Portumna 3-11 Pearses 2-8: Report by Martina Donnellan. A big physical Portumna side proved far too strong for a young Pearses side in Duggan Park this evening in the U16 B1 Hurling Shield Final. The hard ground made for some tough conditions as the bounce of the ball was difficult to gauge with many efforts sent into the danger area bouncing out of play. Portumna were first off the mark through Adam Fogarty with a point from play within 1½ mins. Immediately from the puck out, Cian Murphy was denied by the goalie who deflected the ball out for a 65’ which was duly converted by Mark Hennelly.
Both sides proved wasteful in the first few minutes: Diarmuid Fahy was wide from play after a good build up involving Hennelly andamp;amp; Darragh McCabe; Hennelly was wide with a 65’ andamp;amp; David Hillary was off target after Hennelly’s cross found him in space. Niall Moran then grounded John Claffey while Declan McLaughlin converted the free for Portumna. John Claffey scored a bullet of a goal as the ball was fed into him on the edge of the square leaving Conor Moran with little chance in goal after a defensive slip up from Pearses.
Adam Fogarty tapped over from play to put Portumna firmly in the driving seat 1-3 to 0-1. Cian Murphy pointed a whopper from a long distance out to help revitalise Pearses. Young Orin Burke fed Pearses the tonic required as he batted a Darragh McCabe cross to the net to bring Pearses right back into it mid-way through the first half. Ciano Murphy was dragged down rugby style and up stepped Darragh McCabe to convert the placed ball to tie up the game 1-3 apiece.
Pearses suffered another sucker blow as a high lobbing ball was caught by Conor Moran who was half blinded by the strong sun and as he dropped the ball the lurking forward snuck in to poach a goal. Murphy and young Burke combined well for Orin to tap over to reduce the deficit to 2points. Declan McLaughlin eked out another Portumna goal following a breakaway move which left Conor Moran with no chance while in the subsequent play a driving effort from the full forward deflected off the crossbar to give Pearses a lifeline.
Straight from the resultant puck out the ball was worked up the field, originated by a combination of centre back Brian Kelly andamp;amp; Ethan Lally and delivered by Hennelly to Cian Murphy who swept in across the goal to finish inside the right post and raise a green flag. Adam Fogarty kept Portumna’s momentum alive with a brace of points from play while Declan McLaughlin added another from play. Just before half time, Orin Burke won a free taken by Cian Murphy who went to claw back the deficit with goal on his mind, but the 5 men on the goal-line did their job well. Half time score: Pearses 2-4; Portumna 3-6.
Immediately after the resumption Mark Hennelly was wide with a free while David Hillary also failed to find the target. Orin Burke played Cian Murphy but as he ran in on goal he was swung round full circle and the resultant free was taken by Mark Hennelly who went for the jugular but again was saved by a combined defensive effort. Straight up the other end Conor Moran made a point blank save and in the ensuing play Jamie Hogan saw red for a wild off-the-ball pull on Darragh McCabe who suffered a nasty ankle injury which ruled him out of action for a large part of the 2nd half while young Conor Kelly was blooded in.
Both teams exchanged scores: Adam Fogarty with a free for Portumna and Mark Hennelly from play from the embankment side of Duggan Park. Sandwiched between both scores saw Conor Moran make a good double save. Fogarty converted a 65’ followed by a free from a difficult angle to put Portumna in cruise control. Hennelly hit the side net as he latched on to a line ball from Murphy. Fogarty tapped over a 21’ free to extend Portumna’s lead while Robert Hynes’ great block down (not his first of the evening) eventually ended with a Hennelly wide. Orin Burke’s goal effort was also blocked down but the ball fell to Luke Mitchell who fed Cian Murphy and Murf took his point well as the clock was ticking down.
Murphy scored another from play from midfield as Robert Hynes and Diarmuid Fahy were involved in the move. A quickly taken line ball from Portumna to their unmarked full back who had roamed up the field and he slotted over to ensure no way back for the Pearses lads as Portumna were in full command. Deep into injury time, Mark Hennelly was fouled; Cian Murphy stepped over the free, went for goal but was deflected out for a 65’. Diarmuid Fahy sent the 65’ into the danger area which was defended well but fell to wing back Robert Hynes who doesn’t pop up in the point scorers section too often but took his effort well to finish Pearses scoring account for the day. Full time: Pearses 2-8; Portumna 3-11.
With a big height advantage, Portumna dominated large patches of the game and as time ticked out they got the scores that brought them this victory by 6 points but that said Pearses rallied until the end. However, it was not to be for Tony Walsh’s charges as it was a step too far against a more physical outfit. But credit to the manager and mentors as they could barely field a team at the outset of the u16 championship and yet end up losing an U16 B1 shield final. Not bad considering the circumstances. Also the squad, mentors and club sympathise with Orin Burke and his family on the recent death of his grandmother.
Scorers: Cian Murphy 1-3; Orin Burke 1-1; Mark Hennelly 0-2 (1 65’); Robert Hynes 0-1’ Darragh McCabe 0-1 (F).
Panel: Conor Moran, Oisin Donoghue, Niall Moran, Niall McDonagh, Robert Hynes, Brian Kelly, Luke Mitchell, Mark Hennelly, David Hillary, Ethan Lally, Diarmuid Fahy, Darragh McCabe, Eoin Lally, Cian Murphy, Orin Burke, Robert Fahy, Darragh Roche, Conor Kelly.
Report by Martina Donnellan.