AIB Connacht Club SFC Quarter-Final
Pádraig Pearses 3-7
When the highlights reel for 2019 is shown it’s doubtful if this clash will feature, but that won’t bother Pádraig Pearses as they have negotiated what looked like a tricky assignment against Tourlestrane at Markievicz Park with considerable ease. Now they can prepare for a Connacht club semi-final against Tir Conaill Gaels in London on Sunday next with confidence after this morale-boosting victory.
On local radio after the game the Tourlestrane joint manager Eamon O’Hara blasted the performance of referee Jerome Henry and accused him of costing his side the game.
However while a couple of decisions, including a controversial 38th minute penalty, went the way of the Roscommon side, a distinct lack of ambition cost Tourlestrane dearly.
Pádraig Pearses manager Pat Flanagan agreed that the penalty award was a turning point but said there was more to come from his charges.
“This is all a learning phase for us. I said it to our lads before we went out that we wanted to back up our county final win and there is an awful lot more in this team if they push themselves. What happened three weeks ago is history and it’s all about making new history now.
“We have only a week to prepare for the semi-final. We are flying out on Saturday so it’s only a five-day preparation. We will take nothing for granted over in London. They won the championship there last year too and they gave Clann na nGael a hard game in the championship (last year) so we know what we are facing into,” he said.
Niall Daly was once again a colossus last Sunday. Paul Carey was magnificent too and showed his class in the second half in particular. Shane Carty, Mark Richardson, Davy Murray and Niall Carty were also very prominent as Pearses turned the screw in that second period.
The first half was as poor a thirty minutes of football that this reporter has seen in many a long day however. It was a stalemate as both teams kept 15 players behind the ball and scoring chances were few and far between. Tourlestrane had marginally the better of the exchanges early on and they kicked two long-range points in the opening ten minutes from Cathal Henry and Adrian McIntyre.
If they had converted an excellent goal chance in the seventh minute when James Leonard’s shot crashed off the underside of the crossbar it might have been a different story but Pearses regrouped after that.
Pearses’ first score was a goal after eleven minutes. It was crafted between Davy Murray and Niall Carty before Carty blasted home. Paul Carey was next to score, with a pointed free in the 17th minute. Three minutes later Conor Daly was shown a black card by referee Henry after a hand trip. But in the 24th minute Pearses were three ahead after another pointed free from Carey after a foul on Murray.
The only other score of a truly forgettable half was from the boot of Tourlestrane’s Liam Gaughan who pointed a 40-metre free in the 28th minute. The score at half-time was Pearses 1-2 Tourlestrane 0-3.
It looked like the second half was going to follow the same pattern as the first until the 38th minute when Pearses were awarded a penalty out of the blue. Tom Butler (on as a sub for Conor Daly) seemed to have a lash at the ball in the large square. Referee Jerome Henry adjudged that there was a Tourlestrane foot-block and it was a spot-kick. The Sligo players were furious but Hubert Darcy made no mistake and Tourlestrane were now in trouble. They were six points down four minutes later when Darcy pointed a free.
The Sligo side were given hope in the 43rd minute when referee Henry sent off Lorcan Daly for a second yellow card offence. Over the next seven minutes Tourlestrane enjoyed their best spell, scoring three points without reply from Cathal Henry (2) and James Leonard to narrow the gap to three with ten minutes left.
But Pearses always looked dangerous and young Paul Carey assumed centre stage over the next twelve minutes of play. He kicked two mighty points from play in the 51st and 54th minutes respectively and with two minutes left he converted a free from 30 metres before adding another free just on full-time.
Then, a minute into injury-time, Carey won the ball 25 metres out, evaded the attentions of defenders and goalkeeper and poked the ball home for a superb individual goal. It put the icing on the cake and sealed a ten-point win for Pat Flanagan’s men.
The Roscommon champions now face a trip to London to face Tir Chonaill Gaels this Sunday and Ronan Daly knows Pearses face a stern test.
“The big challenge for us was could we back up our county championship win and we have done that. It’s only one step along the way; we have a really big semi-final in London and we will be taking nothing for granted. We will go from here now and prepare as best we can,” he told People Sport last Sunday.
So far, so good for Pádraig Pearses and if they play to their potential this Sunday they can reach the provincial final which would be a huge achievement in their first ever Connacht campaign.
Pádraig Pearses: Paul Whelan; Shane Carty, Anthony Butler, Mark Richardson; Gavin Downey, David Murray, Ronan Daly; Niall Daly, Conor Daly; Paul Carey (1-6, 3 frees), Lorcan Daly, Niall Carty (1-0); Emmett Kelly, Hubert Darcy (1-1, 1 free), Conor Payne.
Subs used: Tom Butler for C Daly (22 b/c), Alan Duffy for Payne (45), Aaron Fehily for Downey (59), James Kelly for Carey (61), Shane Mulvey for S Carty (62).
Tourlestrane: Adam Broe; Cian Surlis, John Francis Carr, Barry Walsh; Oisin Kennedy, Adrian McIntyre (0-1), James Leonard (0-1); Stephen Henry, Cathal Henry (0-3, 1 free); Kenny Gavigan, John Kelly, Alan Dunne; Gary Gaughan, Noel Gaughan, Liam Gaughan (0-1, 1 free).
Subs used: Conor Marren for Dunne (35), Pat Harte for Kennedy (40), Brian Egan for L Gaughan (53), Rian Kennedy for N Gaughan (58), Eoin Walsh for Kelly (61).
Referee: Jerome Henry (Mayo)