Fionn Donohue finished a smashing Pearses move which originated from a quickly taken free from Jonah Donnellan to Harry, with Fahey and Davy Walsh also involved in the build-up. Walsh sent in a lovely ball into the square where young Fionn was lurking and he palmed to the net with lovely style on 9mins. Milltown replied with 3 points from play in as many minutes. Milltown were then awarded a dubious penalty when it looked like Diarmuid Ryan legitimately dispossessed the inrushing diminutive forward but the ref adjudged Diarmuid to have fouled and despite protestations from both camps that penalties are not permitted at this age group, all pleas fell on deaf ears and the penalty taker dispatched it into the far corner on 13mins.
The traditional football side added a free and then their No. 11 got ahead of Jonah Donnellan in a 50/50 ball and powered through on goal to fire home a bullet of an effort. Their No. 11 again burst through on goal but Diarmuid got his paw to it to deflect it over his crossbar. Just on the stroke of half time, Harry Mitchell and David Walsh linked up well as Anthony Feeney got on the end of the move, twisted and turned dazzling the Milltown defenders before powering an unstoppable effort to the net to put Pearses 4 points adrift at half time. Pearses 2-1; Milltown 2-5.
With the wind at their backs Pearses restarted strong. Cilly Fahey found Harry who tapped over from play. Milltown however responded in true fashion when their speedy forward stretched their lead with a goal which Diarmuid saved but the umpire was quick to raise his hand to signal that the ball had crossed the goal line. The Pearses boys upped their game again to bring it back to a 3 point ball game. Anthony Feeney dispossessed his man in the middle of the park, sent a lovely ball for Cilly Fahey to run on to and with Harry Mitchell’s kick-pass across the field to the far corner, David Walsh gathered well, rounded the keeper to tap into an empty net and give Pearses great hope in this feisty battle with 3mins gone in the 2nd half.
Milltown again responded with another goal in a feast of goals, exceptionally well taken leaving Diarmuid Ryan with little chance. James Queeney’s delivery was then fetched by the tormenting Cilly Fahey who pointed well from a good distance out. A lovely passage of play from Pearses involving Cilly Fahey, Kyle McDonagh andamp;amp; Conor Hillary saw Hillary draw a smashing one handed save by Milltown’s custodian to concede a 45; which was converted by Anthony Feeney to make it 4-5 to 3-4 – Pearses 4 points adrift. Harry Mitchell was then fouled, quickly took the free himself which he tried to squeeze into the top left corner but it went agonisingly wide. Another quickly taken close range Pearses free fell to Davy Walsh who rounded his opponent and his low hard effort was saved by the feet of the goalie. At this stage, one would have to admire the fight and battling qualities of the Pearses lads given the tired bodies from the Cúl camp all week.
An extremely high and dangerous tackle on Harry Mitchell saw his opponent receive a yellow card but Anthony put the resultant free wide. Fionn Donohue put the slenderest of margins between the sides with another tonic goal. Cilly Fahey set him up and his high lobbing ball dipped at the opportune time to find the top corner of the net to bring the scoreline: Pearses 4-4; Miltown 4-5 with 5mins to play.
Miltown were awarded a free which bounced over Diarmuid Ryan’s crossbar to stretch the lead again to 2 points. The traditional footballers rallied again and were awarded another free with 2mins left to play which they converted and followed up with another point from play to stretch the margin to 4 points. Another dangerous tackle this time on Anthony Feeney saw Feeney grounded for a while and the offender received his marching orders for a 2nd yellow. Diarmuid made another point blank save to give Pearses a bit of hope. In the last 3mins of the 6mins additional time played, Milltown added another 1-2 and at this stage were uncatchable.
Milltown were without doubt the better footballers but credit to John andamp;amp; Gareth Lally’s little black army who really put it up to them and only for the rub of the green it may have been a different story. At least they proved they are not the whipping boys of this U13 football championship as they can play the big ball as well as the small ball. In fairness, sport gives us such joy, particularly when you’re up against Goliaths you never really expect to beat. Final score: Pearses 4-4; Milltown 5-10 – a score which in fairness didn’t really reflect the closeness of the game. Well done lads, a fierce and feisty contest. A win against St Brendan’s in their final group game on Tuesday next will see them through to a Shield Final.
Scorers: Fionn Donohue 2-0; David Walsh 1-1; Anthony Feeney 1-1 (0-1 45’); Cillian Fahey 0-1; Harry Mitchell 0-1. Panel: Diarmuid Ryan, Cathal Hynes, Dara Scarry, Kyle McDonagh, Jonah Donnellan, Padraig Kelly, Cilly Fahey, Anthony Feeney, James Queeney, Harry Mitchell, Conor Hillary, Davy Walsh, Fionn Donohue, James Feeney, Ross Lally, Daniel Lydon.