Fr Griffins/Éire Óg 3-8 Pearses 1-8: Pearses Junior footballers suffered their first championship defeat since 2015 to Fr Griffins/Éire Óg in this Junior ‘A’ County final played under lights on Friday night in Duggan Park. The city team started well and lead 0-4 to 0-0 after 10 minutes. Despite going down to fourteen men Pearses had managed to get back on level terms at half time. Fr Griffins/Éire Óg’s had a strong final quarter and both their second half goals came in this period and were the difference in the end.
Fr Griffins/Éire Óg were first to score, a point from play. Richie Lally came close to finding the net at the other end for Pearses. The next eight minutes belonged to the city men as they added three more points. Their forwards looked sharp when scoring chances arrived. Tomas Flannery got Pearses off the mark from a free after 13 minutes. Kerrill Hardiman added another from play two minutes after, 0-4 to 0-2.
The game continued without scores as the clock ticked past twenty minutes. Pearses had now come to terms with FGEO’s early burst, but needed to make it count on the scoreboard. Tomas Flannery reduced the margin to one with a point from play on 22 minutes. Pearses had won a free along the left touchline soon after, as recently introduced Cyril Donnellan prepared to take, the FGEO corner-back was preventing the free being taken and hit the deck when pushed by Donnellan. The ref produced a red card and Pearses were down to fourteen.
Two minutes later in the 24th minute FGEO had the first goal of the game, finished to the net at the town end by Conor Flynn, 1-4 to 0-3. Tom Flannery pointed from a placed ball for Pearses with 27 minutes gone. In injury time a good Pearses team move finished with Kerrill Hardiman squaring the ball across to Enda Cunniffe, who finished to the net. 1-4 apiece as the teams retired for the half-time break.
The opening minutes of the second half were evenly balanced. Livewire midfielder Sean Connolly pointed for FGEO. Two pointed frees from Enda Cunniffe had Pearses in front for the first and only time in the game after 38 minutes. The teams were level again with 40 minutes played. FGEO then kicked 1-2 in the first five minutes of the final quarter to take a commanding lead. There was still time left on the clock to rescue the game and Pearses missed some scoring chances that could’ve narrowed the gap.
Enda Cunniffe pointed a free to put four between the sides, but any hope of a Pearses comeback were gone when FGEO had the ball in the net for the third time with just two minutes of normal time left to play. Pearses pushed for goals in the dying minutes, but a point from Keith Donnellan was the final score of the game.
Pearses were promoted to Junior level (along with Fr Griffins/Éire Og) for the 2019 season regardless of this result. This brings an end to the season for 2018, with promotions in both the League and Championship. Thanks to the management team of James Clancy, Noel Burke, Paidi Hillary, to sponsors Ruane’s Glentane and to sports therapist Aoife Lally.
Pearses: J Flannery; A Naughton, S Hardiman, J Lally; R Carr, F Flannery, G Lally; T McDonagh, L Morrissey; R Lally, E Cunniffe (1-3), T Flannery (0-3); D Wynne, S Raftery, K Hardiman (0-1). Subs used: C Donnellan, K Donnellan (0-1), A Bellew, R Flannery, J Gelston. Subs: E Flannery, R Skehill, T Broderick, A Finn, D Skehill, K Clancy, D Byrnes, R Bellew, P Lally, C Queeney.