Thank You: A big thank you is extended to Kieran McEvoy for replacing four jerseys on the Oldtown Construction set, replacing the crossbars in the Durrow field and repairs to the Cullohill dug-outs amongst other things. We would like to thank Kieran for his ongoing support.
Laois Sports Partnership have some places available on their next Safeguarding 1 Training Course scheduled for next Tuesday evening from 6.30pm until 9.30pm in Portlaoise Leisure Centre.
Participants will be certified on the night from Sport Ireland and will be registered in the national database. Course fee is €20, but a discounted price of €15 is available to clubs/groups with two or more attending.
This course is a part of the mandatory coaching standards which are now required to be involved with a team. To reserve a place, please call (057) 8671248.
The Harps flagship team will ply their trade in Senior B in 2017 as they lost out to Abbeyleix by a single point in this relegation final last Sunday. Played in miserable conditions, Abbeyleix opened with the wind at their backs and had their first point registered inside a minute. The Harps reply was swift as Mick Lanigan fired over a free. The sides trader another point apiece as Lanigan hit a fine point from play against the wind. The Harps now began to dominate and they hit the next four points in a row (Brophy, Clancy, Lanigan 0-2f) to leave themselves in a very favourable position. That old failing of conceding free’s rose it’s head again however as Laois net minder Enda Rowland sent over some huge free’s to keep Abbeyleix in touch. Disaster struck with 5 minutes to go when a monster Rowland puckout broke kindly for an in-running Abbeyleix forward who gave Peter Walsh no chance in goals. Points were traded again as Lanigan converted a 65’ and now amazingly The Harps were a point behind at the break when they really should have been 4 or 5 points in front. The half time score read Abbeyleix 1-06 The Harps 0-8.
The first 20 minutes of the second half would ultimately seal The Harps fate, as their ravenous rivals hit four unanswered points (2f) to open up a five point lead with just 10 minutes left on the clock. A Kieran Freeman effort from play was answered with interest as Abbeyleix added another two points from play to leave The Harps with a mountain to climb as they trailed by six points with just three minutes left to play. Our hurlers were not about to throw in the towel however, and renewed efforts were rewarded as Gavin Dunne sent over a good point from play before the excellent Eoin Clancy lashed the sliotar to the net to bring this game right back into the melting pot. Another point from Lanigan reduced the deficit to a single point but unfortunately time was not on our side as the final whistle sounded to the ecstasy of the Abbeyleix contingent but to the agony of The Harps.
It is back to the drawing board now for The Harps, and they must take stock and look at how Ballinakill and Portlaoise have both responded to similar set backs in recent years. A huge thank you is owed to David Cuddy, Martin Brophy and Gabby Irwin who have left no stone unturned in this teams preparation. Credit also to the panel of players who have been very unlucky to come out the wrong side of some incredibly close games.
Subs used: Ross Young, Kieran Freeman, Barry Dunne, Niall Brophy.
The Harps Junior hurlers dream of championship glory ended last Friday when a strong Slievebloom team knocked them out of the championship. Played in Shanahoe, Slievebloom opted to play with a strong wind at their backs in the opening half. The Harps however got off to the dream start when a long range free from Danny Delahunty went all the way to the net. Stung into action by this early setback, Slievebloom began to assert themselves and hit a string of points from play and free’s to take the lead. With 20 minutes played, Laois senior hurler Ben Conroy went on a strong run before blasting to the net. The Harps replied with a Ross Young free to leave five points between the team and with The Harps defending strongly the deficit wasn’t overly worrying with wind advantage to come after the break.
Slievebloom weren’t paying much attention to the script though, as they picked up their dominance in the second half also. Dropping back an extra defender, Slievebloom proved very difficult to break down, and with some very fast forwards they continued to pick off scores. Some converted free’s from Young kept The Harps just about in the game, but the goal that The Harps needed to really get back into this game never came. The game threatened to boil over at times, and The Harps were dealt a further blow when Fintan Deegan was sent off with 5 minutes to go. Pushing forward in search of a goal, The Harps were caught on the counter when another scorching run and a pass by Ben Conroy resulted in Slieveblooms second goal. The Harps tried to the end, but on the day Slievebloom were the superior outfit and the final score read Slievebloom 2-13 The Harps 0-5.
This was a very disappointing exit for the Junior hurlers who will feel they have a whole lot more in them.
The Harps Junior footballers exited the championship last Friday evening as St.Joseph’s proved to be too strong on the night. Played in Crettyard in greasy conditions with a strong wind blowing down the pitch, St.Joseph’s opted to play with the elements behind them in the first half. The Harps however were the first off the mark as John Finnagan kicked a good point from distance. St.Joseph’s had to wait until the 8th minute for their first score, a point from play, but Jim Campion restored The Harps lead a minute later with a fine score from the right wing. The scores started to fly over now as St.Joseph’s hit two from pay in as many minutes before Finnegan sent over his second to leave the sides level. Another brace of points from play for St.Joseph’s was followed up with a converted free to open up a double score lead, but Niall Brophy pointed from play to keep his side in touch. Unfortunately for The Harps, St.Joseph’s hit three points in as many minutes just before the break to stretch their lead out to five points as the half time score read St.Joseph’s 0-9 The Harps 0-4.
