Co. Junior Football Final

Pearses 2-11 Naomh Anna, Leitir Móir 1-5. Pearses Junior footballers followed on from their recent Junior ‘C’ North Championship win, when they defeated Naomh Anna, Leitir Móir to claim the County title last Saturday in Pearse Stadium, Salthill. It was a first football County cup for the Club since resuming dual status in 2013. The first half was a low scoring affair, with Pearses going in 0-4 to 0-3 in front. The third quarter of the game was when Pearses took control and opened a six point lead, thanks mainly to 1-1 from Damien Wynne. Pearses held the lead until the finish.

It took a while for the first score of the game which arrived on the eighth minute from the boot of Sean Hardiman. The same player was unlucky to pick up a second yellow card three minutes later. Leitir Móir initially used their extra man to good effect and picked off the next three points of the game to lead 0-3 to 0-1 after 21 minutes. The pick of the scores a sideline kick angled over brilliantly by Pádraic Mac Eochagáin. The final 10 minutes of the first half belonged to Pearses with points from Enda Cunniffe, Kerrill Hardiman and Richie Lally giving Pearses that narrow half-time lead.

14-man Pearses stormed into the second half and bagged 1-1 in the first five minutes. Substitute Emmet Ward opened the scoring before Damien Wynne burst through the Naomh Anna defence to bury the ball in the net, 1-5 to 0-3. There could well have been another Pearses goal as a surge upfield by Gary Lally created a goal chance for Ward, which was well saved by the keeper, Micheál Ó Curraoin. Leitir Móir hit back with a pointed free on the 41st minute, but three more Pearses points (Wynne, Ward and Hardiman) by the 50th minute left Naomh Anna seven behind, 1-8 to 0-4.

As you would expect Naomh Anna came looking for goals and Lee Murphy cleared off the Pearses line on the 21st minute. Two minutes later Emmet Ward extended Pearses’ lead to nine with the game’s second goal. Centre-back Ronan Bellew extended the lead with a point from play. Credit to Naomh Anna they never gave in, finding the net with 4 minutes left.

Super-sub Ward landed Pearses’ 10th point before Enda Cunniffe found himself through one-on-one with the keeper on the 58th minute. Not for the first time Ó Curraoin saved expertly to deny a third goal. From the resulting sequence of play Ward knocked over the game’s final point.

Captain Gary Lally collected the Club’s second piece of Silverware in seven days from County Board Chairman Noel Treacy. Damien Wynne was named Man of the Match. Indeed the season is not yet over for this group of players as they are set to meet Milltown in the League Semi-Final (fixture TBC). Any mention of trebles banned for now, by the team’s spiritual leader Leo Morrissey.

Pearses: J Flannery; L Murphy, K Donnellan, T Broderick; J Lally, R Bellew (0-1), G Lally; A Bellew, L Morrissey; D Wynne (1-1), E Cunniffe (0-1), S Hardiman (0-1); R Skehill, K Hardiman (0-2), R Lally (0-1). Subs used: E Ward (1-4), B Egan, A Finn, N Skehill.