Pádraig Pearses 1-20 Killimor 1-13.
Gerard Mulreaney, Connacht Tribune.
Eleven points from Cian Murphy saw 14-man Padraig Pearses advanced to the quarter-finals of the Senior Hurling B Championship following a dramatic seven-point victory over 13-man Killimor in Loughrea on Saturday evening.
With just three points between the sides in the final minute, a goal and a point for Pearses ensured that it would be Killimor who drop into the dreaded relegation final with Athenry. Having just been promoted last year, the club will be hoping that it’s not a swift return to the Intermediate ranks.
Having lost their previous two games, the Gurteen-Ballymacward side needed to get off to a good start, and they found themselves 0-6 to 0-2 up in the opening quarter.
Cian Murphy opened the scoring with a free before Kevin Hanney replied with a free of his own after winning a Sean O’Grady puck out. Tomas Flannery and Hanney traded scores before Pearses – despite giving the ball away needlessly at times – thanks to three further frees from Murphy, and a score from Ronan Bellew.
Killimor then fashioned a goal chance, but Anthony Callagy struck his effort straight at Fearghal Flannery in the Pearses goal. Eoin Horan did manage to tap over the rebound to reduce the deficit to three points.
Conor O’Neill received a straight red card for a robust challenge on Eoin McEvoy in the 22nd minute. However, the advantage of the extra man never quite materialised for Killimor who only added one point in the remainder of the half from Oisín McDonagh. Another free by Murphy and a point from Dean Reilly gave Pearses a 0-9 to 0-4 lead at half-time.
Two red cards in the final ten minutes proved Killimor’s downfall – Nate Muldoon receiving a second yellow, and substitute Jason Broderick also seeing red.
Killimor had eight second half points from Eoin McEvoy, along with a point from substitute Colin Madden, but Pearses had opened up a seven-point gap with four minutes to go, with points from Reilly, Murphy, Emmet Ward, Conor Fahey, and goalkeeper Flannery.
Credit to Killimor, who battled back well in the final moments of the game to give themselves a chance. A mistake from goalkeeper Fearghal Flannery allowed Callagy dribble the ball into the net to reduce the deficit to four points. A penalty two minutes later was tapped over by McEvoy to leave just a goal between the sides.
However, a brilliant goal by Tomás Flannery in added time – flashing the ball past O’Grady from an acute angle – secured the win for Anthony Kenny’s men.
For Pádraig Pearses, Cian Murphy was deadly accurate from frees, with Tomás Flannery, Oisín Flannery, and Jack Barrett excelling, while Eoin McEvoy, Ronan Egan, Anthony Callagy and Eoin Horan were best for Killimor.
Padraig Pearses: F. Flannery (0-2, frees); M. Hennelly, T. Kenny, R. Carr; E. Cunniffe, J. Barrett, O. Flannery; T. Flannery (1-1), A. Bellew; C. O’Neill, R. Bellew (0-1), E. Ward (0-1); D. O’Reilly (0-3), C. Fahey (0-1), C. Murphy (0-11, 0-10 frees). Subs: L. Mitchell for M. Hennelly (50); T. Higgins for R. Carr (53); C. Ward for C. Murphy (59).
Killimor: S. O’Grady; S. Whelan, E. Duane, S. Kelly; N. Muldoon, L. Fahy, S. Treacy (0-1); E. McEvoy (0-8, 0-6 frees, 0-1 pen), O. McDonagh; R. Egan, J. Kelly, A. Keary; B. Horan, E. Horan (0-3, 0-2 frees), A. Callagy (1-0). Subs: C. Madden for E. McEvoy (temp 25); E. McEvoy for C. Madden (28); C. Madden (0-1) for A. Keary (29); J. Broderick for B. Horan (41); C. Fahy for S. Kelly (45); O. Fitzgerald for J. Kelly (53).
Referee: Brian Keown.