Pearses have X(tra) factor!

Kepak Roscommon SHC Final

Padraig Pearses 2-22 Athleague 1-18 (after extra-time)

Senior hurling titles have been few and far between for the Padraig Pearses club over the decades but they are slowly putting that right in the modern era. On Sunday they swept to a deserved win against Athleague in what was an excellent and drama-filled decider played in almost perfect weather conditions at Dr. Hyde Park.

That it took Shane Sweeney’s side two periods of extra-time to get over the line was a mystery as they were the better team for much of the match. They led by five points coming towards injury-time but Athleague stuck to their guns and never gave up. A fortunate goal – when Cormac Kelly’s long delivery flew in over the heads of backs and forwards – gave Padraig Mannion’s team hope. Then, as referee Matthew Kelly played almost 10 minutes of injury-time, converted frees from Eamon Flanagan and Ben McGahon brought Athleague level and the game into extra-time.

Pearses really put this victory to bed when the game resumed. Players like Shane Naughton and Cathal Kelly stepped up to the plate with superb displays to compliment the deadly accuracy of Daniel Glynn who once again made a huge contribution, claiming sixteen points. Two minutes into the second period, Oisin Kelly whipped in a vital goal at the second attempt after Leon Fehily had hit a post, and Pearses were on their way. Four minutes later young sub Darragh Finn crashed home a second goal and the Mickey Cunniffe Cup was on its way south.

Athleague were in control in the early stages of the opening half and the 200 spectators allowed in to see the game witnessed some marvellous striking from Daniel Glynn for Pearses and Ben McGahon for Athleague. Both were unerring from placed balls and one sideline cut from McGahon was skill of the very highest order.

In the 25th minute referee Farrell issued a red card to Pearses’ midfielder Luke Corbett after an incident with Niall Connolly. It looked a harsh decision but it fired up Pearses who went it at half-time leading by 0-9 to 0-8.

Pearses pulled away in the second period and looked to be coasting to victory when Athleague struck in those final closing minutes. During this period Pearses couldn’t get the goal they needed to ensure the win and that was down to some great goalkeeping from David Connell and superb defending from Alan Moore and Tom Bannon. In extra-time, Pearses made no mistake.

The official ‘Man of the Match’ award went to Daniel Glynn but I have plumped for Shane Naughton who was an inspirational presence all through, even when Pearses were under pressure. Glynn was magnificent too, as were Cathal Kelly, Eoghan Costello and Mike Donoghue.

For a gallant Athleague, David Connell, Alan Moore, Tom Bannon and the outstanding Ben McGahon could not be faulted on the day.

Note: Well done to referee Matthew Farrell who did very well. Just 22 years of age, he was refereeing his first senior final.

Padraig Pearses: Padraig Dolan; Ben Fallon, Paul Dolan, David Dolan; Eoghan Costello, Shane Naughton, Matthew Comerford; Luke Corbett, Karl Fehily; Michael Donoghue, Daniel Glynn (0-16, ten frees, one ’65), Oisin Kelly (1-0); Leon Fehily (0-2), Cathal Kelly (0-2), Adam Finnerty (0-1). Subs used: Patrick Grehan for Finnerty (60), Jimmy Donoghue (0-1) for Fallon (60), Darragh Finn (1-0) (e/t).

Athleague: David Connell; Tom Bannon, David Delaney, Pat Nolan; Naoise Coyle, Niall Connolly, Alan Moore (0-1); Stephen Kilcommons, Cormac Kelly (1-0); Eoghan Coyle, Gary Fallon, Cian Murray; Ben McGahon (0-13, 11 frees, 1 s/l, 1 ’65), Eamon Flanagan (0-4, 3 frees), David Flaherty. Subs used: Darragh Heavey for Kilcommons (36), Robbie Fallon (1-0) for Flaherty (44), Thomas Clayton for E Coyle (56), Eamon Bannon for Moore (70 mins), JP. Murray for Nolan (70 mins).

Referee: Matthew Farrell (Oran).