U12 Hurling Champions

Pearses 3-5 Mountbellew-Moylough 3-4: A most rewarding year for Pearses U12’s was captured this evening in the U12 County Final played against neighbours Mountbellew-Moylough under lights in Duggan Park, Ballinasloe. By the skin of their teeth springs to mind, it might not have been the best standard of hurling but passion, determination, doggedness and spirit in galore were evident from both sides in abundance. To get to a final is a great achievement but to win it is even better.
Pearses started in the style of champions with a brace of early points. Jonah Donnellan was on the mark within 2mins after Darragh Roche did the grafting to release Donnellan who tapped over in front of goal. Paddy Kenny pointed from the most difficult of angles as he scored from almost the end line following good passing from Donnellan and Paddy Kenny. Mountbellew-Moylough tapped over a free from close range before Pearses suffered a sucker-blow as Kilian Fahy’s long dropping ball evaded young Padraig Kelly to find the Pearses net. This put Mountbellew firmly in the driving seat as they scored a further 1-2 without reply.
Midway through the first half Dean Cunningham pointed from play after the Pearses rearguard failed to clear. Mountbellew-Moylough on the attack again sent in another high lobbing dangerous ball which Padraig Kelly did well to handle but as the Mountbellew-Moylough forwards crowded him out, Conor Kelly and Jack Reilly’s combined efforts were enough to avert danger. Mountbellew-Moylough surged into a 2 goal lead as yet another high ball sent into the square was whipped on first time to rattle the net and landed another point from play to open up a 7point advantage after some good passing play across the 45’ line.
Ronan Hynes did the hard work for Anthony Feeney as he scored the point which lifted the Hurling Mammy’s spirits in the stand. Paddy Kenny took over the free taking duties from Jonah Donnellan and duly tapped over his first effort to reduce the daylight between the teams. Then just before half time, the tide was to turn for the first time in the evening.
Paddy Kenny sent in a long ball which hopped in the kindest of fashion for Darragh Roche to latch on to and his powerful effort rattled the net while helping to steady a few nerves. Would a Lazarus-like recovery be on the cards for Pearses given the tonic provided by the fiercely determined Roche. Mountbellew-Moylough held a 2 point interval lead; Mountbellew-Moylough 2-3; Pearses 1-4 
Soon after the restart a double point blank save from Padraig Kelly kept Pearses in the game while Mountbellew-Moylough were off the mark with a 65’. Pearses suffered a set-back 7 mins into the 2nd half when Jonah Donnellan who was exerting some influence on the game had to retire early due to a knee injury. This spurred on the Pearses boys even more and then the script was written as the tide was to change once again. Paddy Kenny found the net from the embankment side of the field as his long range free rattled the net for Pearses to hit the front for the first time since the 7th minute of the game.
The tide turned again as a long range effort from Mountbellew-Moylough took a deflection to find Pearses net. Their joy was short-lived however as Cormac Hillary and Conor Hillary worked hard in clearing the ball out of Pearses defence, which found Paddy Kenny and such a bullet – a simply amazing goal finished with aplomb past the Mountbellew-Moylough goalie to edge Pearses in front again. At this stage, fire, passion and intensity were at their highest as there was almost skin and hair flying when Darragh Roche’s hurl was flung into the air and hurleyless he kicked the ball towards his forward line.
Pearses had a let off as yet another dangerous ball from Mountbellew-Moylough went right across the face of goal andamp;amp; Padraig Kelly made another marvellous save but the rebound fell to Mountbellew-Moylough’s forward who tapped over from close range to tie the game up at 3-3 a-piece with 2 mins left to play. Dara Scarry had a half chance late in the game but then as David Walsh won a free out towards the far side of the field, Paddy Kenny held his nerve and showed great steel, similar to Dean Rock for the Dubs yesterday and the sweetest of strikes sailed the sliothar straight between the posts.
The pressure on Pearses backs was intense in the closing stages as Harry Mitchell, Conor Hillary, Cormac Hillary, Jack Reilly andamp;amp; Conor Kelly all stood their ground while Mountbellew-Moylough couldn’t find the all-important equaliser. The final whistle was a sweet as the early morning tunes from the birds while the defibrillator almost required replacement batteries. The efforts of these young lads and their mentors must be applauded following a run of no defeat in nine competitive games and one felt like carrying them shoulder high around the pitch. This victory was as sweet as you’d get; almost as exciting as the All Ireland Football Final yesterday!. Well done to the mentors Martin Scarry, Eddie Mitchell, Niall Skehill, Michael Kelly and Sean O’Neill. In his acceptance speech Ronan Hynes thanked the mentors for their true commitment and dedication, the parents for all their efforts all year and was a bit shy in thanking his own family, Bobby Hynes andamp;amp; Sons who have given so much in terms of underage sponsorship to the club over the last large number of years. Paddy Kenny with a personal tally of 2-2 deservingly accepted the Man of the match trophy. Well done lads, ye certainly provided plenty of entertainment all year.
Scorers: Paddy Kenny 2-3 (2f); Darragh Roche 1-0; Anthony Feeney 0-1; Jonah Donnellan 0-1.Pearses: Padraig Kelly, Harry Mitchell, Conor Hillary, Cormac Hillary, Jack Reilly, Conor Kelly, Jonah Donnellan, Ronan Hynes, David Walsh, Darragh Roche, Paddy Kenny, Dara Scarry, Anthony Feeney, Dylan Roche, Cathal Hynes, Patrick O’Neill, Darren Moran, Jamie Nutley, Diarmuid Ryan, James Queeney, Ross Lally, Conor Walsh, Brían Thompson.
Report by Martina Donnellan