U13 Semi-Final Replay

Pearses 3-16; Moycullen 4-11: Report by Martina Donnellan. What a magnificent match in Moycullen yesterday evening in the U13B semi-final replay against Moycullen. It took 120minutes of hurling to separate these two sides following a draw after extra time on Monday evening and extra time required again yesterday evening. One woke up this morning expecting a report on this match to be the first news item on Radio One’s National Sports headlines.

It was an absolute titanic battle by both sides which will certainly go down as one of the underage hurling games of the year. Both sidelines were filled with supporters and there was much relief and huge cheers from the Pearses contingent when the ref blew the final whistle as Pearses emerged victorious by 2 points having fought hammer and tongs on a 3-16 to 4-11 final score.

From the word go Pearses had to earn this win. Moycullen started strongly, led 0-2 to no score after 6mins and were in control early on. Jonah Donnellan opened Pearses account from play after a good move involving Cormac Hillary, Paddy Kenny, Anthony Feeney, Jason Rabbitte and finished by Donnellan. Then Orin Burke, who played the entire game carrying a niggling injury, goaled after Rabbitte sent in a long delivery which bobbled around in the square a bit before Burke kicked to the net to turn the tide in Pearses direction. Burke added a point from the resultant puck out after Cillian Fahy’s initial effort was batted out by the goalie. Moycullen goaled on 12mins when their wing forward pulled on a long delivery to raise a green flag.

Pearses then squandered some good chances with 4 wides both from frees and from play. Keeper Mitchell denied Moycullen with a point blank save which was defended well by a combined effort of Oliver Laheen, Conor Hillary and Conor Kelly to relieve any impending danger. For the next 6 mins both sides were wasteful which brought the game to half time on a score line: Pearses 1-2; Moycullen 1-2.

Following the resumption, Moycullen hit a purple patch scoring 4 points in rapid succession, 3 from play and one from a placed ball. Cillian Fahy kick-started the Pearses revival with a point which took a deflection off the goalies hurl on its way. Rabbitte converted a free which he earned himself. Cillian Fahy maintained Pearses momentum as he sent in a long range delivery; Moycullen’s full back and one-legged Burke who was now playing in the No. 14 position both rose to meet it; Burke broke it nicely to Darragh Roche who was dragged down while the ref immediately indicated a penalty which was buried by Orin Burke to put Pearses 1 point up. Moycullen levelled matters with a free with 7 mins to go.

Cillian Fahy andamp;amp; Rabbitte did the hard work to set up Burke with a point to edge Pearses in front. Anthony Feeney won a vital free to keep the momentum with Pearses as the clock was ticking down. With 2 mins to go, there came a sucker blow for Pearses when Moycullen goaled again as Harry Mitchell first made a superb save but the Moycullen scorer was well positioned to smack the rebound to the net and immediately Pearses were up against it. Jonah Donnellan then found Orin Burke who reduced the deficit to one with a minute and a half to play. Cormac Hillary won a vital free out near the dugout which was taken by Jason Rabbitte, won well by Cillian Fahy who turned saviour as he sent over an astonishing point to tie up the game for the third time on a scoreline: Pearses 2-7; Moycullen 2-7 and so bring the game to extra time yet again.

Similar to Monday evening, Moycullen got a tonic start to extra time. Mitchell made another great save but the rebound was whipped to the net. Jason Rabbitte responded through two frees and an effort from play to tie up the game for the 4th time. Ronan Hynes put Pearses 1 point up after he gathered a Cillian Fahy pass who did well to get his pass in given he was smothered by 3 green jerseys. Harry Mitchell kept us in the game with yet another point blank save with 8mins played in the first period of extra time. Right on the stroke of half time Moycullen converted a free to level matters once more: Pearses 2-11; Moycullen 3-8.

Both teams traded scores following the resumption; Jonah Donnellan on target for Pearses and Moycullen from play down the other end. However, from here on Pearses came into their own. With Jack Reilly, Paddy Kenny who made the long trek back from Waterford, andamp;amp; Cormac Hillary dominating the half-back line, Conor Hillary, Dara Scarry and David Walsh roaming around the forward line and everyone simply hurling superbly, Pearses drove forward in search of scores which came rapidly.

Jason Rabbitte got one of the best cheers of the day when he grabbed a long Fahy delivery and at full throttle he smashed home a superb goal to put Pearses in a more comfortable position. Darragh Roche kept Pearses in the comfort zone as he pointed a brace; his first after great work from Rabbitte and his second after Orin Burke fed him the pass to make it a 5 point ball game.

Warrior Orin Burke then was dragged down in the square for the ref to award a penalty. Rabbitte tapped it over to extend the lead to 6 points with 5 mins remaining. Roche hit the target with his third point from play and by now Moycullen were under the cosh trailing by 7 points, by far the widest margin of the evening as the home side looked done and dusted. However, Moycullen showed great character as they rallied to get back into the game.

They got the break they required as they breached Pearses defence to smash home a goal quickly followed by a point from play to put 3 points between the sides and set up the nerviest of finishes for the Pearses spectators. Moycullen went on the run again and were awarded a close in free. In a crowded area it was difficult to know who got their hurl to it to deflect the goal-bound effort over. In the end, time ran out on a spirited Moycullen fight back as Pearses U13 boys had just won a classic on a whopping scoreline: Pearses 3-16; Moycullen 4-11.

The sides were level 6 times in a cracking match and it has to be said, this was an overall team performance as each lad gave his very best to ensure Pearses passage to the final against Ballinderreen was secured. Their ability to pick off points and goals when they were most needed is what really saw them home. Well done to all the players, to mentors Eddie Mitchell who almost needed a bit of his own ‘stuff’ he markets during and after the game, to Tony Walsh and Sean O’Neill and to the absent Martin Scarry who spent the match hour in the prayer room in Portiuncla Hospital. At least we now know his prayers were answered.

County Final date and venue versus Ballinderreen has yet to be agreed. The team wish Orin Burke the best in his mini sevens appearance in Croke Park on Saturday during the All-Ireland hurling semi-final while everyone also sends best wishes to Jack Reilly’s brother Dean in the All Ireland minor semi-final and indeed to Oisin Flannery and to Jack Barrett.

Scorers: Orin Burke 2-3 (1Pen); Jason Rabbitte 1-5 (0-3F; 0-1Pen); Darragh Roche 0-3; Cillian Fahy 0-2; Jonah Donnellan 0-2; Ronan Hynes 0-1.

Panel: Harry Mitchell, Conor Hillary, Conor Kelly, Oliver Laheen, Jack Reilly, Paddy Kenny, Cormac Hillary, Jonah Donnellan, Orin Burke, Jason Rabbitte, Anthony Feeney, Cillian Fahy, Dara Scarry, Darragh Roche, Ronan Hynes, David Walsh, Ross Lally, Cathal Hynes, Jamie Nutley, Cian Burke, James Queeney, Patrick O’Neill, Diarmuid Ryan, Padraig Kelly.