2023 Senior C’ship, Round 1

Kilnadeema/Leitrim 0-19 Pearses 0-18
Éanna O’Reilly, Connacht Tribune

Kilnadeema/Leitrim edged out Pearses at Duggan Park on Saturday evening, after an extremely tight affair saw the minimum between the sides at full-time. On the day, there was an element of controversy after a bizarre opening to this senior B clash.

Within seconds of the throw-in, Pearses’ Dean Reilly sent over what appeared to be the opening point. However, Séamus Moran had mistakenly thrown in the ball before Kilnadeema/Leitrim goalkeeper Colm Cunningham had taken his place at the right end of the field. Moran was forced to restart the game and Reilly’s point was chalked off.

Considering the margin at full time, Pearses could certainly feel aggrieved with hav-ing this score disallowed. From an early stage, it was clear that little would separate two very evenly matched teams.

The sides were level at 0-3 apiece after five minutes. Colm Molloy tallied two points for Kilnadeema/Leitrim, while Conor Molloy pointed his first free. At the other end, Enda Cunniffe, Ronan Bellew, and Cian Murphy (free) got the scoreboard ticking for Pearses.

Anthony Kenny’s side then tallied three consecutive scores. Reilly, and Murphy (0-2, 0-1 free), made it 0-6 to 0-3 after 15 minutes. Eanna Kenny replied for Kilnadeema/Leitrim with a good score, before Ronan Bellew fired over his second at the other end.

The sides traded 0-4 apiece during the next 12 minutes. Murphy tallied three frees and a good score from play for Pearses, while Colm Molloy, Vinny Kenny, and Conor Mol-loy (two frees), kept Kilnadeema/Leitrim in touch.

It was Tony Ward’s side which finished the half stronger, with the final three points making it 0-11 apiece at half time. Once again it was Conor and Colm Molloy, along with Vinny Kenny, who provided three impressive scores from play.

The contest remained very even in the second half. Conor Molloy and Murphy traded frees, before Kilnadeema/Leitrim got a foothold, outscoring Pearses by 0-3 to 0-1 during the next five minutes.

Two Conor Molloy frees, and a lovely score from Mikey Lynch gave them the edge, while Murphy replied with his fourth from play at the other end. Pearses soon raised their game and took the initiative during the next ten minutes.

They outscored their oppo-nents by 0-3 to 0-1 during this spell. Murphy (two frees) and Emmet Ward pointed for Pearses, while Conor Molloy’s sixth free for Kilnadeema/Leitrim saw the sides level at 0-16 apiece.

Lynch’s second point, followed by Murphy’s eighth free at the other end, saw the teams remain dead-locked late in the game. It was Conor Molloy who edged his side back in front with an excellent score from the left wing before he pointed a free to put two between the teams.

Murphy reduced the margin to the minimum with an injury time free, but then sent a late effort wide, his only error in what was a marvellous individual performance.

The winners had impressive displays from Adam Nolan, Tom Tierney, Martin O’Brien, Vinny Kenny, Conor Molloy, Mikey Lynch, and Colm Molloy. Kilnadeema/Leitrim face Killimor in their next game.

Pearses were best served by Tomás Kenny, Mark Hennelly, Enda Cunniffe, Dean Reilly, Ronan Bellew, and the outstanding Cian Murphy. Pearses will now face Beagh in round two.

Pádraig Pearses: F. Flannery; R. Carr, T. Kenny, G. Kenny; A. Bellew, J. Barrett, M. Hennelly; E. Cunniffe (0-1), D. Reilly (0-1); T. Flannery, R. Bellew (0-2), C. O’Neill; C. Murphy (0-13, 0-9 frees), E. Ward (0-1), D. Fahey. Subs: O. Flannery for Carr (h-), C. Fahey for G. Kenny (38), C. Ward for D. Fahey (38), L. Mitchell for O’Neill (59).

Kilnadeema/Leitrim: C. Cunning-ham; D. Mahony, A. Nolan, J. O’Malley; D. O’Donoghue, T. Tierney, M. O’Brien; S. Molloy, K. Roche; V. K enny (0-2), D. Comar, E. Kenny (0-1); Conor Molloy (0-10, 0-7 frees), M. Lynch (0-2), Colm Molloy (0-4). Subs: S. Roche for S. Molloy (41), J. Kenny for K. Roche (47), A. Coyne for E. Kenny (61).

Referee: S. Moran.