U15B Shield Winners 2024

Pearses U15’s came out on top of this exciting and hard-fought U15B Shield Final, played in Kenny Park, Athenry played earlier this evening in near Winter-like temperatures for early July. It was Ballinderreen who got up and running with an early point, but by the 9th minute Pearses were 0-4 to 0-2 ahead; a lead they never relinquished.

Pearses early scores came through the versatile Sean Kelly with a free and 0-2 from play and Tadhg Hart who always looked a threat when he got on the ball.  Hart scored his 2nd from play on 10mins after a super run from midfield from James Feeney who found Hart lurking on his right shoulder & he found the target with ultimate ease. Sean Kelly converted his 2nd free which Riain Donohue worked hard to earn & Ballinderreen responded with 0-2 from frees to make it 0-6 to 0-4 midway through the first half.

At this point Stephen Murphy hobbled off through injury & young David Barrett was introduced to full forward. James Somers fired wide from a tight angle after doing much of the donkey work himself. Then Pearses received a let off when Sean Kelly’s free hit the upright & in the ensuing play, the ball was worked quickly down the field, Tommy Nutley had to be alert to tip the Ballinderreen man’s effort over the crossbar.    The hard working Oisin McDonagh & Tadhg Hart combined for a great block down & Pearses ace player Kelly picked up the spilled ball to fire over his 3rd from play to put Pearses 0-2 in charge.

Hart earned another free, fired over by Kelly. Then Pearses had a great chance to build on their lead following a super combined effort from Harry Tierney, John Parker & Oisin McDonagh which culminated in a Tadhg Hart goal effort easily saved by a powerful Ballinderreen keeper. Assisted by the breeze, Liam Bailey put over a 65’ for the boys in green but Pearses had the final say in the first half scoring when hard working Harry Tierney delivered a 50/50 ball into the danger area & David Barrett won the tussle with his opponent before picking off a neat point to leave Pearses 0-3 ahead at the break. Pearses 0-9 – Ballinderreen 0-6. 

With the breeze behind them at the restart, Pearses got on the scoreboard within seconds through a James Somers point when he latched onto a loose ball following a good save to deny Riain Donohue’s goal bound effort. A Ballinderreen 65’ then dropped short which saw Jack Kenny leap highest to make a clean fetch in the air; his clearance fell to a Ballinderreen player who narrowed the gap again to 0-3. But then Pearses kick started their drive. Another fine fetch in the air, this time by Harry Tierney & with his sudden burst of pace, he drilled his effort low & hard which was deflected out for a 65’, duly converted by Sean Kelly.

From here on, Pearses had the upper hand all over the field. With Robbie Lydon, Eoghan Ryan & Mark Kilkenny keeping Balinderreen’s forwards at bay, they were struggling to find the target. Harry Tierney fired over from a difficult angle following a great burst of speed through the heart of Ballinderren’s defence & Hart fired over his 3rd from play after some tenacious combined battling from John Parker & James Feeney. Kelly was keeping the umpires busy when he raised another white flag from a free following a great sideline cut from Luke Mitchell.

Ahead by double scores; 0-14 to 0-7 at this stage, 10 mins into the 2nd half, Pearses hit Ballinderreen for 1-6 to a solitary goal for the remainder of the game. That game-deciding burst was enough to see the game out as the lads comfortably enjoyed their hurling. Sean Kelly scored his 4th free &  Tadhg Hart added 0-2 on the bounce, the pick of them saw him fed by Sean Kelly, and showing a blistering turn of pace to take him away from all nearby green shirts, his finish even bettered his searing burst. Darragh Anderson & Dermot Parker were introduced as double substitutes as Pearses maintained the pressure.

A free in for Ballinderreen just outside the 21’ line saw Tommy Nutley pull off a super save winning a free out for his troubles; the free duly fell nicely for James Somers who tapped over his 2nd of the evening to give Pearses an 0-11 point cushion. With 6mins to play, Ballinderreen were awarded a penalty for a foul on an inrushing player & while Tommy Nutley made the save, the rebound was whipped on the ground & into the net to close the gap to 0-8. Eoin Hillary & Jack Barrett were another double substitution at this point.

Pearses response to the green flag was to immediately get one of their own and with Hillary just on the pitch, he made a brave blockdown which culminated in the Pearses goal. The loose ball was gathered by Kelly, took a shot at goal which drew a super diving save from the keeper & Darragh Anderson ghosted in at the far post  to finish the sliothar to the net & make it an 0-11 point swing once more. Pearses emptied the bench with Finian Walsh, Gearoid Griffin & Jack Mannion seeing some game time. Immediately from the puck out John Parker combined with the younger brother for Dermot to fire over & Hart finished off a great evenings work for Pearses with his 6th from play when it could easily have dipped under the crossbar. 

This was a great result for Pearses who were without the experienced figure of Alan Burke.  Equally pertinent was that it was the first county title for an underage team since 2021.  Joint captains Jack Kenny & Harry Tierney accepted the shield on behalf of their team mates. In his speech Harry thanked the match officials, the parents for their support all year, the full squad of players and their mentors: Niall Barrett, Dermot Lydon, Colm Mitchell, Aidan Kilkenny, Jack Barrett, Oisin Flannery and Mark Hennelly. The lively Harry Tierney caused trouble all through, which was enough to see him earn the Man of the Match award, presented by Co. Board representative Peter Kelly after the game. 

Scorers: Sean Kelly 0-9 (0-5F, 65’); Tadhg Hart 0-6; Darragh Anderson 1-0; James Somers 0-2; David Barrett 0-1; Dermot Parker 0-1; Harry Tierney 0-1. 

Panel: Tommy Nutley, Robbie Lydon, Eoghan Ryan, Mark Kilkenny, Luke Mitchell, Jack Kenny, John Parker, Harry Tierney, James Feeney, James Somers, Sean Kelly, Oisin McDonagh, Riain Donohue, Tadhg Hart, Stephen Murphy, David Barrett, Dermot Parker, Darragh Anderson, Eoin Hillary, Jack Barrett, Finian Walsh, Jack Mannion, Gearoid Griffin.