Finals sequence comes to an end
December 30, 2010
Pearse Og's amazing run of six consecutive appearances in the Louth senior hurling championship final came to an end in 2010. The hurlers from the Holy Family parish had become part of the furniture on county SHC final day, but round-robin defeats to Knockbridge and Naomh Moninne ensured that they would not be involved in the 2010 decider.
It was a strange year on the club hurling front. What with no Pearse Og involvement on SHC final day, the landscape around the Wee County assumed an unfamiliar look. It was unusual not to see Gold & Greens taking part in the perennial Paddy Kelly Cup decider.
Since landing the biggest prize on offer in Louth hurling for a second time, in 2004, Pearse Og had contested five more consecutive deciders, losing all five to Knockbridge. The club came of age on October 6th 2002 when they beat Knockbridge in the final to win the Louth SHC for the first time. In '04, they beat Naomh Moninne by 1-11 to 1-6 at Ardee to regain the Kelly Cup.
Ever since then, Pearse Og have knocked loudly on the door, bringing their run of successive final appearances to six as they gunned for a third SHC crown but lucklessly losing five deciders in a row.
In '05, bidding for back-to-back glory, Pearse Og lost to Knockbridge after a replay at Haggardstown: 2-9 to 0-8. In '06, there were just three points in it, 1-14 to 2-8 at Louth village, as Knockbridge again came out on top. The 2007 SHC decider was at Clan na Gael Park and this time only a point separated the teams: 1-13 to 0-15. In '08, it was 2-12 to 0-9 at The Ramparts and in 2009 it finished 2-13 to 0-9 at Dowdallshill.
It was a pretty phenomenal run of final appearances from a progressive club formed as recently as 1989 and the champions of 2002 and '04 were viewed by many observers as the team most likely to take the county crown away from their now-arch-rivals Knockbridge. Ironically, the village men did slip up in 2010 but it was not Pearse Og - but another Dundalk club - who took advantage.
Away from the SHC, Pearse Og put together some good performances in the senior league and were worthy winners once more of the special hurling league. They also qualified for the special hurling championship final (Maurice Murphy Cup) but were beaten by Knockbridge at Darver on Friday, November 5th.
Once more, Pearse Og contributed handsomely to the Wee County's various efforts on the intercounty stage during the year and a keen emphasis within the club was placed on trying to nurture underage talent.
The special hurling league began in mid-March and Pearse Og enjoyed wins over Glen Emmets, Mattock Rangers and Naomh Moninne to qualify for the final by topping Group A. The 1-20 to 0-5 victory over Moninne in the third group game at DKIT on Saturday April 3rd - with former county player Donach Callan and Brian McCabe to the fore - was particularly impressive.
St Fechins provided opposition in the final at The Gaelic Grounds on Sunday, May 2nd and a last-minute goal saw the Dundalk club capture the Colm Geary Cup on a 2-13 to 3-8 scoreline. Pearse Og led by 1-9 to 1-4 at the break but were then forced to see off a gallant fightback to take the silverware.
In the 'league' phase of the 2010 Louth SHC, there were five games to be played in the preliminary stage, with all six clubs squaring up to each other on a round-robin basis. Pearse Og were playing catch-up from the off when they lost their opener against holders Knockbridge - 3-12 to 0-16 - in what was a repeat of the previous five county finals.
Two vital points were secured when defeating Mattock Rangers by 3-13 to 1-9 at Stabannon on Thursday, July 22nd. Barry Myles and Mattie Boland struck early goals for the winners and Matthew Myles added the third three-pointer in the second half. Gerard Smyth was on target four times.
St Fechins were beaten by 3-9 to 1-9 and, having also seen off Wolfe Tones, Pearse Og remained very much in contention going into their final round-robin match against town rivals Naomh Moninne. A win could have seen them through for another crack at Knockbridge in the decider but - in the decisive Round Five clash (which was effectively a semi-final) at Clan Na Gael Park on Saturday, August 28th - Moninne prevailed by 2-16 to 2-8. Moninne led by 2-6 to 0-7 at the interval but Eddie McCarthy's goal shortly after the resumption had the game back in the melting pot. However, the would-be champions stretched their lead again and Gerard Smyth's penalty goal was merely a consolation.
Pearse Og, 2010 Louth SHC Round Five V Naomh Moninne: Stephen Smith; Noel Callan, David Mulholland, Seamus McDonagh; Gary O'Brien, Donal McArdle, Andrew McCrave; Gerard Smith (1-6), Shane Callan (0-1); Mattie Boland, Eddie McCarthy (1-1), Aidan Callan; Barry Myles, Donach Callan, Brian McCabe.
When Naomh Moninne went on to stun Knockbridge in the senior hurling championship final, Pearse Og were left wondering 'what if?' as, for years, they had looked the team most likely to relieve the villagers of the Paddy Kelly Cup. But it wasn't to be as Moninne came up on the blind side to take the spoils… It was particularly disappointing for the Holy Parish outfit as they generally had held the upper hand in recent meetings with Naomh Moninne, including a comprehensive 4-13 to 1-8 victory in the second round of the senior hurling league in early May, when the following personnel were on call: Stephen Smith; Martin Myles, David Mulholland, Kevin Cullen; Noel Callan, Shane Callan (0-1), Donal McArdle; Gary O'Brien, Brian McCabe (1-7); Aidan Callan (0-2), Donach Callan (0-2), Andrew McCrave; Barry Myles (2-1), Eddie McCarthy (1-0), Mattie Boland. Subs: Kevin Brady, Gerry Hoey.
Meanwhile, in the special hurling championship, played for the Maurice Murphy Cup, holders Pearse Og qualified for the final from Group B, beating Mattock by 2-11 to 0-5 at DKIT in their second group game. Knockbridge claimed the other final berth with a five-point win over Naomh Moninne. In the final itself, Pearse Og failed to do themselves justice and Knockbridge ran out comfortable winners.
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