Pearses 2-8; Ahascragh-Fohenagh 4-7. Report by Martina Donnellan. A championship win for Pearses U14’s was left in ruins after neighbours Ahascragh-Fohenagh mounted a sensational comeback from 0-2 down midway through the 2nd half to win by 5points in Ballymac yesterday evening.
For almost the entire 1st half, the game was catch up; Ahascragh scored, then Pearses scored twice; Ahascragh scored, then Pearses scored; Ahascragh scored twice, then Pearses scored twice; Ahascragh scored twice, then Pearses scored to ensure the game was a ding dong game of tit for tat hurling in the first half which saw Pearses break at half time 2 points down. Pearses: 2-4; Ahascragh-Fohenagh: 3-3.
The neighbours were first to score after their towering centre forward Cailum Finnerty cut through Pearses defence, only to be upended by Jack Reilly and their free taker converted. Conor Kelly was wide from play after he latched on to a free from Orin Burke from a good distance out and drew another blank after the ball deflected off the post. Pearses responded through Cilly Fahey who scored a great goal when he cut inside the full back line after some initial tormenting and hammered home the opening goal. Immediately, Cailum Finnerty had a good goal chance when he whipped first time on the ball after losing it initially, but Harry Mitchell spread himself well and was fouled in the process for a free out. On 6mins, Orin Burke tapped over his first free and then Ahascragh’s goalie had to be alert to stop Fahey’s goalbound effort from finding the net. Ahascragh added to their tally from play but Orin Burke restored the goal advantage when he went on a great run, passed to Conor Kelly who had the ball nicked away from him but Orin was on hand to clutch the clearance and tap it straight over on 12mins.
Then Cailun Finnerty’s influence emerged as he went on the rampage through the middle skipping by 4 backs, fired the ball over the head of one of Pearses backs and whipped on the bouncing ball to fire to the net to level the game 1-2 apiece. No. 9 scored direct from a free from the middle of Pairc na Gael which found its way to the net with the assistance of the stiff breeze. Conor Kelly originated the move with a great solo run down the sideline which led to Fahey’s 2nd goal; passed to Dara Scarry who flicked back to Fahey; he showed some lovely side steps before his rasper found the net. A minute later Dara Scarry passed into space for Cilly to run on to and his swift strike over his right shoulder in limited space sailed over. Minutes later, Pearses were nailed again when the ball fumbled around in the large parallelogram, was flicked on overhead, rebounded off the upright and the bouncing ball was whipped to the net to put Ahascragh- Fohenagh back in the driving seat. They followed up with a point from play from No. 8. Orin Burke pointed a placed ball just before the break after Cilly Fahey was floored flat on the ground. Half time: Pearses 2-4; Ahascragh-Fohenagh 3-3.
Orin Burke restored the deficit with a free after he was fouled himself and then uncharacteristically missed a free after a chop down on the industrious Cilly Fahey. Cilly Fahey pointed to draw the game 5 mins after the restart after Conor Hillary flicked the ball up nicely for Orin whose long delivery found Fahey in space. 2-6 to 3-3. Orin missed another free but Conor Kelly put Pearses back in front after good work from Anthony Feeney and Cillian Fahey. Kelly quickly added his 2nd from play after he capitalised on a poor defensive clearance. That was to be the last Pearses score as our neighbours added another 1-4 without reply. No. 10 tapped over 3 frees in a row while Ronan Hynes had a good chance of a goal but his ground pull went across the face of the goal. No. 10 pointed on the run to make it 2-8 to 3-7, a 2 point ball game. Paddy Kenny missed a free and in the dying seconds Cailum Finnerty was unstoppable as he burst through the heart of Pearses and scored a tonic goal for them to ensure no miracle comeback at that stage and rip the heart out of Pearses challenge.
Pearses had the lead at the three quarters stage and the smell of victory was there. The match was theirs and then it wasn’t. It took an almost absurd finish to snatch the win as Ahascragh came strong when it mattered most. Pearses will rue the number of wides both from play and placed balls and the frees conceded late in the game. They now effectively need to win their remaining games to be in with any chance of a playoff.
Scorers: Cilly Fahey 2-2; Orin Burke 0-4 (0-3F); Conor Kelly 0-2.
Panel: Harry Mitchell, Cormac Hillary, Jack Reilly, David Walsh, Jonah Donnellan, Paddy Kenny, Conor Hillary, Orin Burke, Anthony Feeney, Ronan Hynes, Conor Kelly, Oliver Laheen, Diarmuid Ryan, Cillian Fahey, Dara Scarry, Padraig Kelly, Conor Walsh, James Queeney, Patrick O’Neill, Cian Burke, Cathal Hynes, Dillon Roche.