Pearses U15’s bowed out of the B1 hurling championship at the semi-final stage to a superior Abbeyknockmoy outfit yesterday evening. Pearses were starved of players through injury with Conor Kelly and Daragh Roche unable to tog and Paddy Kenny, unable to start through illness while Cilly Fahey also carried a niggling injury. This was no excuse though as the difference between the teams was swift and stark: The Abbey boys hit the ground running, scoring 3 goals within 18 minutes, although it was the Pearses lads who were first on the scoreboard with a good point from play from 50 yards from Niall McDonagh who took a hefty shoulder before he let fly.
Niall Mannion, son of legendary footballer Tomas Mannion had a good goal chance for Abbeyknockmoy but his effort went straight across the face of the goal. On 5mins though, Mannion made amends as he gathered Kevin Maher’s clearance from defence and fed Shane Forde who opened their account with a whopper of a goal. By the 8th minute Forde added his 2nd goal – a belter against the breeze.
Pearses squandered four good point chances as Conor Moran, Paddy Kenny following his introduction and Jack Reilly were all off target. Niall Mannion scored Abbey’s 3rd goal, a low hard effort which Harry got his hurl to but the power of the shot carried it well over the line on the 18th minute. Conor Moran converted a free after Ollie Laheen was fouled on a probing run. Harry Mitchell made a smashing save for Pearses to turn the ball around the post while Oisin Donohue tapped the resultant 65’ away from danger but the loose ball fell to Abbey’s unmarked corner forward who scored their first point from play on 21mins. Niall Mannion struck with another goal as he got ahead of his man in a 50/50 ball, turned and ran towards the left corner finishing aplomb into the bottom right corner of the net.
An uphill battle for the Pearses lads against a devastating Abbeyknockmoy team as Pearses found themselves well adrift 4-1 to 0-2 on 23mins. Conor Moran was off target with a 65’ and Niall McDonagh from play. Scoring mojo Niall Mannion added to his tally with a good point from play after he gathered a long clearance from the back. ?Paddy Kenny then pointed from play before Niall McDonagh offered a mini resurrection with a deftly finished goal after Cormac Hillary, Orin Burke, Cilly Fahey and Oliver Laheen were involved in the move. Both sides traded frees just before the break with Conor Moran converting for Pearses after Orin Burke was fouled. Half time: Pearses 1-4; Abbeyknockmoy 4-3.
Immediately after the restart Moran added another free after the Abbey defender picked the ball off the ground. Abbeyknockmoy responded with Shane Forde from play from the left flank. Conor Moran goaled to offer Pearses some slender hope when he left three players in his wake and finished low and hard under the goalie’s body. Kevin Maher pointed from play for the hosts to bring the score to: Pearses 2-5; Abbeyknockmoy 4-5. ??Oliver Laheen pointed from play on the right flank after Orin andamp;amp; Paddy were instrumental in play. A great block-down from Anthony Feeney put Maher off as he was well wide with his pointed effort on his 2nd attempt. Orin converted a 65’ and suddenly the 8point half time deficit was clawed back to 4 points.
Harry Mitchell made a smashing save from Niall Mannion from 21yards to concede a 65’ which they put wide at a critical time. Momentarily, one had the feeling Pearses might stage one of the best comebacks of all time but it was false hope for the Pearses faithfuls as that was as near as they would get. Niall Mannion added another goal which finished the game as a contest midway through the 2nd half as Oisin Donohue received a yellow card in the process. Orin Burke drew a good save from a close range free and as the rebound fell to him, he manoeuvred his way nearer to goal and in a crowded area still managed to get his shot in which was saved again.
Harry Mitchell made another good save to deny Mannion yet another goal as he got his body nicely behind the ball to push it out for a 65’. The resultant 65’ evaded backs and forwards and bounced all the way to the net to ensure no way back for the hard working Pearses lads and somewhat just sucked the life out of them. Shane Forde tapped over a free for Abbey to bring their tally to 6-6 to Pearses 2-7. Conor Moran pointed as he shook off three defenders as Dara Scarry and Dylan Roche were introduced andamp;amp; Eanna Cunniffe was re-introduced. The Abbey lads scored a deadly 7th goal as Harry made an initial smashing save, the rebound hit the crossbar twice before they finished with a ground stroke which found the net. Kevin Maher pointed from play for Abbey while Niall McDonagh who opened the evening’s scoring also closed it with a splendid point off his hurl after a run almost the full length of the field.
There was no doubt but Pearses were well outshone in this one but in truth injuries andamp;amp; illness didn’t help matters. It might be the end of the hurling season for Niall Skehill and his U15 charges but there’s an U16 semi-final awaited for the older half of this team and an U13 semi-final this Thursday against Kilconieron awaited for the younger half!. Final score: Pearses 2-9; Abbeyknockmoy 7-7 as we wish Abbeyknockmoy all the best in the final.??
Scorers: Conor Moran 1-4 (0-3f); Niall McDonagh 1-2; Orin Burke 0-1 (65’); Paddy Kenny 0-1; Oliver Laheen 0-1. Panel: Harry Mitchell, Jonah Donnellan, Oisin Donohue, Cormac Hillary, Mark Donnellan, Orin Burke, Peter O’Neill, Jack Reilly, Anthony Feeney, Cillian Fahey, Niall McDonagh, Ronan Hynes, Conor Moran, Oliver Laheen, Eanna Cunniffe, Paddy Kenny, Dara Scarry, Dylan Roche.