There is & always will be great rivalry when you play your neighbours and Monday evenings Round 1 clash with Skehana/Mountbellew/ Moylough in the U16 A1 championship was no different. It dripped with intrigue too which added an extra edge to the rivalry plus the fact that most of these lads play soccer together or are school mates or cousins!.
The hosts Skehana/Mountbellew/ Moylough were first to register a score through a free but Paddy Kenny responded through a placed ball on 6mins. Orin Burke tapped over another free after Cilly Fahey was fouled & Fahey himself registered the first point from play on 9mins with a sweet strike. Conor Laffey pointed from play down the other end when Jack Jordan spotted him unmarked in a scoreable position. Orin Burke added another free after he was fouled himself and then Dean Cunningham received a yellow card for a crack across Conor Kelly’s helmet just when there was some jittery play in Pearses defence but Ollie Laheen was on hand to eventually clear the danger. Orin Burke fired over his left shoulder just on the stroke of the water break after good work from Ronan Hynes, Darragh Roche & Cillian Fahey. Pearses 0-5; S/M/M 0-2 after Q1.
There was equal exchanges in Q2 with both sides scoring 0-3 apiece. Conor Laffey pointed from play after a good passage of play from S/M/M while Laffey went on a surging run but blasted wide as the hosts mounted a good few wides. Orin edged Pearses ahead again with another from play after Anthony Feeney did much of the donkey work. S/M/M scored 2 quick fire points from Michael Burke (play) & a 65’. Pearses got the last 2 scores before half time through Orin Burke (Free) & Cillian Fahey from play after good work in the midfield area from Darragh Roche & Diarmuid Ryan. Orin Burke showed some lovely fancy footwork near the end line assisted by Feeney who was deemed to have stepped out over the end line just before half time. Pearses 0-8; S/M/M 0-5.
The sides traded early frees on the restart. Michael Burke for S/M/M & Orin Burke for Pearses. Jack Reilly awoke the Pearses spectators with a beauty from play as Pearses hit a purple patch. Orin added another from play after he was first to a quickly taken free from Paddy Kenny at the back but the ref had to consult his new umpire before signalling the score. Burke fired over 2 more frees after he was fouled himself to put Pearses 7points ahead. The hosts hit back with one from play & a free before the 2nd half water break. Pearses 0-13; S/M/M 0-8 after Q3.
Heading into the final quarter, Pearses looked to be in control with a 5 point advantage. The hosts however wrestled back the momentum to set up a nervy final quarter. S/M/M clawed a point back from out near the sideline while Orin fired over a free won by Cilly Fahey. Jack Jordan fired home a goal midway through the final quarter as Pearses tried to steady the ship. The score of the day came from the stick of Jack Reilly as he ran through the middle of the park and fired over a super effort. The hosts mounted another challenge and found another goal through Michael Burke to level matters 2-9 to 0-15. However, Pearses finished on a high as Orin Burke supplied 2 vital points; his first a free after Fahey was fouled and the insurance score from play before Darragh Roche saw his goal bound effort saved on the line. Pearses survived the late onslaught to withstand the late SkeBellew comeback. Final score: Pearses 0-17; S/M/M 2-9.
Scorers: Orin Burke 0-12 (0-8F); Jack Reilly 0-2; Cillian Fahey 0-2; Paddy Kenny 0-1 (F)
Panel: Harry Mitchell, Oliver Laheen, Conor Kelly, Jack Reilly, Cormac Hillary, Paddy Kenny, Dylan Roche, Jonah Donnellan, Anthony Feeney, Diarmuid Ryan, Darragh Roche, Ronan Hynes, Orin Burke, Cillian Fahey, Dara Scarry, James Queeney, Conor Hillary.