2022 Senior C’ship, Round 4

Liam Mellows 1-19 Pádraig Pearses 0-16
Report by Éanna O’Reilly, Connacht Tribune

Liam Mellows recorded their third consecutive championship win on Saturday in Loughrea against a Pearses side which competed well, but faded after an evenly contested 55 minutes.

With three wins on the spin since their opening round loss to Ardrahan, Jeff Lynskey’s side have put themselves well in contention for a place in the knock-out stages.

With Mellows, Portumna and Ardrahan all recording wins on Saturday, everything is now left to play for going into the final round. Mellows will have a big task on their hands against a high flying Portumna side in round five, but they have given themselves a fighting chance of qualification.

Saturday’s game saw the teams share the first four scores evenly. Emmet Ward pointed two early frees for Pearses, while a Jack Hastings point, along with a long range free from Adrian Morrissey got the scoreboard ticking for Mellows. The city side then hit four consecutive points, with Morrissey showing his dead ball skills on three occasions, while he also sent over an excellent score from play from the left corner.

Pearses set up with Tomás Flannery playing as a sweeper and he made a good run forward to grab a point in the 20th minute. Tadhg Haran responded with the score of the half when he made an excellent catch and fired over from the sideline on the right wing.

Pearses steadied themselves with two pointed frees from Ward, before an excellent long range score from Jack Barrett reduced the margin to one point. Hastings soon got his second point at the other end, but two super scores from Tomás Flannery and Barrett saw the sides level approaching half time. Mellows’ Conor Kavanagh exchanged points with Ward (free) in injury time to leave the sides tied at 0-9 apiece at the interval.

The city side made the perfect start to the second half, when Jack Forde fired to the net past Fearghal Flannery. Within a minute, Morrissey pointed a free to extend their lead to four points. Two frees from Ward at the other end soon halved the margin, as Pearses refused to fold under pressure.

The sides continued to trade scores, with Morrissey pointing three frees, while Conor Fahey and Dean Reilly points kept Pearses in touch. It left the score at 1-13 to 0-13 midway through the second half. The East Galway side were well up for the battle, and scores from Luke Mitchell and Ward (free), soon reduced the margin to a point.

Ronan Elwood sent over a good score from the right wing for Mellows, before Ward pointed his ninth free at the other end. This would prove to be Pearses’ last score, however. It was Lynskey’s charges who had more in the tank entering the final minutes and hit five consecutive points to take the victory.

Luke McPhilbin sent over a point to spark their scoring run, with injury time scores following from Forde, Jack Folan, Kevin Lee, and Morrissey (free) wrapping up the result for Mellows in impressive fashion.

On the day, Lynskey’s side had impressive displays from Stephen Barrett, Ronan Elwood, Mark Hughes, Lee,
Haran, Hastings, Morrissey, and Forde. Pearses were best served by Jack Barrett, Tomás Flannery, Enda Cunniffe, Fahey, Ward, and Reilly.

Liam Mellows: L. Dee; E. Finnerty, S. Morrissey, S. Barrett; R. Elwood (0-1), M. Hughes, L. O’Donovan; K. Lee (0-1), L. McPhilbin (0-1); T. Haran (0-1), J. Hastings (0-2), C. Elwood; C. Kavanagh (0-1), A. Morrissey (0-10, 9f), J. Forde (1-1). Subs: J. Folan (0-1) for C. Elwood (40 mins), R. O’Dwyer for Kavanagh (48 mins).

Pádraig Pearses: F. Flannery; M. Hennelly, T. Kenny, R. Carr; J. Barrett (0-2), D. Wynne, T. McDonagh; E. Cunniffe, O. Flannery; C. Fahey (0-1), T. Flannery (0-2), C. Raftery; G. Lally, E. Ward (0-9, all frees), D. Reilly (0-1). Subs: L. Mitchell (0-1) for Raftery (20 mins), S. Hardiman for Lally (55 mins).

Referee: Peter Murphy.