St Thomas’ Shocked

Pearses 2-13 St Thomas’ 0-18: The 2013 All-Ireland Club Champions were sent packing yesterday evening in Loughrea by a last minute Robbie Donnellan point. Without Cyril Donnellan, Cormac Ward, Fearghal Flannery and his understudy Paul Oandamp;rsquo;Brien, Pearses faced a huge task. After losing an early lead and seeing St Thomasandamp;rsquo; go four clear after half-time, chances of a win looked bleak!
St Thomas led by two when a Tomandamp;aacute;s Flannery free got Pearses off the mark. Then came the first goal of the game. Ronan Bellew won possession and found Flannery with a neat pass. He sent the ball to the St Thomasandamp;rsquo; net to give Pearses the lead. On the 7th minute St Thomasandamp;rsquo; corner-back Cathal Burke, was red carded by Referee Leonard Faye, after he first fouled and then struck out at Gary Lally on the ground. Flannery pointed the free, 1-2 to 0-2.
Conor Cooney landed a free for St Thomas. Ronan Bellew, who was doing well under Pearses puckouts, caught and pointed, for Pearsesandamp;rsquo; first from play. Conor Cooney added to St Thomasandamp;rsquo; increasing wides tally, before finding the range with a pointed free. A good move down the left touchline, seen Kerrill Hardiman point from a difficult angle, 1-4 to 0-4.
For the final ten minutes of the second half St Thomas outscored Pearses, 0-6 to 0-1. Conor Cooney, James Regan, Richie Murray and Shane Cooney the scorers for Thomasandamp;rsquo;. The Pearses point, another Flannery free from the right sideline. Half-time St Thomasandamp;rsquo; 0-10 Pearses 1-5.
St Thomasandamp;rsquo; outscored Pearses by 0-4 to 0-2 in the opening seven minutes of the second half. Jimmy Gelston and Ronan Bellew with the Pearses points. Again St Thomasandamp;rsquo; were guilty of some wayward shooting. Substitute Damien Wynne was making a difference at centre-forward and got his name on the scoresheet, to cut the gap to three, 0-14 to 1-8 after 42 minutes.
The excellent Ronan Bellew, now at midfield, took his third point of the day. St Thomas quickly restored their three point lead. Another Tomandamp;aacute;s Flannery free came before two Thomasandamp;rsquo; points, 0-17 to 1-10 on 49 minutes. A long ball into the square by substitute Robbie Donnellan was scrambled to the net by Flannery, but was adjudged to have been a square ball and disallowed.
In the final ten minutes, Pearses would outscore St Thomas 1-3 to 0-1. First the spark the ignited the Pearses rally, a long range Shane Raftery free went all the way to the net and the gap was down to just one point. Conor Cooney put two between them again, before Flannery cut it back to one. Thomasandamp;rsquo; missed an opportunity to go two ahead. A Pearses attack yielded a 21-yard free. Flannery opted to tap it over and level the game.
The momentum was now with Pearses and the ball was quickly returned to Thomasandamp;rsquo; territory from the puckout. A Brian Sweeney snapshot was well blocked, Lee Murphy retained possession and when the ball ended up in Robbieandamp;rsquo;s hand, he drove it low over the bar to win it.
Pearses now go on to play Liam Mellows in the next game (on Saturday, venue and time TBC) and a win would secure Senior status for 2015.
Pearses: A Kilkenny; A Kenny, T Kenny, P Raftery; B Egan, S Raftery (1-0), K Hardiman (0-1); J Gelston (0-1), A Bellew; R Bellew (0-3), T Flannery (1-6), S Hardiman; E Cunniffe, E Ward, G Lally. Subs used: D Wynne (0-1), R Lally, L Murphy, R Donnellan (0-1), B Sweeney.