U16s Qualify for Final

Pearses 1-14 Annaghdown 1-7: Report by Martina Donnellan. Pearses U16’s were on a high after beating Annaghdown in the U16 B1 semi-final in Ballinasloe under lights yesterday evening in a tough, physical battle and now turn their attentions on the winners of Mullagh/ Kiltomer vs Sylane which is to be played next week. This game had a bit of everything: red cards, yellow cards, some woeful shoulders, disallowed goals, some atrocious wides, some splendid scores, some great blockdowns… everything that keeps a game alive.

In the end Pearses put the Annaghdown side to the sword but not as the final scoreline suggests and by God did they pay for it as there was no timber spared throughout by either side. Pearses 1-14; Annaghdown 1-7. Annaghdown were off the mark early with three points; two from play; the pick of them from near the sideline on the stand side of the field and a free to put them 0-3 to 0-0 ahead on 6mins. Luke Mitchell opened Pearses account on 11mins with a hard earned point which he threw over his left shoulder and helped to kickstart the Pearses lads into action. Niall Mac scooped the ball nicely into Orin Burke and as he throttled forward, space opened up for him and he passed to the unmarked Conor Kelly who threw over a lovely point. Annaghdown missed four scoreable frees in this spell to keep Pearses well in touch while Cian Murphy was wide from play after he gathered a pass from Robert Fahy.

The breakthrough came on 22mins when Cian Murphy’s long delivery was sent into the danger area where Luke Mitchell went to contest the ball, only to be dragged back by his man and following consultation with his umpires, the ref awarded a penalty which Ciano dispatched with ease.

Immediately up the other end, No. 15 for Annaghdown went on the rampage down the stand side of the field, cut in across the goals and with Jack Reilly, Robert Hynes and Oisin Donohue on his tail, he had little room to swing the hurl and kicked over the crossbar instead. It could easily have dipped under. Cian Murphy converted a free after Niall McDonagh was fouled while up the other end a sloppy clearance fell to an Annaghdown player who added another point.

Before Annaghdown had time to regroup, Ethan Lally scored a splendid point from a good distance out as he showed great side steps in the process. In the closing stages of the first half, Pearses’ hit a 4 point blitz to Annaghdown’s solitary point. Ciano converted a free after Luke Mitchell was fouled while Murphy scored three beauties on the trot after Ethan Lally, Paddy Kenny and Conor Kelly respectively set him up while No. 15 pointed from play for Annaghdown to leave the score at half time: Pearses 1-8; Annaghdown 0-6.

The second half was only seconds old when Luke Mitchell pointed his 2nd of the night, taking a slap in the process but the ref waved play on allowing him the advantage. Annaghdown lifted the siege with a great goal kicked to the net after a defensive slip up to give them some hope. Then Harry Mitchell made a splendid save from No. 9 who sent in a high lobbing ball which seemed to tail over the bar but Harry appeared out of nowhere to make a splendid save and keep the ball from crossing the end line in the process. The reprieve was brief for Annaghdown as they failed to convert a 65’ and Pearses added two further points through Luke Mitchell and Cian Murphy who received the applause of the night which his effort deserved. Niall Mac flicked the ball to him and with explosive speed he burst through 5 players before firing over a sublime effort.

Then came the best passage of play from the Pearses lads as Brian Kelly, Ethan Lally and Luke Mitchell combined for Cian Murphy to send in the final delivery and while Conor Kelly’s whipped effort on the edge of the square was drowned out; Niall McDonagh stole in on the corner back with a courageous blockdown, picked up the loose ball and as he went for the jugular the Annaghdown goalie turned the ball out for a 65’ which Ciano converted to make it 1-12 to 1-6. With 5mins to play there was a ‘big call’ by the ref. Annaghdown were awarded a close range free which resulted in a goal but Harry wasn’t long bringing to the attention of the ref that the free taker fouled the ball as he mishit on the first take. After due consideration with the umpires the goal was disallowed which eased any Pearses nerves.

Annaghdown converted a free to reduce the margin to 5 points but then late in the game as Annaghdown’s frustrations were apparent, their No. 5 saw red for a pull straight across Cian Murphy. Pearses pulled away in the final few minutes. Niall Mac fed Oisin Donohue who started at corner back and got forward for a rare point while Cian Murphy finished the rout when he capitalised on a short puck and hit the range with his 5th point from play to wrap up the game on a scoreline: Pearses 1-14; Annaghdown 1-7. So a County Final awaits these boys against the winners of Mullagh/ Kiltomer vs Sylane.

Scorers: Cian Murphy 1-8 (1-0 Pen; 0-2F; 0-1 65’); Luke Mitchell 0-3; Oisin Donohue 0-1; Ethan Lally 0-1; Conor Kelly 0-1.

Panel: Harry Mitchell; Oisin Donohue, Mark Donnellan, Jack Reilly, Paddy Kenny, Robert Hynes, Robert Fahy, Brian Kelly, Cian Murphy, Niall McDonagh, Orin Burke, David Hillary, Conor Kelly, Luke Mitchell, Ethan Lally, Oliver Laheen, Peter O’Neill, Conor Moran, Eanna Cunniffe, Darragh Roche, Ronan Hynes, Anthony Feeney.