Pearses prevail

Hodson Bay Hotel Roscommon SFC semi-final

Padraig Pearses 1-11 Clann na nGael 1-10


Seamus Duke


A point from Lorcan Daly in the 5th minute of stoppage time saw defending champions Padraig Pearses edge past neighbours and rivals Clann na nGael after a thrilling semi-final played at Dr. Hyde Park last Sunday.

Clann will look back on a number of missed opportunities to win the match which they had late on, but you have to hand it to Pearses who never lost their composure despite having fallen two points behind inside the final ten minutes. Pat Flanagan’s men kicked the last three points without reply to get back into another decider.

With a national TV audience watching on, this was a great advertisement for Roscommon club football. Pearses made the better start and led by 0-4 to 0-1 after just 14 minutes with Ronan Daly outstanding for the champions at centre half-back.

Indeed Pearses could have been further ahead were it not for a brilliant save by Ronan O’Reilly to deny Conor Payne in the 23rd minute.

Clann got back into it in the second quarter and with Fergal Lennon, Ultan Harney and Cathal Callinan playing well, they were level (0-6 each) by half-time. Clann had their own goal chance in the 30th minute but Fergal Lennon’s goal-bound shot was parried by Paul Whelan.

Goals were always going to be precious in a game like this and Pearses scored a vital three-pointer in the 33rd minute. Ronan Daly made another storming run and his cross was fisted to the Clann net by Emmett Kelly. When Niall Carty and Kelly followed up with points, Pearses were five points ahead by the 36th minute.

Clann re-jigged their side, brought on Donie Shine, and then took over for a period, scoring 1-4 without reply. Ciaran Lennon pointed two frees and Donie Shine pointed another after a brilliant catch for a mark. In the 51st minute Cathal Callinan crossed from the right-hand touchline and ‘super sub’ Shine rose highest to fist to the Pearses net.

Indeed Clann could have pulled further away in the 54th minute but Callinan’s shot was well saved by Paul Whelan, and in the follow-up play Ciaran Lennon hit a post, and eventually Shine pointed and Clann were now two points ahead.

As the tension mounted it was Pearses who held their nerve best. The outstanding Ronan Daly pointed for the champions in the 57th minute and then in injury-time sub Sean Ryan took a great mark under pressure and pointed to level the scores.

Clann wasted possession at least three times in the final minutes. It was to prove costly for the Johnstown men. It was Lorcan Daly who eventually won it for Pearses in the 5th minute of injury-time when the ball broke to him beyond midfield and he soloed through to point from 25 metres.

On the kick-out referee Marty Parker blew the final whistle. Pearses had nicked it and their grip on the Fahey Cup is still intact. Clann will spend the winter wondering how they let this one slip. It was a tremendous contest for the neutrals watching.

Pearses’ meeting with St. Brigid’s in the final will be eagerly awaited as it will be a clash of styles, with the more experienced Pearses putting their title on the line against the young guns of St. Brigid’s. It promises to be a great decider in this, the strangest of summers.

Note: The game was well refereed by Marty Parker.

Padraig Pearses: Paul Whelan; Shane Carty, Anthony Butler, Shane Mulvey; Gavin Downey, Ronan Daly (0-2), David Murray; Niall Daly, Conor Daly; Lorcan Daly (0-2), Niall Carty (0-2), Paul Carey (0-1 free); Emmett Kelly (1-1), Hubert Darcy (0-1 free), Conor Payne (0-1). Subs: Charlie Nevin for Carty (50), Sean Ryan (0-1, mark) for Kelly (55), Seanie Fahy for Payne (59).

Clann na nGael: Ronan O’Reilly; Shane Pettit, David Flynn, Stephen Flynn; Fergal Lennon, Ultan Harney, Emmett Kenny; Cathal Shine, Dylan Sumner; Paul McManus, Cathal Callinan (0-1), Cian McManus (0-1); Conor Farrell, Jamie Fahy, Ciaran Lennon (0-4, frees). Subs: Fergus Lennon for P McManus (25), Donie Shine (1-2) for Farrell.

Referee: Marty Parker (St. Faithleach’s).