The Harps Junior hurlers got their championship off to a great start with a hard fought win over Ballypickas last Saturday. Mountrath G.A.A hosted this game and had their pitch in fine condition, and with a perfect evening for hurling this game got off to a flying start. The Harps opened their account with a good score from play by Niall Brophy but Ballypickas were quick to reply with a pointed free. The challenges were hard hitting throughout and further frees were converted by both sides, with Ross Young in deadly form as The Harps main marksman. Niall Brophy looked to have given The Harps some breathing space when he showed great composure to finish off a good move to the back of the net. Ballypickas had other ideas however, and a long ball in over the top of The Harps defence was finished to the net to leave the sides level once again. The remaining ten minutes of the first half saw a flurry of scores for both sides as Clancy, Farrell, Deegan and Townsend all pointed for The Harps before half time to leave The Harps ahead by the minimum at half time on a score line of The Harps 1-11 Ballypickas 1-10.
The second half was another lively 30 minutes of hurling, but The Harps experience of hurling in a higher division in the league slowly started to tell as the lead was built on throughout. Ballypickas were relying on scores from frees to keep them in the game while The Harps had a bigger spread of players scoring from play. Indeed, wing back Ciaran Costigan got in on the act with 40 minutes played, sending over a fine point from distance. With the slight breeze behind them, Danny Delahunty and Ross Young sent over long range frees to increase the lead as Ballypickas began to lose their discipline. Excellent scores from play by Clancy, Farrell and Brophy had The Harps firmly in control with the second half drawing to a close. Ballypickas needed a goal to get back into this game but with The Harps defence in a mean mood they were denied time and again. Fittingly, Ross Young closed out the game’s scoring with a last free to leave The Harps winners on a scoreline of The Harps 1-21 Ballypickas 1-13.
This was a really encouraging display from our Juniors who were missing a number of key players on the day. With other good hurlers to come back into the mix competition for places will be heating up over the coming weeks.
6.Daniel Delahunty.(0-1 free)
10.Ross Young.(0-9,0-7 frees)
12.Brian Clancy. (0-3)