U16 Hurlers Return to Action

Kilconieron 2-14 Pearses 0-15: Report by Martina Donnellan. After a couple of training sessions in late February / early March all GAA players have spent the last few months in the wilderness as the country showed unreal solidarity whilst in lockdown as everyone played their part in battling Covid-19 which is still taking a grip across the globe. The prospect of cancelling the 2020 season looked like a reality on a few occasions until a green light paved the way for the resumption of almost all sports. 

Yesterday evening saw the first run out of the U16’s since the curtain came down in March and indeed it helped to blow off the cobwebs. Two sides who know each other pretty well since U13/14 level arrived togged and ready to renew their rivalry in Ballymacward. Kilconieron and Pearses battled it out in Round 1 of the U16B1 County Championships. Darragh Roche was credited with the 1st Covid point as he scored straight from the throw in after receiving a hand pass from Conor Kelly. Kilconieron were wide with 2 frees within the next 3mins as Pearses got going with the next 2 points in quick succession from Conor Kelly and Orin Burke. On 6mins, Orin Burke gathered a ball down the line, weaved through a number of players before he released to Conor Kelly who threw over to make it 0-4 to 0-0. Kilconieron got off the mark on 8mins through a free followed by 2 from play within as many minutes. Orin Burke extended the lead to 2 points again on 11mins with a well worked effort from play. Paddy Kenny originated the move as he won the ball in midfield, found Orin Burke who was crowded out but managed to pop the pass to Jack Reilly who popped back to Orin who had freed himself at this stage and he struck over a classy point. Kilconieron landed two more from play, before the customary 1st half water break which is part of the Return to Play Protocol, to tie the game 0-5 apiece. 

Kilconieron pressed ahead for the first time on 17mins with a well taken point which incorporated a number of hand passes. Orin Burke restored parity again through a free after Darragh Roche was fouled. Kilconieron’s No. 13 inched the visitors ahead again as he nipped in ahead of his marker and fired over a quick fire brace of points. Cilly Fahey reduced the deficit to the narrowest of margins in a nice move originated by Conor Kelly with Eanna Cunniffe also involved. Kilconieron landed another long range free which just had the legs to creep over. The resultant puck out fell to Cilly Fahey who released Conor Kelly but his low hard effort was saved by the goalie. Orin Burke landed another beauty, his 3rd from play, as he took a few slaps on route while centre back Oisin Donohue found young Cilly Fahey who drew the game 0-9 apiece. Kilconieron edged ahead just before the break when they landed a whopper from play from almost under the stand. Half Time: Pearses 0-9; Kilconieron 0-10. 

Kilconieron moved two points clear on the resumption with another effort from play. As they gathered the resultant puck out, they had half a goal chance which deflected off the body of Oliver Laheen. Conor Kelly responded with another from play after Darragh Roche, Ronan Hynes & Cilly Fahey were involved in the build-up. Then Kilconieron really took the initiative as they landed the heaviest blow of the game with 2 goals within 90 seconds. The first saw stand-in keeper Conor Moran advance off his line while the forward tapped into an empty net and the second arrived from a high lobbing ball. They landed another from play and a free to push Kilconieron 2-13 to 0-9 ahead. Suddenly Kilconieron had a platform to build on and Pearses were up against it. With a 10 point deficit to account for 9mins into the 2nd half, Paddy Kenny was moved to full forward and Cillian Fahey to wing back. Immediately Paddy had a pop at goal but his effort was well saved by the diminutive goalie and Eanna Cunniffe wasn’t too far away from meeting the rebound.

Both teams traded points: Orin Burke from a free and Kilconieron a good effort from play from an acute angle. Pearses outscored their opponents in the last quarter as Ollie Laheen fired over when Dara Scarry scooped the ball up nicely for him. The lively Orin added two more from play to inspire a mini revival which got a bit derailed after Paddy Kenny was side-lined due to cramp. Orin added another from play to claw back the lead to 2-0 as Darragh Roche & Ronan Hynes capitalised on a mishit sideline and Kilconieron’s half clearance fell to Orin who displayed his trademark side steps as he weaved through the defence and made the game look simple with an easy tap over to score his 6th from play. Orin Burke closed out the game with 2mins remaining with another free after good work from Darragh Roche. Final score: Pearses 0-15; Kilconieron 2-14. 

Normally, games are played this time of year without much a-do but we’re in changed times now, thanks to Covid! Wishing Harry Mitchell a speedy recovery from an injury picked up last week.

Panel: Conor Moran, Cormac Hillary, Mark Donnellan, Oliver Laheen, Anthony Feeney, Oisin Donohue, Niall McDonagh, Orin Burke, Paddy Kenny, Cillian Fahey, Conor Kelly, Jack Reilly, Ronan Hynes, Darragh Roche, Eanna Cunniffe, Dara Scarry.