U16s Bow out in Semi-Final

Moycullen 3-12 Pearses 2-8
Report by Martina Donnellan.

Monday evening saw the club’s U16 hurlers travel to Moycullen to play the hosts in the U16B1 Cup semi-final. There was very little between the sides in the opening exchanges with both sides exchanging early frees; Orin Burke for Pearses after Paddy Kenny, Niall McDonagh, Burke & Darragh Roche all played their part in the move. Moycullen hit the woodwork before that and the vigilant defence of Ronan Hynes & Cormac Hillary lorded by Oisin Donohue cleared the danger.

A few wasted opportunities by both sides saw Moycullen’s centre back put wide as he was under extreme pressure from Paddy Kenny while Conor Kelly was wide from play after a lovely Pearses build-up. Following a long stoppage due to an injury to Darragh Roche, who was causing havoc up to that point; Moycullen’s No. 11 pointed on the resumption. Almost straight from the puck out, they goaled immediately as their big No. 12 ran through the heart of Pearses defence and walloped the bouncing ball off the ground and shook Harry Mitchell’s net. Pearses scored the next 2 points as Orin Burke easily rounded his man & Cilly Fahey fed Ollie Laheen who fired over to cut the deficit to 2 points: Pearses 0-3; Moycullen 1-2. Darragh Roche got on the end of the resultant puck out but again the opportunity was missed.

Moycullen pressed again and were rewarded with 2 more points from play by their dominant No. 14 & No. 6 who went on a weaving run before he fired over with Niall Mac staying on his tail. Paddy Kenny failed to convert from play although Pearses were beginning to exert some dominance when Niall McDonagh moved to full forward and Orin Burke moved out the field. Just as Pearses were coming to grips with the game, Moycullen dealt another sucker blow as they drilled an unstoppable shot past Harry in similar style to their first and the game started slipping away from Pearses grasp.

However the Pearses lads kept plugging and Orin found the target with a free after the hard working Cilly Fahey was fouled and Ollie Laheen found Darragh Roche who pointed from the right flank. Right on the stroke of half time, Moycullen converted a free to leave Pearses trailing by 2 goals at the break. Pearses 0-5; Moycullen 2-5.

Within a minute of the restart, Moycullen delivered 2 more points from play from their towering No. 11 & No. 6 respectively. Jack Reilly responded with a Pearses point when Anthony Feeney won the ball in the ruck and Cillian Fahey was available to help out. Conor Moran offered a lifeline when he got on the end of Orin Burke’s free to batt to the net and claw the lead back to 4 points: 2-7 to 1-6. That goal seemed to reignite a spark but Paddy Kenny put wide from a long distance out as Pearses again started to exert some dominance. Another free from midfield pushed Moycullen’s lead to 0-5. Then Pearses received a let-off as a Moycullen goal was disallowed following consultation with the vigilant umpire Ollie Kenny who brought the square ball to the ref’s attention which brought a momentary sigh of relief. Then came the killer, heartbreaker of a goal which was almost a carbon copy of his first by Moycullen’s No. 12 but was even more damaging as it turned a deficit of 5 points into an 8 point gap. Once again, he weaved through Pearses defence and left Harry Mitchell with no chance.

They immediately added another from play to put the game beyond Pearses’ reach just before the 2nd half water break.A lot of encouragement was given at the water break & Pearses kept fighting when they re-took to the pitch. Orin Burke was taken down as he throttled through, took the close in free himself which was saved and as Darragh Roche pulled on the rebound he put agonisingly wide. A combination of Diarmuid Ryan & Darragh Roche combined to block down a Moycullen clearance and the ball spilled to Niall McDonagh who fired over a good effort. Niall Mc added another soon after but had to work hard for it. Moycullen responded with another point before Conor Moran renewed hope when he scored his 2nd goal, a rasper after Orin Burke did a lot of the donkey work and Diarmuid Ryan kicked the ball across to Moran who had enough space to shoot & suddenly there were just 5 points in it. However, Moycullen finished strong easing away from their gallant opponents with 2 more frees late on to close out the game on a scoreline: Pearses 2-8; Moycullen 3-12.

It was a hard fought, physical match and although Pearses tried hard for the whole duration they were unable to get on top of a very strong Moycullen team who were particularly strong down the spine with leaders stepping up in every line to drive them to victory. Pearses hit a lot of wides especially in the first half, but they will learn from that as they continue to develop as a group with plenty of potential. They are a battling bunch and fought right to the end and had a few chances to get closer, but it was just one of those days when the luck they needed didn’t materialise. That said, everyone wore their hearts on their sleeves and a gallant display it was.

Scorers: Conor Moran 2-0; Orin Burke 0-3 (0-2f); Niall McDonagh 0-2; Darragh Roche 0-1; Ollie Laheen 0-1; Jack Reilly 0-1. Pearses Panel: Harry Mitchell, Cormac Hillary, Oisin Donohue, Ronan Hynes, Anthony Feeney, Paddy Kenny, Conor Moran, Mark Donnellan, Conor Kelly, Jack Reilly, Orin Burke, Ollie Laheen, Eanna Cunniffe, Niall McDonagh, Darragh Roche, Cilly Fahey, Diarmuid Ryan, Dara Scarry, Dillon Roche, Conor Hillary.