Mullagh/Kiltormer 2-15 Pearses 2-11: Report by Martina Donnellan. In the third match of the U16 County Final hurling rivalry between Mullagh/Kiltormer and Pearses, it was a story of agony and ecstasy. Agony for the Pearses outfit and pure ecstasy for the Mullagh/Kiltomer lads. It took 200mins of hurling to separate both Pearses and Mullagh/Kiltormer in the U16 B1 hurling Final as Mullagh/ Kiltormer edged out Pearses in the last 10mins to win by 4 points. In fairness, no one deserved to lose and it wasn’t until the 51st minute when Mullagh/Kiltormer went ahead for the first time last night under lights in Killimor.
The result looked sealed with Pearses well in charge by half time as Luke Mitchell’s goal in first half stoppage time made it 2-8 to 1-6 at half time but Mullagh/Kiltormer came storming back to make a real fight of it in the 2nd half, particularly in the last 10mins. Luke Mitchell got Pearses off the mark with a trademark point within seconds of the throw-in and with 1:34 on the clock Cian Murphy had spilt the posts from play after Ethan Lally dispossessed his player and Ciano latched onto the loose ball. Dean Finnerty converted a free while Ethan Lally pointed after good work from Oisin Donohue and Paddy Kenny respectively. Finnerty converted another placed ball after a frontal charge by Brian Kelly on Callum Finnerty. Then Ciano landed a whopper of a sideline cut, Canning-like, from out near Ballymac to leave Pearses ahead 0-4 to 0-2 midway through the first half.
Pearses looked to be well in charge as Finnerty’s free was caught by Orin Burke playing in the unusual full back position, his clearance found Ciano who landed a whopper from midfield. Conor Dolphin had the legs on Oisin Donohue to fire over from out near the stand while Ciano converted his first free after the industrious Luke Mitchell was fouled. Mullagh/Kiltormer got 2 back after Cialan Tully fed Dolphin who pointed with ease and Dean Finnerty fired over his first from play to leave the minimum between the sides. The rest of the half belonged to the lads in black. Darragh Roche’s superb work won him a 65’ which Cian Murphy converted and Conor Kelly pointed from a good distance out after good work from Oisin Donohue and Darragh Roche across the field. Then came the first goal in a three goal feast before the break as Cian Murphy’s long clearance found Luke Mitchell in the corner and he threw across to Darragh Roche and BANG – the back of the net.
The joy was short lived though as Mullagh/Kiltormer responded immediately as Callum Kennedy fed Dolphin who fired past Harry Mitchell with 29mins on the clock. There was still time for another green flag before half time as Darragh Roche again was instrumental in the move and given Luke Mitchell was the last Pearses lad to get a touch on the ball, it was half stopped by Fionn Coen who fumbled the ball and it deflected off himself and into the net. It didn’t matter once the green flag was raised as Luke Mitchell gets the credit as the goalscorer to leave 5 points between the sides. Half time: Pearses 2-8; Mullagh/ Kiltormer 1-6.
Straight from the restart Luke Mitchell’s pointed effort went wide while the resultant puck out fell to Ciano who was floored and the loose ball was picked up by his marker Oisin Coen who pointed a whopper from a good distance. Darragh Roche responded with a lovely point after a good run down the stand side of the field. The match reached a climax as Pearses defence failed to clear and Dean Finnerty scored an explosive goal from a long distance out to fire them back into contention on 35mins. Conor Kelly scored his 2nd from play after Niall McDonagh passed to Ethan Lally who scooped the ball up nicely for Kelly to fire over and put 3points between them once again. Then Mullagh/Kiltormer enjoyed a purple patch as Dean Finnerty, Callum Kennedy and Finnerty again from play drew the game at 2-10 apiece on 50mins.
Oisin Coen’s 65’ put Mullagh/Kiltormer ahead for the first time on 51mins. Finnerty made no mistake with 2 frees to nudge Mullagh/Kiltormer 3 points ahead before Ciano clawed one back from a free after Orin Burke was dragged down. Cialan Tully from play and a Finnerty free towards the end was the insurance score for Mullagh/Kiltormer in this ding dong battle. Darragh Roche had a chance right at the death but was dispossessed after he found an opening in Mullagh/Kiltormer’s defence. In the end, time ran out as Pearses had tried their best, but just came up a tad bit short in the last 10mins. Final score: Pearses 2-11; Mullagh/Kiltormer 2-15.
In truth the three instalments between these 2 teams almost moved mountains. The Pearses historians will tell you how many County Finals involving Pearses at any level went to three instalments. I’d imagine there weren’t too many. This was like one of the soaps one didn’t want to miss. It attracted a massive crowd who were served up another feast of economical hurling – very few wides, massive sideline cuts from both teams, great block-downs, monster scores, plenty of timber and hunger and fight. It was just a pity there had to be a loser and it was a bigger pity that loser was Pearses. It was a lovely and fitting tribute as the Mullagh/ Kiltormer lads lined both sides of the exit to commend the Pearses lads as they left the field of play; they knew they had hard earned this one.
Well done to these Pearses lads for the commitment shown over a long season and the sacrifices made. There might be no silverware but it was just a pleasure to watch ye. Massive thanks to manager Tony Walsh for his lovely manner in dealing with these lads and to the management team of Eddie Mitchell, Declan Lawless, even if he was put outside the wire! and to Niall Skehill for their full scale commitment to this team. Thanks also to physio Alan Kelly who always makes himself available to give a helping hand.
Scorers: Cian Murphy 0-6 (2F; 65’; S); Luke Mitchell 1-1; Darragh Roche 1-1; Conor Kelly 0-2; Ethan Lally 0-1.
Panel: Harry Mitchell, Robert Hynes, Orin Burke, Niall McDonagh, Mark Donnellan, Brian Kelly, Oisin Donohue, Jack Reilly, Luke Mitchell, Ethan Lally, Cian Murphy, David Hillary, Darragh Roche, Conor Kelly, Paddy Kenny, Robert Fahy, Conor Moran, Eanna Cunniffe, Peter O’Neill, Oliver Laheen, Ronan Hynes, Anthony Feeney.