Loughrea 2-11 Pearses 1-9. Report by Martina Donnellan. Loughrea proved a bit too strong for Pearses in yesterday’s opening U14A1 championship game played in Loughrea yesterday evening. Loughrea seemed more physically dominant over Pearses although both sides hit the ground running with 0-6 (0-3 apiece) on the scoreboard within 6mins. Loughrea opened strongly registering two points from play in the first 2 minutes from their towering centre forward. Pearses responded well though to go a point ahead with 3 points from play through Conor Kelly, Ollie Laheen andamp;amp; Cilly Fahey. Loughrea converted a free to level matters by the 6th minute. Orin Burke was wide with a 65 after Cilly Fahey drew a great save from the Loughrea goalie following a probing run at the goal. Loughrea went 2points clear through a free and Vince Morgan scored his 3rd point from play. Cilly Fahey showed why we all just simply love this guy as it took three to drag him down to win a free after Darragh Roche sent in a lovely delivery. Paddy Kenny made light work of the resultant free with a simple tap over to put the minimum between the sides on 14mins 0-5 to 0-4.
Loughrea added another from play after a poor defensive clearance was punished. David Walsh won a 65 which Pearses failed to convert but then Cilly Fahey scored his 2nd from play after a lovely flick pass from Paddy Kenny. With 2 mins to the interval the old empire dealt Pearses a hefty blow with 2 goals in quick succession and one felt the game was finished as a contest as Pearses were on the back foot. Loughrea added another point on the stroke of half time as a line ball was whipped straight into the hand of the forward who struck a sweet strike over the bar to leave Pearses trailing 2-7 to 0-5 at half time.
Straight from the off in the 2nd half, Paddy Kenny converted a long range free which just had the legs to carry over. Then Pearses showed great hunger in their mini resurrection attempt. Conor Kelly and Darragh Roche ensured the goalie was kept warm as he showed great reflexes to make two good stops. Darragh put another effort wide after a sweet jab pick up. Then Conor Kelly whipped on the ball, John Fenton like, from midfield but the fast pace of it carried it harmlessly over the line as Dara Scarry did his utmost to get on the end of it. Paddy Kenny converted a free from out near the dugouts after a chop down on the hard-working Anthony Feeney to leave the score 2-7 to 0-7. Both sides exchanged the next 2 scores, Loughrea from play after some good movement and Cillian Fahey a great individual effort from out near the sideline midway through the 2nd half. Loughrea struck again as their forward saw an opening, cut through the gap and tapped over from close range. Paddy Kenny converted another free when the dominant Darragh Roche was taken down to put 2 goals between the sides. Loughrea responded with a great point after a threatening run which could easily have dipped to the net. Pearses worked hard to claw back the lead and were rewarded when Conor Kelly struck a belter of a goal to bring Pearses right back into it, as he cut the gap to 4 points 2-10 to 1-9 12mins into the half. The next 6mins saw a barren spell as both sides were kept scoreless with Pearses backs doing well led at the back by full back Jack Reilly and centre back Orin Burke who kept their scoring mojo Vince Morgan scoreless in the 2nd half. With 2mins left, Loughrea continued to retain their 5 point advantage as they lifted the siege with another from play to see Loughrea out as winners on a scoreline of 2-11 to 1-9.
It was a good baptism for this young U14 team who weren’t too far off the mark but the going is certainly that bit tougher in the fast lane.
Scorers: Conor Kelly 1-1; Paddy Kenny 0-4 (0-4F); Cillian Fahey 0-3; Ollie Laheen 0-1.
Panel: Harry Mitchell, Conor Hillary, Jack Reilly, Ronan Hynes, Cormac Hillary, Paddy Kenny, Jonah Donnellan, Orin Burke, Anthony Feeney, Cillian Fahey, Conor Kelly, Darragh Roche, David Walsh, Oliver Laheen, Dara Scarry, Padraig Kelly, Dillon Roche, Diarmuid Ryan, Cathal Hynes, James Queeney, Conor Walsh, Patrick O’Neill.