THE PEOPLE’S MATCH CHOICE
Hodson Bay Hotel Senior Football Championship Quarter-Final
Pádraig Pearses 2-9 Boyle 2-5
Anyone who might have thought that Pádraig Pearses are not serious contenders for the Fahey Cup in 2021 were given another reminder that the 2019 champions are very much in the hunt as they easily dealt with the Boyle challenge in this disappointing quarter-final played in wet conditions at Dr. Hyde Park last Sunday.
Boyle led for most of the first half – thanks mainly to two opportunist goals – but once Pearses got their act together they drew level by half-time and ultimately ran out easier winners than the final four-point margin would suggest.
Pearses opened with a first-minute point from Conor Payne but on nine minutes they conceded a bizarre goal. Paul Whelan’s poor kick-out fell to Donie Smith and he returned the ball expertly to the empty net from about 25 metres.
Paul Carey (free) and Enda Smith traded points before Hubert Darcy reduced the margin to one with a good score in the 16th minute. Boyle were in for another goal two minutes later. Daire Cregg shot for a point but the ball dropped short into the hands of Tadhg McKenna, and he made no mistake from close range.
Stung into action, Pearses responded with three points on the trot from Paul Carey (two frees), and Emmet Kelly. Boyle replied with points from Cian McKeon and a brilliant Donie Smith score, a free from out near the sideline.
With the game deep into injury-time at the end of the first half, Pearses scored a controversial goal. Referee Gerry Carmody blew in anticipation of a Hubert Darcy ‘mark’, which Darcy actually dropped. A couple of Boyle defenders stopped but Darcy recovered possession and passed to Davy Murray who planted the ball in the Boyle net. The Boyle men protested but the goal stood and at the break it was all square: Boyle 2-3 Pearses 1-6.
Pearses dominated the second half with Niall Daly, Davy Murray, Niall Carty, Ronan Daly and Hubert Darcy all playing really well and generally controlling possession.
In the 32nd minute Darcy pointed from play and a minute later Pearses had their second goal on the board when Niall Carty did the spadework and Lorcan Daly shot past Robert Kearney.
Pearses were now in control and from there to the end of the match there was only going to be one winner. Donie Smith pointed a ’45 in the 42nd minute but Carey matched that effort with a pointed free five minutes from time, and in the final few minutes Donie Smith and Niall Daly were on target as the game petered out tamely.
Boyle were very disappointing on the day and only Donie Smith, Seanie Purcell, Evan McGrath and sub Oisin Cregg really stood out for Cian Smith’s side.
Now Pearses prepare to face St. Brigid’s in what will be a cracking semi-final. Who would rule Pat Flanagan’s men out? They are certainly coming into the right form at just the right time.