The Harps Junior Footballers took on Arles-Kilcruise last night (May 15th) in the sixth round game of Division 4 at Durrow GAA grounds. It was a fine evening for a game of football with hardly a breeze and temperatures nearing 20c under a strong evening sun. Arles-Kilcruise started the game very strongly putting over four points from play, without reply inside the opening ten minutes. The Harps eventually found their rhythm and dominated for the next ten minutes. James Campion opened the home-side’s account with a pointed free. The services of Campion were called upon a few minutes after when Albert Townsend was dragged down outside the rectangle. James duly obliged and kicked over to raise the second white flag for the Harps.
With the first quarter over, Arles were still two points to the fore but the Harps were beginning to ask questions and they got answers through James Campion and David Doheny who both kicked fine points from play to level the score with half time approaching. In fairness, Arles-Kilcruise never panicked and their corner-forward cut across the end line to cut over a fine point to restore the lead. The Harps though would not allow the lead to stand for long and when Mark White caught the resulting kick-out, his run set up Bernard Geraghty to kick over a point. Shane Donoghue followed up with a well taken point from well out the field near half time to give the Harps a vital one-point-cushion going in for the break.
The second half began brilliantly for the Harps with a flurry of well taken scores. David Doheny and Niall Brophy both scored points from play followed by two more in quick succession from the boot of Bernard Geraghty. The Harps were in flying form and moments later Shane Donoghue had the ball in the net after following up on a rebound from a shot on goal. The score read 1-10 to 0-05 after forty minutes. The Harps continued to turn the screw and James Campion pointed a beautiful point from play soon after the goal.
The Harps then made three substitutions at the midway point in the second half. Shane Keown replaced David Doheny in the forwards, Kevin Donoghue replaced Ger Alley in goals and Craig Clear replaced Niall Brophy in the forwards. Before the newcomers had time to settle into the game, Mark White caught a ball and cut through the Arles-Kilcruise defence to blast the ball into the net to raise the second green flag of the night for the home side. The score now stood at 2-11 to 0-05 and Arles-Kilcruise looked dead and buried.
Credit though must go to the visitors who refused to give up and fought back hard over the next ten minutes scoring 1-03 without reply – of which 1-02 came from play. With ten minutes to go, it was a bridge too far for the visitors and The Harps composed themselves after the backlash to go on an score three points from Lee Campion, James Campion (free) and Mark White to put the game out of reach for the Arles-Kilcruise men who grabbed a late consolation goal from a penalty kick. The full time whistle was sounded and the scoreline read The Harps 2-14 V 2-08 Arles-Kilcruise.
Managements Thoughts: Manager Gabby Irwin was clearly pleased with the win and praised the work effort of the team. Speaking after the game he said “We have alot of matches over the coming two or three weeks, next week we have Ballyroan-Abbey on Wednesday night (May 21st) and that is in Ballyroan – it will be a tough one to win, so if we could get a bit of support behind us it would be a great help.” The Harps have six points from six games and are placed mid-table.
The Harps: 1 – Ger Alley; 2 – Stephen Thomas; 3 – James Shortall; 4 – Donnacha Quinn; 5 – Sean Bourke; 6 – Pat Walsh; 7 – Shane Brophy; 8 – Shane Donaghue; 9 – Niall Brophy; 10 – Lee Campion; 11 – Albert Townsend; 12 – James Campion; 13 – Bernard Geraghty; 14 – Mark White; 15 – David Doheny.