Pearses withstand Gaels

Roscommon SHC semi-final Padraig Pearses          2-10 Roscommon Gaels      3-6 The Play: There may only have been a point in this semi-final played in Athleague last Sunday but in truth it would have been an injustice to Pearses – who had dominated the game – if they had lost against a very disappointing Gaels side who only began to play in the second half when they were well behind.   The town team must be kicking themselves in the aftermath of this game as they didn’t start playing to their potential until so late on. The Gaels missed several scoreable frees throughout that would have kept them in touch if converted.    One must give all credit to Pearses however. They began well and won it in the end and can now sit back and watch Athleague and Oran battle it out for the right to play them in the 2007 SHC final.   Pearses were by far the better side in the first half. Shane Sweeney fired over a point in the first minute from a 40-metre free and five minutes later Tomas Seale scored the first goal of the game at the second attempt when the Gaels’ defence should have cleared. An Aidan Sweeney point a minute later left Pearses five points ahead. Keith Gately pointed two frees to put the Gaels on the  scoreboard but it was all Pearses at this stage.   Shane Sweeney scored three points in a row by the 22nd minute to leave it 1-5 to 0-2 and in the 27th minute there was further disaster for the Gaels when Aidan Sweeney’s long free from 70 metres flew all the way into the net past John Comiskey for another Pearses goal. Keitth Gately scored a ’65 and a free before the break for the Gaels but at half-time Pearses led comfortably by 2-5 to 0-4.   Whatever was said in the Gaels dressingroom at half-time certainly made a difference as the town team were much better on the re-start. Cian O’Brien and Liam Casey led the charge and in the 6th minute Casey crashed home a brilliant goal after being set up by Gerry Clogher and when Casey scored a great point from 50 metres two minutes later there was only three points in it.   However Pearses struck back. They got their  second wind and pulled away again. The Sweeneys – Shane (2), Aidan and Alan – all grabbed points to leave their side 2-9 to 1-5 ahead by the 23rd minute. Nonetheless the Gaels were playing much better now and Pearses couldn’t kill the game off as a contest.   Gary Waldron pointed from play in the 27th minute before Shane Sweeney pointed from a free in the 29th minute. But the Gaels were coming on strong now and they laid siege to the Pearses goal.   Gerry Clogher pulled first time through a forest of players in the 31st minute to reduce the margin to four and three minutes later and deep into injury-time Clogher was again on the end of a Gaels attack to score another opportunist goal and suddenly the gap was down to one point. However on the puck-out the game was over. Pearses had survived and the Gaels revival fell just short and John Donoghue and his team can now prepare for a county final clash with Athleague or Oran. Players who did well: Pearses had great battlers all through in David Loughnane, Aidan Sweeney, John Mulvihill, Anthony Sweeney and Shane Sweeney, while for the Gaels Cian O’Brien (all through), Kenny Doolin, Liam Casey and Gerry Clogher (all in the second half) were best. Man of the Match: Shane Sweeney, the  Padraig Pearses sharp-shooter, deserves the award because of his unerring accuracy from play and frees. Scoring forwards are a scarce commodity, and when there is one who is also an excellent free-taker, then it is a bonus. Wides: Padraig Pearses 8; Roscommon Gaels 12. Padraig Pearses: Padraig Dolan; David Dolan, David Loughnane, Sean Donoghue; Alan Loughnane, John Mulvihill, Christopher Sweeney; Robbie Donoghue, Aidan Sweeney (1-2); John Galvin, Michael Donoghue, Anthony Sweeney; Shane Sweeney (0-7), Alan Sweeney (0-1), Tomas Seale (1-0). Roscommon Gaels: John Comiskey; Kenny Doolan, David Clogher, Padraig Nolan; Fintan Doyle, Cian O’Brien, John Hynes; Shane Naughton, Gerard Clogher (2-0); Keith Gately (0-4), Liam Casey (1-1), David Waldron; Gary Waldron (0-1), Henry Flanagan, Paul Lennon. Sub: Padraig Conlon for Gately. Referee: Brendan McDermott.