2018 Senior League Champions

Pádraig Pearses 1-14 Cappataggle 0-14 (AET): Our Senior hurlers captured the Club’s first ever Senior Hurling League title yesterday evening in Duggan Park in the delayed 2018 Final. It took extra-time to separate the sides in a fiercely contested game, which seen the sides level seven times in normal time. With the floodlights called into action for extra-time Pearses hit the front and outscored Cappy 0-4 to 0-1 in two ten minute periods. A late chance for Cappy from a James Skehill 21-yard free was kept out to secure a hard fought and deserved win for the men in black and white!

Cappataggle lead 0-3 to 0-0 after six minutes of the play. The Mannions, Jarlath and Donal (from a sideline-cut), were the scorers and Cappy were motoring well. Emmet Ward got Pearses off the mark from a placed ball after eight minutes, he followed it up two minutes later with another. Jarlath Mannion had a chance for goal the other end, but his close range shot was well smothered by Fearghal Flannery. The game was level after 11 minutes when Emmet Ward pointed another placed ball into the town end, 0-3 each.

The teams shared the next four points evenly. Jimmy Gelston hit two Pearses scores from play, while lively corner-forward Oran Finn and Alan Dolan (free) also got their names on the scoresheet to bring the game to the 24th minute of play. Like all local derby games there was little or nothing between the sides. Then after 28th minutes a pivotal moment in the game. Fearghal Flannery sent a long puckout accurately on top of wing-forward Conor O’Neill who won it and hit straight for goal, before being bought to ground in the Cappy square. Penalty! Emmet Ward calmly slotted the ball past James Skehill. Pearses hit in front for the first time.

Daniel Nevin responded a minute later with a long-range point for Cappataggle and tempers flared between the teams around the middle of the field. After Referee Ger O’Connor and his officials restored order, the game stepped up another notch. Oran Finn pointed for Cappy, before Conor Fahey responded. A good tackle by Sean Hardiman in the middle of the field dispossessed Cappy danger man Jarlath Mannion, who was having less success now also in his battle with man-marker Richie Lally. Pearses were on top and went in at the break, 1-6 to 0-7 in front.

Cappy again started quickly in the second half and outscored Pearses 0-3 to 0-1 in the opening ten minutes, Emmet Ward the Pearses scorer. The teams were deadlocked again, 1-7 to 0-10. Pearses pulled two clear, Gelston with his third from play and a Ward free. In keeping with the pattern of the game Cappataggle brought the game level again, substitute Damien Joyce first and then Kevin Kelly came forward to point from wing-back, 1-9 to 0-12. The game entered its final minutes and not for the first time Cyril Donnellan displayed his leadership qualities, with the lead point and Pearses looked to have done enough. However, Jarlath Mannion levelled the game for a final time to force extra-time.

After slow starts in both halves of normal time, Pearses did not allow this to happen a third time and after five minutes of extra-time three Emmet Ward frees had forged a three-point lead, 1-13 to 0-13. This is how it remained until half-time. Both teams were tiring now and the second period of extra-time produced just two points. Cappy reduced the gap to two before Fearghal Flannery played a captain’s part and pointed a long range free to make it 1-14 to 0-14. The drama was not over yet and with time running out Cappy won a 21-yard free. James Skehill ventured forward for one last attempt to salvage a result. The Pearses defence held out Skehill’s drive to secure the title! Fearghal Flannery was presented with the Cahalan Cup by Stevie Cahalan.

Pearses: F Flannery (0-1); D Wynne, T Kenny, R Lally; K Donnellan, R O’Neill, E Cunniffe; C Fahey (0-1), C Donnellan (0-1); S Hardiman, G Lally, C O’Neill; E Ward (1-8), C Ward, J Gelston (0-3). Subs used: T Flannery, R Bellew, R Flannery.

Cappataggle Scorers: J Mannion (0-4), A Dolan (0-3), O Finn (0-2), D Mannion (0-1), D Dolan (0-1), D Nevin (0-1), K Kelly (0-1), D Joyce (0-1).
Referee: G O’Connor (Kinvara).

Report by David Cunniffe.