A strong Michael Cusacks team saw out the challenge from Pearses U15s with a strong final quarter and 7 points to spare in Ballymacward yesterday evening.
Cillian Fahey who was firing on all cylinders grabbed the first of his 13 points, a whopper from half way, out near the sideline. Cusacks scored 2 from play, the 2nd of which was lucky not to creep under the crossbar. On 7mins Darren Moran was safely under a high lobbing ball but as his clearance was sent back into the danger area, the ball was caught by the corner forward who goaled to give Cusacks an early advantage.
Cillian Fahey responded with a free but Pearses backs were defending well when Cusacks looked dangerous. A great combined blockdown by Fionn Donoghue and James Queeney helped kickstart Pearses into the game. Fahey’s super strike from under the stand split the posts after good work from Dylan Roche, followed by another Fahey free when Kyle Mac was fouled. Cusacks pointed before the water break when a Pearses clearance in defence fell as far as a hoop jersey & he tapped the bouncing ball to an unmarked player to make it Pearses 0-4 Cusacks 1-3 by the end of Quarter 1.
Trojan work from Cilly Fahey led to Diarmuid Ryan getting on the scoreboard when he latched onto a loose ball. The visitors responded when a stray clearance from young Darren Moran fell to a loose player who had no difficulty in tapping over. Pearses scored the next 3. A puck out from Harry Mitchell was helped on by Conor Hillary & Cilly Fahey & finished by Dara Scarry. Fahey scored his 3rd from play with a long distance effort & converted a free in his usual demeanour. Michael Cusacks kept their scoreboard ticking over with a free while down the other end Fahey won a free which he duly converted. Half time. Pearses 0-9; Ml Cusacks 1-5.
Pearses were up against it early in the 2nd half when No. 11 weaved through on goal and drove past Darren Moran from the edge of the parallelogram. The goal stood despite pleas from the Pearses lads that the ball was handled 3 times. Pearses responded gallantly. 2 frees from Fahey after Conor Walsh & Padraic Kelly were fouled respectively & a beauty from play when he burned his man, hit the ball off the ground before firing over an inspirational score. Pearses were punished when Cusacks levelled from play after slack marking. Fahey converted another close range free after big Diarmuid was fouled but up the other end, sloppy defending led to a Cusacks point from play. 2-7 to 0-13 after Quarter 3 in a finely poised affair.
It was tit for tat for the opening minutes after the water break. The sides exchanged a point apiece. A free for Cusacks and Fahey from play after a long distance free from Jonah Donnellan was broken down by Diarmuid Ryan and the loose ball was fired over from Fahey for his 5th from play. 3 points from play in the next 6mins helped Cusacks pull away from the Pearses challenge. With a lot of pressure on Pearses in the closing stages, Cusacks seized the initiative when they bore down on goal and broke through for what was the elusive goal and widen the gap to 6 points and move them out of sight. Fahey brought it back to 5 from play despite 3 lads trying to curtail his movement. Cusacks finished stronger with 2 more points, 1 from play to finish the game Pearses 0-15; Ml Cusacks 3-13. It might have been a different story if David Walsh (sick) & Anthony Feeney (broken finger) were fit to play. We wish Anthony a speedy recovery after sustaining a broken finger in the previous weeks encounter with St. Thomas’.
Next round is away to neighbours Ahascragh Fohenagh on Monday next.
Scorers: Cillian Fahey 0-13 (7F); Diarmuid Ryan 0-1; Dara Scarry 0-1.
Panel: Darren Moran, Fionn Donohue, Harry Mitchell, James Queeney, Padraic Kelly, Jonah Donnellan, Dylan Roche, Cillian Fahey, Conor Hillary, Kyle McDonagh, Dara Scarry, Jack Kenny, Conor Walsh, Diarmuid Ryan, Sean Kelly, Keith Kitt, Eoghan Ryan, Ciárán Hogan