U20B1 Hurling Semi-Final

Portumna 2-14; Pearses 0-13
Report by Martina Donnellan

A tough physical game was on the cards and that’s what Pearses & Portumna produced in the U20B1 semi final but unfortunately Pearses came out the wrong side of the result in Portumna on Wednesday evening. The hits were huge from both sides from the first minute and one needed to be a hard nut to endure it. 

Luke Mitchell got Pearses up and running with an early point within 30 seconds but Portumna’s No. 10 responded with one down the other end. By the 5th minute Pearses had built up a 0-5 to 0-1 lead. Cian Murphy made light work of 2 frees after Jack Reilly & Luke Mitchell respectively were fouled while the resultant puck out was fetched by Orin Burke who found ace marksman Mitchell and he pointed his 2nd from play within 4mins. Mitchell who was causing fierce havoc was fouled again and Murf tapped over the free to make it 0-5 to 0-1 on 5mins. 

Portumna responded through No. 8 and although the point looked to be tailing wide, the umpire immediately raised the white flag. Luke Mitchell immediately got stuck in though and earned a free which Ciano dispatched from the embankment sideline. Paddy Kenny’s clean fetch of the resultant puck out was played to Diarmuid Fahey who in turn found Ethan Lally and his quick pace drew the foul and Murf pointed the resultant free from the opposite sideline on 10mins as Pearses were well in charge 0-7 to 0-2. Portumna followed with 0-2 from frees from their lively No.10 but Ethan Lally then set up Paddy Kenny who controlled the ball nicely before firing over the black spot. Both teams were wasteful at 0-8 to 0-5 but then the score came that settled Portumna when a high lobbing ball unsettled Conor Moran in goals & the back pedalling Darragh McCabe as the ball found its way to the net. The goal stood after the ref consulted his umpires as Portumna laid down a marker. Draw match 1-5 to 0-8 on 23mins.

No. 10 then increased Portumna’s lead with another free & 0-2 from play from way out the field. A further goal looked ominous before half time but Conor Moran went down well to make the save as the ball trickled wide in the ensuing play. Pearses cause was not helped before the break when Cian Murphy was injured in a block down and was sidelined as a result of a bang to the face. His absence was to prove a real burden in the 2nd half. Half time: Pearses 0-8; Portumna 1-8.

Niall McDonagh was introduced to the full forward position at the start of the 2nd half for the injured Cian Murphy. There was a quick start to the half when Pearses pointed after a quickly taken Mitchell sideline involved Diarmuid Fahey and was finished by Oisin Donohue. This was quickly cancelled up the opposite end when No. 10 pointed again from play. Scores were at a premium for the next while until Pearses clawed back the lead. A quickly taken Mark Hennelly free to Diarmuid Fahey was worked down the line to Ethan Lally who cut in across the square before firing over. The lead was cut to the minimum after it took 3 yellow shirts to drag down Luke Mitchell and with the reliable free taker off the pitch, Luke himself tapped over the free to make it 1-9 to Pearses 0-11 12mins into the 2nd half. 

Portumna’s No.10 converted two successive frees to widen the gap. Luke kept Pearses in touch as he struck over a gutsy 65’ and then pointed from play after a super passage of play from Paddy Kenny at the back involving Ethan Lally, Diarmuid Fahey & finished by Mitchell. The pace and intensity of the battle never relented as Pearses did their best to close the gap by the mid point stage of the 2nd half. Pearses 0-13; Portumna 1-11.

Portumna finally got the upper hand with a goal from their full forward with 12mins to play to give them a 4-point cushion once more. They dominated thereafter and never looked back after two converted frees from their No. 10 extended their lead as the game heated and tension spilled over. Despite relentless pressure from Pearses they could not bridge the gap any closer as Luke Mitchell went low and hard with a close range free on the half hour mark in a bid to close the gap but his effort was well stopped by the goalie and the defence cleared their line. Portumna’s No. 10 closed out the game late on with another free to earn their place in the U20B1 final on a scoreline : Portumna 2-14; Pearses 0-13.

It was a tough battle and hard to believe for those in attendance that Pearses lost this game and more so that they lost by 5 points.

Scorers: Luke Mitchell 0-5 (0-1F, 65’); Cian Murphy 0-5F; Oisin Donohue 0-1; Paddy Kenny 0-1; Ethan Lally 0-1.

Panel: Conor Moran, Brian Kelly, Darragh McCabe, Conor Kelly, Jack Reilly, Mark Hennelly, Niall Moran, Paddy Kenny, Orin Burke, Ronan Hynes, Oisin Donohue, Diarmuid Fahey, Luke Mitchell, Ethan Lally, Cian Murphy, Niall McDonagh, Mark Donnellan, David Hillary, Cormac Hillary.