Senior Championship, Round 3

Pádraig Pearses 3-11 Kilnadeema-Leitrim 0-19

Our Senior hurlers retained their place in the Senior hurling Championship for 2021 with a one-point win over Kilnadeema-Leitrim in Duggan Park Ballinasloe yesterday afternoon. Two goals from Dean Reilly and Tomás Flannery along with the return of Cyril Donnellan were some of the key elements of the victory. Despite missing four regulars (Gary Lally, Damien Wynne, Colm Raftery and Conor Fahey), this was a another good display from the team. This brings an end to the Senior championship games this year, where after recovering from the opening day blip and with a little more luck (against Mullagh) Pearses could well have been recording their second win yesterday.

The opening twenty minutes of the game seen the teams on level terms five times. Kilnadeema-Leitrim opened the scoring and Pearses hit back each time to keep the contest finely balanced. Emmet Ward hit four of Pearses’ points in this spell, with Mark Hennelly chipping in with a point from play. Alvin Mitchell, Brian and Stephen Molloy were among the K-L scorers. Pearses were more economical with scoring chances, while their opponents were wasteful, hitting five wides.

Kilnadeema-Leitrim upped it in the remainder of the half and led by 0-10 to 0-6 as the approached 30 minutes. Dean Reilly however was threatening for Pearses and his speed took him through on goal twice, before the K-L defence kept him at bay. Then a Pearses penalty, struck powerfully by Emmet Ward, but well saved by keeper Evan Dowling. Ward and Brian Molloy exchanged pointed frees before the first goal of the game arrived in the fourth minute of injury time. A good pass out of defence by Enda Cunniffe found the run of Tomas Flannery who sent it across the face of the goal to Reilly who finished it to the net. Half-time: Kilnadeema-Leitrim 0-11 Pearses 1-7.

The teams shared four points evenly at the start of the second half. Mark Hennelly, excellent throughout the game, hit his third from play and also assisted in the second goal of the game which was scored by Tomás Flannery. Cyril Donnellan had come off the bench on the 36th minute and he now landed two long-range points to extend the Pearses lead, 2-11 to 0-13. Kilnadeema-Leitrim hit back with a point, but Donnellan and Flannery combined to send Dean Reilly through on goal for the third Pearses green flag of the day after 47 minutes.

Following the water break, Pearses did not score again, but K-L added five points in-a-row to cut the gap to the minimum entering the final minutes. K-L worked a late ’65 but a point would not be enough. They needed a goal to win the game as their scoring difference was higher than Pearses. The ball was dropped in and Fearghal Flannery was called into action, smothering the sliotar on the line, before bursting out and working it away. Pearses held out for the win, as Kilnadeema-Leitrim will now enter the relegation play-offs with Beagh and Kinvara.

Pearses: F Flannery; T McDonagh, T Kenny, R Lally; E. Cunniffe, K Donnellan, K Hardiman; S Hardiman, O Flannery; T Flannery (1-0), C Ward, E Ward (0-6); M Hennelly (0-3), R Bellew, D Reilly (2-0). Subs used: J Gelston, C Donnellan (0-2).