U16B Hurling Championship Round 1 – Pearses 4-9 Gort 2-15

Pearses and Gort U16s got their 2022 seasons underway when they clashed in the first round of the B Championship in Gort on Sunday morning. The fiery encounter ended honours even after 60 minutes of pulsating action after Pearses relinquished a 10 point lead at the start of the 2nd half for a share of the spoils in the end.

Gort were first off the mark with two early points from play which were cancelled out by 2 Cillian Fahey frees. Fahey who gave an exhibition on the day scored two from play in quick succession from the embankment side of the pitch as Pearses hit a purple patch scoring 1-4 in quick succession. An early Dara Scarry goal also helped Pearses off to a bright start as Anthony Feeney won a free which was sent in by Fahey & Dara Scarry flicked the high lobbing ball to the net. The ref had to consult his umpires first and then awarded the goal. Pearses 1-4 Gort 0-2 on 14mins. Fahey added another free from midfield after further hard work by Feeney and showed great poise in converting a 65’ soon afterwards following good combined harrying by Dara Scarry & Kyle McDonagh to earn the 65’. Gort hit their 3rd point before Pearses 2nd goal arrived from a penalty as Conor Walsh whipped on the ground to the unmarked Cilly Fahey who seized the ball, throttled towards goal, drawing a foul but the ref hesitated momentarily before signalling a penalty. Fahey himself converted the resultant penalty to widen the gap to 9 points on 26mins. There was a long stoppage in play when the ref had to consult his umpires over a questionable Gort point down the other end but Micháel Donohue got the message across well to the ref who subsequently flagged a wide. Gort converted a free to claw the lead back a bit while Harry Mitchell received a yellow card for mouthing! Right on the stroke of half time Pearses assumed control again when Cilly Fahey brought his first half tally to 1-6 as the resultant puck out broke to him and shaking off the shackles of 3 lads on his tail; he worked his way into a more scoreable position & made light work of the tap over. Half Time. Pearses 2-7: Gort 0-4.

There was a lively start to the 2nd half as David Walsh fired over a spilled ball from play to put Pearses 10 points up. Immediately Gort responded as they worked the ball up the field and raised a green flag within 2 mins of the restart to peg back the lead. They added a free from well over half way out but Pearses seemed destined for victory when Anthony Feeney goaled after good work from Conor Walsh, Fionn Donohue, Dara Scarry & finished by Feeney to put Pearses 3-8 to 1-5 ahead. Gort converted 2 frees in quick succession and then came the turning point as Cillian Fahey was floored due to injury where he sustained a broken ankle and a long stoppage as a result. Much to his determination, he played on in the full forward position barely able to run & most likely inflicting more damage on the ankle in the meantime. With talisman Fahey out of the action, Gort took control scoring 1-5 in succession to nudge them 1 point up. Jonah Donnellan missed a chance to level it through a free & Fahey had to be called down to take the next Pearses free which he converted to level matters again.

The final 7 mins were nerve wracking as the pace and intensity of the battle never relented. A dangerous high lobbing ball sent in by Pearses was batted out by the goalie but Kyle McDonagh handed the Pearses lads a way back into the game when he whipped on the rebound to smash it to the net. Suddenly Pearses were a goal up 4-9 to 2-12. Gort stole a draw in the last few minutes of action with 3 points from play, their last 2 well into injury time. The loss of Cillian Fahey was the big turning point in this game as we wish him well in his recovery.

Final score: Pearses 4-9 – Gort 2-15.

Scorers: Cillian Fahey 1-8 (0-4F, Pen, 65’); Dara Scarry 1-0; Anthony Feeney 1-0; Kyle McDonagh 1-0; David Walsh 0-1.

Panel: Darren Moran, James Queeney, Jonah Donnellan, Cathal Hynes, Conor Hillary, Diarmuid Ryan, Dillon Roche, Anthony Feeney, Harry Mitchell, Conor Walsh, Cillian Fahey, David Walsh, Kyle McDonagh, Dara Scarry, Fionn Donohue, Jack Kenny.

Thanks to Martina Donnellan for the detailed match report.