The Harps Junior C hurlers travelled to Shanahoe this evening to face Rosenallis in the Championship Semi-Final after seeing off Castletown (5pts win) and Graiguecullen (3pts win) in the opening round and the quarter-finals respectively. Rosenallis on the other hand made their way via wins over Camross (9pts win) and Clough-Ballacolla (31pts win) to make it to the last four.
Rosenallis started brightly with the wind in their sails and had three points up within five minutes – two of those from placed balls. Evan Deegan opened The Harps account after six minutes with a pointed free and this was quickly followed by a point from play by James Larkin from the middle of the field to give The Harps supporters who travelled in large numbers something to shout about.
Evan Deegan and Albert Townsend followed Larkin’s lead and popped over two further fine points from play to put The Harp’s noses in front with ten minutes on the clock. Rosenallis though were not lying down and came fighting back and equalised two minutes later with a long range wind assisted point from play. Rosenallis were beginning to take control of the game using the wind advantage to bypass the Harps half-back line and when a high ball dropped short responsibility fell to Emmett Fitzpatrick to get in a block to ward off a goal chance resulting in a 65 which Rosenallis converted half way through the first period.
Padraig Henderson made positional changes following that converted 65 to counter Rosenallis’ attack and The Harps worked hard to ensure they stayed scoreless for the next ten minutes. Rosenallis though to their credit worked hard to break down the Harps defence but could only muster three scores in the remainder of the half, one free and two well earned points from play. The Harps tried hard to engineer scores for themselves but found the Rosenallis defence equally as tough with a wind behind them. So at half time it was Rosenallis 0-08 v 0-04 The Harps.
The Harps opened the scoring in the second half with a converted free from Evan Deegan. Both sides traded frees over the next two minutes, Deegan – again the scorer in chief from placed balls. With the first ten minutes of the second half almost over, Henderson called on the services of Collie Dunphy and Ronan Quinn who replaced Kevin Madden and Emmett Dunne respectively eitherside of a Tom Dillon point. However, Rosenallis were winning frees around the Harps 45 line and converting them to keep their noses in front at 0-10 to 0-07.
The changes seemed to give the Harps a boost and they scored the next two points over the following five minutes – one a 65 and the other a free which Evan Deegan converted with confidence. The Harps were playing well with some good passes being strung together but as sure as the saying goes – a game can change in a minute – a horrible minute came to pass for The Harps. Firstly, a fine bit of defending from Shane Brophy seen a Rosenallis wide waved for a 65 which was converted. Then the resulting puckout was lost by The Harps in midfield allowing Rosenallis to capitalise and make a storming run along the wing, pass clinically to an unmarked player who gave Justin Brophy no chance and rattle the net.
Suddenly with just over ten minutes left, The Harps were five points down and had a massive battle on their hands. The Harps responded with another Evan Deegan free four minutes later. The Harps battled hard for scores that just wouldn’t come – credit to Rosenallis who worked very hard to resist a determined Harps attacking sextet. With five minutes left, both sides traded points but with the clock ticking down the Harps went hunting for goals that never materialised and at the final whistle it stood The Harps 0-11 v 1-12 Rosenallis.
The Harps will undoubtedly be dissapointed but they can hold their heads high on a fine battling display. Indeed this team showed plenty of courage, fight and passion throughout their campaign which all the Harps supporters are proud of.
The Harps: Justin Brophy, Diarmuid Irwin, Shane Brophy, Emmett Fitzpatrick, Joe Ryan, Sean Cahill, Emmett Dunne, James Larkin, Freddie Townsend, Tom Dillon, Brian Farrell, Kevin Madden, Evan Deegan, Albert Townsend, Alan O’Connell.
Scorers: Evan Deegan 0-08 (0-07f); James Larkin, Tom Dillon and Albert Townsend 0-01 each.