Ardrahan fresh from their All Ireland Féile title took on Pearses in the U15B Cup semi final in Ardrahan last Friday evening. This was always going to be a mammoth task and that it proved. 4 first half goals set Ardrahan on their way to a dominant triumph. In fairness the young Pearses lads put up a good first half showing with the backing of the breeze but that waned a bit in the 2nd half as Ardrahan took full control.
Pearses opened the scoring through a lovely Darren Moran point after a Cathal Hynes clearance at the back, added to by Conor Hillary and Conor Walsh. But quickly Ardrahan responded with 2 quick fire goals when No.10 batted to the net & a second in the next passage of play despite the best efforts of Dillon Roche & Diarmuid Ryan. Pearses replied with 2 points – a long delivery was broken down by Conor Walsh into the path of Jonah Donnellan who fired over & Donnellan converted a placed ball after Conor Walsh was fouled. The hosts added a free but young Sean Kelly responded in true style when a Donnellan delivery was batted down by Eoghan Ryan for Kelly to latch on to and his point was deflected over by the goalie while David Walsh fired over from way out the field. Down the other end Tommy Nutley made a point blank save – the first of many. Both sides traded scores twice : Donnellan the provider of Pearses two.
Then great link up play on the double involving David Walsh & Darren Moran resulted in Moran being fouled & Donnellan tapped over the free while small Sean added another from play. The turning point in the first half arrived on 24mins when David Walsh’s line ball found Diarmuid Ryan and his delivery was sent in behind Conor Walsh but Eoghan Ryan stole in to whip on the ground but his goal bound effort took a deflection which the umpire failed to see. Immediately Ardrahan turned the screw when they raised yet another green flag. Jonah Donnellan tacked on 2 frees which Sean Kelly earned ensuring to keep a low trajectory to avoid the breeze from doing any wayward damage. Ardrahan finished out the half strongly with another 1-2 to put them 4-6 to 0-10 and well in the driving seat as Pearses lacked a goal threat relative to their opponents.
Right from the off in the second half Ardrahan made the move as things began to unravel for Pearses. By midway through the half, Ardrahan had tacked on 1-9 to Pearses solitary Darren Moran point which saw Diarmuid Ryan involved in the build-up. Then Pearses found a goal as Fionn Donohue was fouled; Jonah Donnellan sent in the free which went all the way to the net. They had a chance to score another goal after Conor Hillary won the free which was delivered into the square by Donnellan and Sean Kelly who got on the end of alot of ball all day, got upended & immediately the ref awarded a penalty. Up stepped Donnellan to fire low and well wide. Pearses badly needed a response but it was the hosts who kicked on as a blue wave kept coming. Ardrahan finished with another 1-2 to close the curtain on Pearses U15 challenge for this year. Thanks to mentors Larry Hillary, Tony Walsh, Kevin Ryan, Michael Kelly for their work all year & to Colm Raftery who also gave the lads quality training sessions coming up to the latter stages of the competition.
Scorers: Jonah Donnellan 1-7 ( 0-4F); Darren Moran 0-2; Sean Kelly 0-2; David Walsh 0-1.
Panel: Tommy Nutley, Cathal Hynes, Dillon Roche, Daniel Lydon, Kyle McDonagh, Diarmuid Ryan, Jack Kemny, Jonah Donnellan, Fionn Donohue, Daren Moran, Conor Hillary, Sean Kelly, David Walsh, Conor Walsh, Eoghan Ryan, Jamie Nutley, Luke Mitchell, Stephen Murphy.