The Harps Junior A Hurlers welcomed Slieve Bloom to Durrow on Saturday evening for a 6.30pm throw-in of this second round fixture in the Laois GAA Division 2 hurling league. It was a calm evening but a slow moving shower moved in overhead just as the game got underway making for very heavy underfoot conditions.
The Harps started brightly with Kieran Freeman opening the home-side’s scoring account with a well taken point from play in the first minute. However, Slieve Bloom took control of the game for much of the first half following up with two points from play, followed by three converted frees and a ’65 to command a five point lead after twenty two minutes. The Harps to their credit battled hard, however and Niall Brophy popped over a fine point before half time to leave the scoreboard reading Slieve Bloom 0-06 v 0-02 The Harps.
In the opening minute of the second half, disaster struck for The Harps when Slieve Bloom cut through the defence and blasted to the net to raise the first green flag of the game. Credit though to The Harps who refused to throw in the towel and gave Slieve Bloom plenty of it in this second half. Evan Deegan pointed a free and followed up with a point from play to reduce the deficit to six, however Slieve Bloom clawed back a point from play eight minutes in. Justin Brophy in goals, launched a long puckout down on the Slieve Bloom halfback line which was won by Niall Brophy who rounded several players in defence before offloading to Evan Deegan who fired home to the net to give The Harps real hope of a comeback. 1-04 to 1-07.
Slieve Bloom though didn’t let the conceded goal set them back, and replied with a converted free and a point from play to nudge five points clear once more. It was real nip-and-tuck stuff for the remainder of the second half with The Harps battling hard to catch Slieve Bloom who seemed capable of keeping a three or four point margin clear of their competitors. Shane Donohue fired over two excellent long range points from play either side of an Evan Deegan free whilst Slieve Bloom popped over two of their own from play as both teams gave it their all.
Midway through the second half, Niall Brophy was replaced by Ciaran Costigan as manager Liam Clancy looked to freshen things up on the field. Then in the final ten minutes, Kieran Freeman scored a point from play and took over free taking duties when Evan Deegan was replaced by Johnny Doyle to convert The Harps ninth point of the game. Slieve Bloom kept the four point advantage with a free and a point from play in the closing stages to leave the full time score at Slieve Bloom 1-13 v 1-09 The Harps. Credit though to The Harps who worked hard throughout and probably deserved a little more than the scoreline suggests. The Harps travel to Mountmellick next Friday night for a 6.45pm throw-in.
The Harps: 1 – Justin Brophy; 2 – Eoghan Doheny; 3 – Sean Cahill; 4 – Cathal Phelan; 5 – Conor Brophy; 6 – Daniel Delahunty; 7 – Shane Donohue; 8 – Eoin Sullivan; 9 – Rory Moore; 10 – Darren Maher; 11 – Kieran Freeman; 12 – Brian Clancy; 13 – Evan Deegan; 14 – Fionn Whelan; 15 – Niall Brophy.
Subs: 44mins – off: Niall Brophy on: Ciaran Costigan; 53mins – off: Evan Deegan on: Johnny Doyle.
The Harps Scorers: Evan Deegan 1-03 (0-2f); Kieran Freeman 0-03 (0-1f); Shane Donohue 0-02; Niall Brophy 0-01.