Meelick-Eyrecourt 2-8 Pearses 1-8: Report by Martina Donnellan. Meelick-Eyrecourt earned valuable points in the 2nd round U14 championship tie after getting the better of Pearses by three points in Ballymacward this evening. With a strong wind at their backs in the first half the visitors found themselves 1-4 to 1-3 in front after Pearses shot seven poor first half wides.
Cillian Fahey had Pearses off the mark within a minute after he accepted a pass from Jonah Donnellan but Fahey was a well marked man after that. Meelick-Eyrecourt responded through a free and a point from play before Dara Scarry levelled matters on 9mins after he picked up a spilled ball from Orin Burke’s free into the danger area. Despite the visitors doubling their lead with a quick brace, through a free and one from play, full forward Ronan Hynes had to work hard to score from play. The dominance of Meelick-Eyrecourt’s No. 14 was rewarded as he weaved in around Pearses defence before unleashing an unstoppable shot past Harry Mitchell. Donnellan and Burke linked up well together culminating in a low hard effort from Orin which was well stopped by the goalie, fell back into play where Dara Scarry found Ronnie Hynes and eventually Cilly Fahey’s effort sailed wide. Just before half time, Pearses scored a tonic goal; a free won by the hard working Burkie was pumped into the square by Paddy Kenny, batted down by Ronan Hynes to the inrushing Burke who made no mistake in finding the net to leave Pearses trailing 1-3 to 1-4 at half time.
While Orin Burke’s goal raised great hopes before the break, they suffered a massive blow 2mins after the restart when a long delivery rebounded off the crossbar and their No. 14 sneaked the rebound to the net. Despite the best efforts of the umpire to flag a square ball, his pleas fell on deaf ears. The visitors tacked on another free from out near the dugouts as they continued to show a greater degree of cohesion. The sides then exchanged points. Paddy Kenny converted a free after Jonah Donnellan was fouled and Meelick-Eyrecourt scored a lovely point on the run to make it 2-6 to 1-4. A trio of scores from play through Ronan Hynes, Orin Burke and a lovely long range effort from Paddy Kenny renewed hope for Pearses as they clawed the lead back to 2 points midway through the 2nd half. The visitors responded with a free after Conor Kelly pulled back his man and the game seemed to be running away from Pearses but Kenny put two between them again almost straight from the puck out with a lovely effort from play. In the final 4mins, Pearses tried hard to salvage their chances of avenging their defeat to the same opponents at U10 level in Cappataggle four years ago but the visitors dominance in the latter stages earned them a late free which they duly converted and was enough to see them win on a scoreline: Pearses 1-8; Meelick-Eyrecourt 2-8.
Meelick-Eyrecourt’s superior finishing from close range and the square ball ‘goal’ just after the resumption were the decisive factors and a big talking point in Ballymacward this evening. However, these boys will dust themselves down for the next game against Castlegar on Monday evening next.
Scorers: Orin Burke 1-1; Paddy Kenny 0-3 (0-1F); Ronan Hynes 0-2; Dara Scarry 0-1; Cillian Fahey 0-1
Panel: Harry Mitchell, Padraig Kelly, Conor Kelly, Conor Hillary, Cormac Hillary, Paddy Kenny, David Walsh, Jack Reilly, Anthony Feeney, Cillian Fahey, Orin Burke, Jonah Donnellan, Dara Scarry, Ronan Hynes, Dillon Roche, Diarmuid Ryan, Cathal Hynes, Cian Burke, Conor Walsh, James Queeney, Patrick O’Neill. Oliver Laheen and Darragh Roche – both injured.