U14s Go Down in Shield Final

St Thomas’s 3-6 Pearses 2-6
Report by Martina Donnellan

Pearses & St. Thomas’ U14s renewed their hurling rivalry in the U14B Shield Final in a rematch of their Round 2 group game when they took on St Thomas’ in their home patch this evening. 

St. Thomas’ came out on top of this exciting and hard-fought game, played in wind and rain swept conditions. Cilly Fahey got Pearses up and running within a minute and a half with an early free, followed by a piledriver of a goal. Conor Hillary got his hurl to the ball and as young Kyle McDonagh did his bit the ball fell to Fahey who weaved through the centre before unleashing an unstoppable effort past the hapless keeper. Pearses couldn’t ask for a better start. Assisted by the strong breeze, Thomas’ immediately fought back as No. 11’s effort just creeped inside the right hand post and they converted a free from out near the dugouts.

By the sixth minute St. Thomas went a point ahead through their midfielder who fetched the ball nicely and smacked it under Darren Moran’s diving body. Diarmuid Ryan fired wide from play and Cilly sailed over another free to level matters at 1-2 apiece. In the ensuing play at the other end, Moran again made a good save but the ref called back play and awarded a free in instead which Thomas’ No. 12 duly converted. They added another from play on the stroke of the first half water break to lead 1-4 to 1-2 at this point. 

By half time, St. Thomas’ had built up a 1-6 to 1-3 lead. No. 8 converted a free from a difficult angle while Fahey put over a hard earned point as it looked like he had been fouled 3 times beforehand but whilst on his knees Fahey collected the ball and as quick as lightening dispatched the pressure imposed on him by 3 lads to fire over from play. No. 12 for St. Thomas’ fired over a free just before the break to put them ahead by 0-3 at the break. 

6mins after the restart the hosts struck again when Pearses backs failed to clear & their forward was left unmarked on the edge of the square and hammered home. Suddenly there was 6 points in it. David Walsh responded with a good effort from play which just had the legs to carry over after Anthony Feeney & Fahey originated the move. 2-6 to 1-4 after a low scoring third quarter. 

The 4th quarter totally belonged to the Pearses lads as they began to claw back the lead and looked more comfortable. The tide turned in Pearses favour as Cilly Fahey’s free into the danger area was flicked to the net by Jonah Donnellan and suddenly we had a 2 point ball game. Cilly had another effort but hopped straight into the goalies clutches. Good work from Dara Scarry & Jonah Donnellan won a free which Cilly made light work of. With 3 mins to go Fahey struck a 65’ won by Diarmuid Ryan, to level matters 2-6 apiece and his fist pump gesture denoted Pearses had mounted the comeback. Then totally against the run of play and in the one passage of play in the final quarter that passed midfield, St. Thomas’ attacked and their striker hit a low hard effort past Darren Moran with a minute to play. Try as they might Pearses couldn’t stage another late comeback as time ran out on a battling Pearses team. 

It’s hard on young lads to lose a final at any age group or any level but this year, 2020, has been so much different in every way. One consolation for Pearses was the awarding of the Man of the Match to Cillian Fahey who was tightly marked by 2 players for almost the entire game but nevertheless put in an outstanding display yet again.

Scorers: Cillian Fahey 1-5 (0-3F; 65’); Jonah Donnellan 1-0; David Walsh 0-1.

Panel: Darren Moran, Dillon Roche, Harry Mitchell, James Queeney, Padraig Kelly, Jonah Donnellan, Cian Burke, Anthony Feeney, Conor Hillary, David Walsh, Cillian Fahey, Kyle McDonagh, Dara Scarry, Diarmuid Ryan, Conor Walsh, Jack Kenny, Keith Kitt, Sean Kelly, Tadhg Hart, Brian Thompson, James Feeney, Ciarán Hogan, Tommy Nutley.