The Harps were going to need a strong start to the second half to get back into this game but it was the slick St.Joseph’s who flew out of the traps to score the first three points of the second half. The Harps were not about to throw in the towel however, as Jim Campion and Albert Townsend hit two points from play in response. St.Joseph’s managed another point but The Harps were now on top and two further points by John Brophy and Campion had the deficit back to five points. This would be as close as The Harps would get however, as St.Joseph’s moved through the gears as their powerful running game began to wear down The Harps. They started to point at will and indeed were it not for a string of brilliant reflex saves by Paul Shortall in goal the score could have been a lot worse. Campion and Pat Walsh showed some defiance to hit back with two good scores and The Harps tried bravely until the final whistle, but there was no denying St.Josephs were the superior outfit as they tacked on a goal and further points from play to leave the final score as St.Joseph’s 1-18 The Harps 0-11.
Credit to our footballers for giving their all on the night, and to the management of Gabby irwin and Dave Finnegan, but they will have to do the same again as they face a relegation play-off to keep their Junior A status for 2017.
Subs used: James Shortall, John Brophy, Mark White, Albert Townsend, Jack McEvoy.
The Harps senior hurlers exited the SHC for 2016 on Tuesday evening when they lost out to Portlaoise by two points. Just like the drawn game, there was very little to separate the sides but unfortunately for our lads it was Portlaoise who had their noses in front at the final whistle.
Played under lights in O Moore Park, again it was Portlaoise who got off to the brighter start, opening up a three point lead with five minutes played. Two points from play by John Brophy in as many minutes ensured The Harps stayed in touch before another pointed Portlaoise free. The Harps then began to show what they are capable of as Lanigan pointed from a placed ball and Kieran Freeman hit a brace of points from play. Points continued to be traded by both teams as fussy refereeing began to cost The Harps dearly. Brian Dunne flashed over two quick fire points from play but frees were now keeping Portlaoise in the game as the deadly accurate Aaron Dunphy wasn’t missing anything. A Portlaoise free was sandwiched in between two good scores from play by Lanigan and Saunders in the run up to half time to leave The Harps ahead by the minimum at the break on a score line of The Harps 0-10 Portlaoise 0-9.
It was a case of deja-vu in the second half as The Harps continued to work good scores from play only for indiscipline and some very harsh calls to undo the good work. Eoin Clancy and Lanigan scores were cancelled out by another two Portlaoise free’s before John Brophy restored a two point lead with an excellent score. Three on the trot for Portlaoise (0-2 f) gave them the lead ten minutes into the second half only for that man John Brophy to hit a brace from play to restore a slender lead for The Harps. With the second half heading for the final ten minutes, Portlaoise levelled the contest with a good point from play. When Eoin Clancy was hauled down inside the square, a penalty was awarded and the question in the stand was whether to go for goal or take the point. Credit to Michael Lanigan who had the courage to go for the jugular only to see his rasping shot come back off the post. Both sides swapped points as Lanigan converted a 65’ to level the game once more but alas this was to be The Harps final score. Portlaoise had the bit between their teeth now and hit two points to break The Harps players hearts as the final whistle sounded and left the scoreline at The Harps 0-16 Portlaoise 0-18.
This was a cruel way for our seniors to exit the championship but their efforts could not be faulted on the night. All focus now turns to the relegation play-off with Abbeyleix and once again supporters are urged to turn up in force for this vital game.
The Harps senior hurlers kept their championship hopes alive for 2016 when they played out a thrilling draw
with Portlaoise last Saturday. Played in O Moore Park with a strong wind blowing towards the town end,
Portlaoise opted to play with the breeze in the first half and quickly opened up a commanding lead hitting a
quick fire 1-4 in the opening ten minutes. The sole Harps reply in this period was a converted free by
Michael Lanigan as The Harps supporters began to worry in the stand. To their credit however, each Harps
player put in a trojan effort to get themselves back into this game and when John Brophy finished to the net
from close range after a great run by younger brother Conor, The Harps were right back in this game.
Another Lanigan free had the deficit reduced to one point as Portlaoise seemed shocked by the fight back.
Portlaoise hit a brace of points from play to give themselves a bit of breathing space but Lanigan was in
deadly form as he pointed twice, one from a 40 meter free and a spectacular point from the right wing that
curled inside the right post. With the half time break looming the sides both tacked on another point apiece
(Lanigan 0-1f) to leave the half time score at Portlaoise 1-9 The Harps 1-8.
If The Harps were depending on the wind to win it for them in the second period they were in for a rude
awakening as there was nothing between the sides in a pulsating second half. Nearly like clock work the
sides would trade points with never more than a single score to seperate them. With the wind at their backs
The Harps did find scores from play that bit easier to come by as Lanigan began to show he is just as
accurate from open play with a string of scores from the left wing. Portlaoise to their credit were also
giving their all and with young Aaron Bergin deadly accurate from frees they refused to let The Harps take
the initiative. As the second half crept on John Brophy scored an excellent point even as he was being
impeded and Conor Dunne then pointed from distance after fielding a Portlaoise puck out to level the
game. With time running out The Harps appeared to take the lead when it matters most as the excellent
Eoin Clancy fed the ball out to Lanigan who slotted over the bar to finally nudge The Harps in front. The
drama was far from over however, as Portlaoise won a free 50 yards out which they converted to restore
parity. Indeed the very last chance would fall to Portlaoise as they missed a glorious opportunity to send
The Harps packing. All would have to agree that a draw was a fair result in the end as the both sides finished
with 1-17 apiece and have to do it all again this Tuesday (9th) at 8 p.m in O Moore Park. All supporters are
urged to attend and get behind our hurlers.
Subs used: Richie Saunders, Brian Clancy, Pat Walsh.