Ardrahan 5-14 Pearses 5-13. Report by Martina Donnellan. An epic encounter was played last night by both Pearses and Ardrahan and in the end Pearses must feel hard done by as Ardrahan displayed a late late show to grab the points 6 minutes into injury time. This was a memorable game with an almost record breaking scoreline, some simply outrageous scores, some of the finest goal keeping by a 12 year old and players leaping out of their skin in pure edge of the seat stuff. The old adage springs to mind: ‘It aint over til its over’ as we saw goals sprung out of nothing, momentum swings over and back in an instant and hefty leads reigned in by both teams in the blink of an eye.
Pearses were quickest out of the blocks as the pacey Ethan Lally opened the scoring straight from the throw-in with a neat point. Cian Murphy converted two quick frees to put Pearses 3 points ahead in as many minutes. Ardrahan responded with two frees from their full forward. Murphy then goaled for Pearses with a free from the middle of the park after the industrious Luke Mitchell was fouled but the Ardrahan goalie mis-judged the flight of the bouncing ball. Orin Burke extended Pearses early lead with a lovely effort over his left shoulder. At this stage with 9 mins gone, there were three Pearses hurls broke such was the effort with timely block-downs. Young Ronan Hynes effort from the left corner crept into the far corner of the goal and with a piece of the net missing, the ref had to consult the umpires before awarding the goal as Pearses leaped ahead 2-4 to 0-2 with their dream start.
However, Ardrahan’s response was strong as they scored 1-4 without reply in the next 10mins. It could have been more only for a spectacular double save from Harry Mitchell. Another Ardrahan goal looked ominous only for an excellent block-down from Niall McDonagh. Ardrahans goal came from a surging run as their No. 10 let fly to leave Harry with no chance. Cian Murphy relieved Pearses’ barren spell as he neatly robbed his player in midfield, throttled forward before his powerful goal-bound effort was deflected over the bar in a mighty piece of goal keeping. Ethan Lally pointed in a quality moment as he tapped the ball over two oncoming players before weaving himself in front of the posts where he made no mistake with the point of the day. Both sides traded scores: Ardrahan from a free and Conor Moran who spilt the posts with a point taken on the run. Ardrahan converted another free and scored another whopper of a goal before half time while straight up the other end Murphy was narrowly wide with another goal effort. Half time: Pearses 2-7; Ardrahan 2-8.
Pearses were offered an early let-off immediately after the restart as Robert Hynes received a yellow card for a foul on an inrushing player and the ref immediately signalled a penalty. Up stepped No. 14 who blasted wide. However, the game turned around in seconds as Ardrahan scored two quick goals in exact replicas of each other as their two goal scorers, No. 11 andamp;amp; No. 14 were left unmarked on the edge of the square. Ardrahan extended their lead with a massive long range free to make it 4-9 to 2-7 and it looked like Ardrahan would sail home. However, Pearses showed their fighting spirit led at the back by Brian Kelly who had a whopping 2nd half displaying a ‘Thou shall not pass’ mantra. Thanks to Ethan Lally, Cian Murphy, Luke Mitchell, Orin Burke and Niall McDonagh; Pearses began to seize the upper hand once again. Ethan Lally’s almighty effort almost smashed the crossbar and in the ensuing play, Luke Mitchell was dragged down and the ref stretched out his arms for a penalty. Up stepped Ciano who made no mistake in raising a green flag. David Hillary, Orin Burke andamp;amp; Luke Mitchell were involved in the hard build-up which found Niall Mac and as he weaved across the goal he unleashed an unstoppable shot to raise another green coloured flag and claw the deficit back to 2 points.
Ardrahan responded through a free from an acute angle. Pearses scored the next 4 points: Luke Mitchell (free) and another effort of his from play after great work from Darragh Roche in the corner. Cian Murphy converted two frees, after Orin Burke and Daragh Roche respectively were fouled. Ardrahan restored parity when their No. 10 pointed from play after a run across the face of goal. The resultant puck-out was fetched by Cian Murphy; found Ethan Lally who watched his effort sail between the posts to nudge Pearses 1 point up 23mins into the 2nd half. A long clearance from defence from Brian Kelly was added to by Luke Mitchell and a foul on Robert Fahy allowed Ciano to tap over the free to make it a 2 point ball game with 26mins gone. In typical fashion, Ardrahan responded yet again with another whopper of a goal. Harry Mitchell came to the rescue with another top class save. At this late stage, the game was set like a pendulum, with the momentum swinging over and back.
Niall McDonagh looked to be the hero with 28mins gone when he scrambled his effort to the net in a goalmouth schmozzle, only he knows if he used the hurl or the boot to finish it. Mac had another goal chance, this time a kicked piledriver but the goalie made a splendid save with 29mins gone. However, there was late drama as Ardrahans No. 10 couldn’t keep his effort down and it sailed over the crossbar – 1 point ball game. Harry made another smashing save at the butt of the post to keep Pearses in the driving seat but the ball was sent out for a 65’ which was converted to draw the game. All eyes were on the ref as the game was deep into injury time. A draw was surely the fairest result. Ardrahan refused to wilt and a winning point 6mins into injury time from their No. 8 proved sufficient for them to finally pull clear and grab 2 points and set them in pole position on the group table.
It was an evening of mixed emotion but in fairness it was an exceptional game with hurling the real winner. Next group game is Thursday next as Pearses play neighbours Abbeyknockmoy in Ballymacward.
Scorers: Cian Murphy 2-6 (1-5F; 1-0 Pen); Niall McDonagh 2-0; Ronan Hynes 1-0; Ethan Lally 0-3; Luke Mitchell 0-2 (0-1F); Orin Burke 0-1; Conor Moran 0-1.
Panel: Harry Mitchell, Conor Kelly, Niall McDonagh, Oisin Donoghue, Robert Hynes, Brian Kelly, Paddy Kenny, Luke Mitchell, David Hillary, Conor Moran, Cian Murphy, Orin Burke, Peter O’Neill, Ethan Lally, Ronan Hynes, Darragh Roche, Mark Donnellan, Robert Fahy, Cormac Hillary, Jack Reilly, Oliver Laheen.