U20B Championship, Round 1

Pádraig Pearses 2-17 Rahoon-Newcastle 2-17
Report by Martina Donnellan.

A share of the spoils was probably the fairest result in an enthralling 1st round U20B1 group game, during which momentum ebbed and flowed throughout in Tonabrocky yesterday evening. It finished 2-17 apiece as Pearses with just 15 men threw the kitchen sink and everything else from the kitchen into a ding dong battle with Rahoon – Newcastle particularly in the 2nd half. The hosts had 0-5 on the scoreboard on 7mins and looked well set on their way and it could easily have been more only for some super cool goalkeeping from Conor Moran. 

Diarmuid Fahey opened Pearses account after receiving an offload from Cian Murphy as Ronan Hynes did the donkey work to originate the move. Murphy then fired over the first of his 0-7 from frees to keep Pearses in touch. Pearses had a half goal scoring chance when Orin Burke’s ball down the line found Ethan Lally whose legs powered towards goal but he blasted wide. Rahoon- Newcastle quickly replied with a free and an effort from play to keep them in the driving seat. Moran made a super safe pulling the ball from under his crossbar and added the clearance. Midway through the half Cian Murphy scored the first of his 2 goals to claw Pearses back into it. An almighty leap from Orin Burke saw him fetch a puck out and his pass found Murf who had alot to do before hitting low and hard to the net. 1-2 to 0-8 on 15mins as the goal brought Pearses right back into contention. 

Then in a nicely worked move, Ethan Lally held up the ball well as he waited for support in the form of Diarmuid Fahey who steadied himself before firing over his 2nd from play. Pearses came more into it as Mark Hennelly led the defence sweeping up well and working hard as Niall Moran, Eoin Lally and Mark Donnellan were beginning to assert themselves. 

However, it was the hosts who responded emphatically with 0-4 on the trot; 0-3 from play sandwiched with a free from way out the field with not a puff of breeze behind him to leave it Pearses 1-3 Rahoon – Newcastle 0-12. Cormac Hillary quenched the barren spell with an effort from play while Ciano converted a free earned by Hennelly. Another super save from Moran as cool as you like, but the clearance fell to Rahoon who registered another point. Murphy unerring from placed balls, added his 3rd free before half time after Faheys nice overhead pass to Luke Mitchell found him running at pace towards goal before he drew the foul. Half time: Pearses 1-6; Rahoon – Newcastle 0-13. 

Whatever was said at half time, Pearses came storming back after the break and got stuck in from the gecko. Despite his best efforts, Ethan Lally failed to get a touch on a high lobbing ball from Mark Hennelly. Paddy Kenny was fouled a good distance out & Ciano landed the free. The hard working Luke Mitchell fired over from play with Orin Burke & Diarmuid Fahey helping out in the move. The resultant puck out was won by Orin who found Fahey and with time to steady himself again, he threw over his 3rd from play to put the slenderest margin between the sides. Then a super timely block from Niall McDonagh was vital as the hosts were about to shoot but their No.9 picked up the loose ball to extend their lead once again 1-9 to 0-14 five mins after the restart. 

Pearses came storming back though. A good run from Diarmuid Fahey down the line found Ciano who contributed his first point from play. Great work from Hennelly prevented a further score from the hosts and with Oisin Donohue finding Ciano first to a ball down the line, he rounded his man brilliantly and unleashed a fierce shot low and hard into the net to put Pearses in front by 2 for the first time 7mins into the 2nd half. Pearses 2-10 Rahoon -Newcastle 0-14. Murphy landed another free from under the dugout, virtually on the sideline. Rahoon/ Newcastle responded with a free from a similar position and Ciano fired over with a smashing trajectory of the ball. Then Mark Donnellan tapped down a breaking ball for Luke Mitchell to gather and running into a more scoreable position, he fired over his shoulder his 2nd point of the day as Pearses were well in command at this stage. 2-13 to 0-15. 

Straight up the other end, the city siders hit back with their first green flag as a low hard shot got past Moran with three white Pearses jerseys on the tail of the goal scorer. Conor Moran’s puck out found Fahey on the sideline and his 4th of the evening sailed over to put a 2 point cushion between them midway through the half. At this stage it was end to end, intense & enthralling. Rahoon emptied the bench with plenty of fresh legs while the Pearses dug out saw no sub to introduce as the 15 togged lads left every ounce they had on the field. Tiredness was starting to tell as Ciano was uncharacteristically wide with a free, which Ronan Hynes battled hard to win. Following a long stoppage, Paddy Kenny flicked the ball to Luke who fed the versatile Orin Burke and he showed that Pearses were in no mood to roll over as he struck a beauty over the black spot from midfield to put 3 points in it once again. 

The last 6mins were storming. Rahoon/ Newcastle were right back in it as a sideline cut from No. 14 was cut Fintan Burke style into the top corner of Conor Morans net. 2-15 apiece. Both teams traded frees. Niall Mac won Pearses free which Ciano duly converted. Winning the puck out was vital & it was the city side who did, worked the ball up the field and fired over from play to nudge them ahead – a 1point ball game in the dying stages. As the clock ticked down Luke Mitchell was fouled and Ciano stepped up to take the resultant free and with all eyes on him, he made no mistake as he split the posts in stoppage time. In the end, a draw was probably the fairest outcome of what proved to be a compelling wrestle. Final score: Pearses 2-17; Rahoon -Newcastle 2-17. Well done to both teams.

Scorers: Cian Murphy 2-9 ( 0-7f); Diarmuid Fahey 0-4; Luke Mitchell 0-2; Cormac Hillary 0-1; Orin Burke 0-1. 

Panel: Conor Moran, Niall Moran, Eoin Lally, Mark Donnellan, Ronan Hynes, Mark Hennelly, Paddy Kenny, Luke Mitchell, Orin Burke, Oisin Donohue, Niall McDonagh, Diarmuid Fahey, Cian Murphy, Ethan Lally, Cormac Hillary.