U14s into Shield Final

Pearses 2-13 Ardrahan 2-9: Report by Martina Donnellan. Pearses reached their first U14B Shield final since the clubs history with a four point win over Ardrahan on Thursday evening. This was a tight tense semi-final for long stretches in Ballymacward but the Pearses boys ended their long wait for a shield final spot which is new territory for them this year having won the U14A1 Cup final last year. The hosts put in an impressive second half display, outscoring their opponents 0-8 to 0-3.

Pearses looked on course for next week’s final by the 2nd half water break when they were 5 points ahead and playing well in every sector on the field. The sides were level on 5occasions in an entertaining first half but it was the visitors who just edged ahead before the break to lead by the narrowest margin 2-6 to 2-5. Although Mike Don & Mary Lally had conflicting half time scores, ref James Lundonsettled the argument.

From the off, Cilly Fahey was wide after a trademark run underneath the stand but made amends just seconds later when he flicked the ball into the ground, back to himself and struck neatly over from the centre forward spot position. No. 9 for Ardrahan had a chance from a free but Harry Mitchell was firmly under the dangerous dropping ball. Ardrahan levelled matters on 3mins from play through their No. 11. Fahey & No. 9 for Ardrahan exchanged frees, Conor Walsh being the Pearses player upended.

Pearses scored their first goal on 8mins when Harry Mitchell’s clearance in defence found David Walsh and his inch perfect delivery to Diarmuid Ryan whose gloved paw snatched the ball, but as his goal bound effort was well saved; Dara Scarryslipped inside his marker to slam the rebound to the net. The joy was short lived though as Ardrahan goaled straight down the other end in a well taken but opportunistic goal. The point of the day belonged to Cillian Fahey when he lifted the ball over his opponents head, ran on to receive it, flicked to theground rather than catch it a 3rd time, took a few rattles on the way before composing himself to throw over an absolute beauty which left all the followers on the sideline in awe. It was reminiscent of Kevin Broderick’s wonder point against Kilkenny in 2001. Just at the first half water break, Ardrahan restored parity through a free to tie the game 1-3 apiece.

Following the restart, Ardrahan’s pacey midfielder edged them ahead with a good point from an acute angle. From the resultant puck out, David Walsh’s delivery from under the stand found the towering Diarmuid Ryan ahead of his man and with limited space to strike, he managed to get the shot into the bottom left corner to put Pearses ahead 2-3 to 1-4. Both sides traded the next 2 scores from play; Fahey for Pearses & No. 10 for Ardrahan. Cilly Fahey added another free after young Kyle McDonagh was taken down. Some pressure from Ardrahan before half time resulted in 1-1 for them without reply. A 65’ landed into the square saw the barepaw of Jonah Donnellan make a great fetch and emerge with the white helmet. Another delivery sent in was also caught by Donnellan and on their 3rd attempt Darren Moran made a splendid stop. However, as Ardrahan kept plugging away, they were eventually rewarded when they rattled the net through no fault of the defence line of James Queeney, Harry Mitchell & Dillon Roche. No. 8 scored from play before the break to edge Ardrahan 2-6 to 2-5 ahead.

The 2nd half saw the Ardrahan lads drop like flies as Cian Burke & Padraig Kelly on the flanks were hard men to get the better of. Cillian Fahey’s perfect finishing led the way with 5 more points by the 2nd half water break; 2 from frees & a 65’. The 65’ sailed over beautifully as Ardrahan’s umpire received his marching orders by ref James Lundon when he argued his point in vain that the ball was wide. Diarmuid Ryan also added a point in that period as he received an inviting ball from Fahey, controlled well before his swift strike over the bar. Pearses had opened up a 5 point lead: 2-11 to 2-6. 

Within a minute of the water break restart, Darren Moran was called into action and yet again stood his ground well with another fantastic stop. No. 9 converted 2 frees to claw the lead back to 3 points. Pearses created a lovely move originated by Harry at the back, involving David Walsh, Conor Hillary, Cilly Fahey but Diarmuid Ryan’s effort tailed wide after a great passage of play. Ardrahan tried their best to hit back. A 65’ was delivered into the danger area and who else but CillyFahey with his sudden wonderful twist emerged with the ball, back helping out his defence. Wing back, Cian Burke was fouled & Fahey executed the free. Ardrahan popped over another from play to keep them in the game but Fahey had the final say as he slowly strolled over to convert his 6th free of the evening after Conor Walsh won the free. As the ball sailed over, the ref blew the whistle and the curtain came down as Pearses finished victorious on a scoreline: Pearses 2-13; Ardrahan 2-9. Pearses now advance to the U14B Shield Final against St. Thomas’ – a re-run of their Round 2 game. 

Pearses were dynamic, every player tremendous, playing theirpart and mixing in a strong brand of hurling. Final to be fixed next week; date & venue yet to be decided.

Scorers: Cillian Fahey 0-12 (6F; 65’); Diarmuid Ryan 1-1; Dara Scarry 1-0. 

Panel: Darren Moran, Dillon Roche, Harry Mitchell, James Queeney, Padriag Kelly, Jonah Donnellan, Cian Burke, Conor Hillary, Anthony Feeney, David Walsh, Cillian Fahey, Kyle McDonagh, Conor Walsh, Dairmuid Ryan, Dara Scarry, Jack Kenny, Sean Kelly, Keith Kitt, Brian Thompson, FionnDonohue, James Feeney, Tadhg Hart, Eoghan Ryan, Daniel Lydon. Absent: Cathal Hynes, Ciarán Hogan, Tommy Nutley.