U15 Hurling Champs!

Pearses 5-10 Salthill-Knocknacarra 3-13: What a game this was! These two teams played out a thrilling battle in this U15C final played in Duggan Park yesterday evening. Pearses led by 2-3 to 0-0 after only five minutes of the game and looked as if they would stroll to victory. However, the city team fought back superbly with the next seven points of the game. Pearses led at half time, but SK turned it around to lead by four points with seven minutes of normal time remaining.
Pearses got the best possible start, with two points and then a long range free from midfielder Mark Hennelly went all the way to the net at the town end, before he followed it up with a point a minute later. Cian Murphy raided for the game’s second goal at the town end. Some supporters had hardly settled in their seats and the game looked to be over!
Salthill-Knocknacarra displayed huge character to battle their way back into this game. They chipped away at the Pearses lead. After 22 minutes there was just two between the sides, 2-3 to 0-7. Pearses had gone without a score for 17 minutes and looked in some bother. The outstanding Mark Hennelly ended the drought with a brace of points. The city side then bagged their first goal to leave just one point in the game, before Murphy completed the scoring for the first half. Half-time, 2-6 to 1-7.
The intensity went to another level in the second half and after eleven minutes there were two more goals on the board. Salthill-Knocknacarra struck first to take the lead for the first time, before Murphy bagged his second. Pearses led 3-8 to 2-8 at this stage, but again Salthill-Knocknacarra dug in. By the twenty first minute they had battled their way level, 3-9 to 2-12. They had the momentum now and took the lead again with a quickfire 1-1. Pearses trailed by four with seven minutes left!
Eoin Lally goaled for Pearses with four minutes of normal time remaining, just one between the sides again. With time now running out Pearses pushed desperately for an equaliser. It was dangerman Murphy again, somehow making space to shoot over from the left side under pressure. Nobody would have complained if Ref Ronan Stankard had ended the game for a draw. Both teams had surrendered winning positions.
Then on the stroke of normal time Murphy completed his hat-trick, with a goal from tight angle and again under pressure from the keeper and the full-back. It would turn out to be the game’s winning score, but not before four agonising minutes of injury time! Pearses however held on for a memorable win.
Captain Niall Moran picked up the cup from the Juvenile Hurling Chairman Pádraic Lohan, before Cian Murphy was presented Man of the Match by Tom Monaghan of Sponsors Ocean Hygiene. Indeed there was no shortage of candidates for Man of the Match, from both sides. Well done to all the lads and their dedicated coaches: Martin Scarry, Niall Skehill, Eddie Mitchell and Sean O’Neill.
Pearses: C Moran; L Mitchell, A Delaney, O Donoghue; B Kelly, N Moran, R Hynes; M Hennelly (1-4), D Hillary; Ethan Lally, D McCabe, Eoin Lally (1-1); Peter O’Neill, C Murphy (3-5), R Hynes. Subs: R Fahy, P Kenny, D Roche, C Kelly.