The Harps Junior Footballers welcomed Ballyfin to Durrow GAA grounds for their first round ACFL Division 4 tie on Easter Monday. A beautiful sun-drenched day with hardly a breeze made for perfect match-day conditions in front of the small crowd in attendance.
The Harps were quickest out of the traps with Mark White popping over a point from play in the opening seconds. This was quickly followed up by a free from John Finnegan when he was fouled in midfield contesting the kickout from White’s opener. Ballyfin responded well and kicked some clever football over the coming minutes, but were never able to penetrate the Harps defence to setup a score. Mark White was to the fore again on ten minutes with another sweet point.
At the halfway point in the first half, The Harps were getting on top and Finnegan added another point, this time from play. Niall Brophy wasn’t intent on letting White and Finnegan take all the accolades and chipped in with a well kicked point after 19 minutes. Moments later, Ballyfin pulled off a magnificent save to deny Darren Maher a sure goal.
The final third of the opening half saw Mark White in a perfect position to receive a well worked pass from David Doheny to swing over his third point of the game in the 23rd minute to put the Harps 0-06 to 0-00 ahead. Ballyfin were desperately seeking an opening score and their break came in the 25th minute when a point from play was hard earned. David Doheny replied straight away when his effort floated over the Ballacolla end crossbar. Ballyfin though, had the last say in the opening half when they converted a free on the stroke of half time to leave the score at: The Harps 0-07 V 0-02 Ballyfin.
The second half saw Ballyfin start strongly, however a resilient Harps defence was giving nothing up easily and Ballyfin were left empty-handed with each attempt. The Harps soon settled and in the 33rd minute David Doheny had the Ballyfin net rocking with his pile-driver. Ballyfin tried without vain to score and even after a Shane McCann foul that earned a yellow card, the resultant free floated harmlessly wide. Niall Brophy turned on the style in the 40th and 41st minute with a brilliant point followed by an even better goal to put the game beyond doubt. The Harps now lead 2-08 to 0-02.
The resulting kickout saw Mark White grab another point. Tired legs at this point of the game was taken advantage of by the youthful David Doheny as he cut through the Ballyfin defence to grab his second white flag of the day. The Harps could do little wrong and the resulting kickout saw Mark White pass to Ger Alley who stuck the ball in the roof of the Ballyfin net. Points from David Doheny (2), Mark White and Paul Shortall and a free kick converted by Pat Walshe saw The Harps finish out the game with a consolation point for Ballyfin at the full-time whistle. The Harps 3-15 v 0-03 Ballyfin.
The Harps: position 1 – Kevin Donoghue; position 2 – Stephen Thomas; position 3 – James Shortall; position 4 – John Dunne; position 5 – Diarmuid Irwin; position 6 – Shane McCann; position 7 – Shane Brophy; position 8 – Pat Walsh; position 9 – John Finnegan; position 10 – Mark White; position 11 – Paul Shortall; position 12 – Darren Maher; position 13 – Niall Brophy; position 14 – Ger Alley; position 15 – David Doheny.
Scorers: David Doheny 1-04; Mark White 0-05; Niall Brophy 1-02; Ger Alley 1-00; John Finnegan 0-02 (0-01f); Paul Shortall 0-01; Pat Walshe 0-01f.
The Harps will play Castletown-Slieve Bloom in the second round to be played in Slieve Bloom GAA grounds on Saturday 11th April at 6.45pm.
The Division 4 Football table at present looks like this: