DROMID PEARSES (KERRY) 1-8
CÚ CHULAINNS (YORKSHIRE) 0-5
All-Ireland Junior Club Championship Quarter-Final
Cú Chulainns adventures in championship football came to an end Sunday but only after giving Kerry and Munster Junior Champions Dromid Pearses a real fright.
The side from Newcastle raced into an early lead and only Aidan O’Sullivan’s scrambled goal midway through the opening half kick-started Pearses into action, who saw their full-forward Niall O’Shea stretchered off the field late in the second-half.
Cú Chulainns captain Padraig McCloskey summarised the year’s achievements to The Irish Post: “It’s been a fantastic year and the main thing is that we won the All-Britain final against John Mitchels, so everything after that is really bonus territory. We’ve been on the go for these past 10-11 months and it’s been a really good effort all round. Today we didn’t get the breaks and to be fair the better team won on the day – their goal was a real sucker punch for us after the start we had made. Still, we’ll be going again next year and look to be back here again in 2012.”
Given the way the game unfolded in the opening stages Cú Chulainns had every right to be confident and three early scores saw them race into a lead in what was always likely to be a low scoring affair given the weather conditions on the day.
Two fine points from corner-forward Ronan Henry, the second an excellent drive after a deft cut in from the left sideline, boosted morale for the Newcastle side who were dictating much of the early play.
However, Pearses struck back with the only goal of the game as a long ball punted into the goalmouth from Thomas Curran was not dealt with in time, allowing O’Sullivan to latch onto the loose ball at the far post and fire past Pete Holland. A fine free from Declan O’Sullivan, who was being closely monitored throughout, pushed Pearses into the lead before another fine score from Henry brought the sides level.
Curran was to play a pivotal role in the Pearses’ midfield and he came close to adding a second goal shortly before the interval as a sweeping move through the Cú Chulainns defence created enough room for the advancing midfielder to shoot from close range. However, a fine block by Holland ensured that his goal remained untroubled. Playing into the wind in the second-half, Cú Chulainns struggled to find that all-important final pass as Pearses shut them out, Donal O’Sullivan’s parry prevented Chris O’Kane from latching onto a high ball while Shane O’Neill pulled his close range shot wide of Alan Hogan’s right-hand post late on.
Indeed Pearses were a different prospect in the second-half, O’Shea’s opening score starting the ball rolling before Colm O’Connor had a goal ruled out for a square ball. Kerry’s All-Ireland winning captain Declan O’Sullivan came more into the game in the second-half, contributing one point from play and steering the ship towards a semi-final place and with five minutes remaining O’Shea looked to be heading towards goal to find a second major, only for the full-forward to be brought down at the expense of a penalty and taken off on a stretcher with a knee injury. Up stepped Curran to round off the afternoon’s scoring, opting to simply chip the ball over the bar and take his point rather than go for goal.
Joe Malone came close to landing a consolation goal in added time, however his 20-metre shot could only find the side netting.
So in the end Cú Chulainns couldn’t quite spoil the party but they certainly showed that they could compete with the best at this level of club championship football.
Dromid Pearses: A Hogan; P O’Sullivan, Dominic O’Sullivan, Donal O’Sullivan; Donncha O’Sullivan, K O’Shea, M Sheehan; T Curran, C O’Connor; A O’Sullivan, Declan O’Sullivan, A O’Connor; E O’Leary, N O’Shea, J Curran.
Cú Chulainns: P Holland; S Twohig, T Greene, D Gordon; D Hughes, E O’Gara, P McCloskey; P Kelly, J Malone; S O’Neill, M McCourt, N Considine; R Henry, P McGovern, N Burns. Subs: C O’Kane (for McGovern 35); D Galbraith (for McCloskey 60).
Scorers: Dromid Pearses: A O’Sullivan (1-0); T Curran (0-3, 2f); D O’Sullivan (0-2); N O’Shea (0-2), J Curran (0-1).
Cú Chulainns: R Henry (0-3); N Burns (0-1); M McCourt (0-1, 1f).
Referee: B Cassidy (Derry)