Pearses 3-9 Portumna 4-9. Report by Martina Donnellan. For the modest crowd that showed up in Ballymac last night to see Pearses U14s play Portumna in Round 1 of the U14 hurling championship, they received something like a meagre hurling blessing. Pearses played at half a gallop in the 2nd half and like the U16 game three days beforehand, the concession of a number of goals midway through the 2nd half, paid dividends for a Portumna side with plenty of big names on the ref’s card.
It was tit for tat in the first half with Cilly Fahey on fire with a number of sublime scores. Although Portumna scored straight from the throw in, Fahey was first to open Pearses account from play after Anthony Feeney & Conor Walsh were involved in the build-up. Fahey pointed from play moments later after a trademark run down the line before hitting straight over the black spot. Portumna scored a brace through No. 8 as David Walsh wasn’t too far away from a Pearses score. The tenacious Kyle McDonagh got his name on the scoreboard with a good point to great applause when he picked up a loose ball after a Diarmuid Ryan & Cilly Fahey combo did the donkey work. 0-3 apiece on 8 mins. Portumna stole a march again with another point taken on the run with James Queeney close on the tail of Calum Kane. Pearses responded with the next 3 points from Cilly Fahey; his first a free after Diarmuid Ryan was fouled; a beauty from play after Anthony Feeney did well to spot him unmarked, followed by another free after Kyle Mac released big Diarmuid whose jersey was pulled in a bid to stop the towering giant and Fahey tapped over.
Portumna exerted more pressure resulting in a point from play before they struck the first of their 4 goal tally when Jody Canning’s long delivery fell nicely for Calum Keane and he left Darren Moran with no chance in the big goals. Fahey, who was on fire scored twice before the break as Jonah Donnellan’s free from the back saw Fahey running into space & he made light work in throwing over his effort. Moments later Cilly Fahey was at full strength as he latched on to a high lobbing ball broken down by Diarmuid Ryan & rattled the net. Portumna clawed a point back on the stroke of half time with a free to leave Pearses ahead by the narrowest of margins by the break. Pearses 1-7; Portumna 1-6.
Both teams traded scores from the restart. Portumna with a free & Fahey latched on to the end of a contentious line ball from Jonah Donnellan. Diarmuid Ryan eased a sense of relief in a close encounter when he kicked to the net to push Pearses 2-8 to 1-7 in front, again Kyle McDonagh pivotal in the move. Fahey claimed his 6th point from play in lovely link up play between Donnellan, Fahey, Conor Hillary & back to Fahey. For the final quarter, the game belonged to Portumna when Iarla Kelly smashed a close in free to the net as Cian Burke received a yellow card in the process. Calum Keane then easily rounded Jonah Donnellan to hit a rasper to the net and it looked like the Pearses lads were doing their best to round the corner which was instead turning into a large eternal circle. Straight from the puck out Portumna pointed again while Calum Keane turned Donnellan inside out to fire over from out near the stand and push Portumna 3 points ahead 3-9 to 2-9.
Then came another sucker blow as young Darren Moran made a great stop only for the diminutive full forward Calum Keane to tap the rebound to the net and close off their business in cold fashion for the Pearses lads. Right on the whistle Diarmuid Ryan picked up a loose ball, throttled forward and smashed to the net but at that stage, time was against the lads in black & white. All eyes were on the ref as he put the whistle to his mouth following the puck out as time ran out to snatch a further score or two.
The second half saw Cillian Fahey starved of possession as the Pearses lads clocked off for the last quarter while the injured Harry Mitchell proved a great loss. Final score: Pearses 3-9; Portumna 4-9.
Scorers: Cillian Fahey 1-8 (0-2f); Diarmuid Ryan 2-0; Kyle McDonagh 0-1.
Panel: Darren Moran, Cian Burke, Dillon Roche, James Queeney, Dara Scarry, Jonah Donnellan, Padraig Kelly, David Walsh, Anthony Feeney, Conor Hillary, Cillian Fahey, Cathal Hynes, Kyle McDonagh, Diarmuid Ryan, Conor Walsh, Keith Kitt, Jack Kenny, Sean Kelly, Tadhg Hart, Ciárán Hogan, Daniel Lydon, Tommy Nutley, Eoghan Ryan, Brían Thompson, James Feeney, Fionn Donohue.