The Harps Senior hurlers welcomed Camross to Durrow on Thursday May 3rd for this fifth round of the Laois GAA Division 1 Hurling League. The Harps had an unbeaten run into this tie with three wins and a draw from their opening rounds whilst Camross also had three wins, but suffered an earlier round loss to Borris-Kilcotton to sit third behind The Harps on the table. It was a dull overcast evening with some mist at times, however this did not affect the game as both sides gave a very entertaining match:
Camross were first of the mark and ran up three unanswered frees in the opening ten minutes. The Harps though did settle and in the eleventh minute Michael Lanigan opened the home-side’s account with a converted free. The Harps began to settle and take control of the game at this stage as the intensity took off. Conor Deegan scored a fine pint from play out on the ’65 to nudge the Harps closer in the 18th minute and Lanigan levelled affairs in the twentieth minute with another free: 0-03 to 0-03 a piece.
The final ten minutes of this first half saw Camross re-assert themselves in the scoring stakes with a couple of scores in two minutes from play. The Harps battled hard throughout with Doheny and Phelan imposing in the defence and clearing ball up the field to launch attack after attack for The Harps. The homeside though were unable to capitalise and indeed were most unfortunate to have a goal chance glaze millimeters wide in the run up to half time. The resulting puckout had The Harps back on the attack again and Eoin Clancy earned a free that was converted by Lanigan to reduce the lead to the minimum. However, Camross finished stronger with a point from play and a converted ’65 to restore their three point margin at the short whistle: Camross 0-07 v 0-04 The Harps.
The second half began with Camross upping the ante and in the space of two minutes had three unanswered points from play to give The Harps a monumental challenge to overcome. The Harps rose to the occasion though and cut the visitors’ lead to four as Lanigan added a point from play before converting a free. Camross though came storming back and fired over a free of their own followed up with a point from play – all of this inside the opening seven minutes had both sets of supporters on their feet as each team gave it their all.
The next ten minutes was a very tit-for-tat affair as both teams refused to give in and each side traded point for point. Shane Fitzpatrick added his name to the scoresheet with a fantastic long range point from play out in the middle of the field. Camross replied with a point from play before Lanigan who was immense on frees all evening long converted another. Again Camross replied, however John Brophy found himself unusually unmarked out on the half forward line where he pointed from a tight angle to keep The Harps within five points.
The Harps management looked to the bench to freshen things up and Eoin Doheny came on to replace Pat Walshe who battled hard in the full forward line. Camross though stretched their lead by two before Pauric Dunne pointed a fine point from the middle of the park. The Harps then made another change with Ross Young replacing Conor Brophy. Camross then hit a purple patch around the fiftieth minute mark with a point from play followed up with the game’s first goal – despite Peter Walsh’s save, the rebound was easily tapped in to give the visitors a ten point lead. Camross then stretched their lead further with a point from a free in the 54th minute.
The Harps management then introduced Brian Clancy for Conor Deegan and with just five minutes left on the clock, The Harps dug deep and battled immensely in search of scores. Michael Lanigan pointed a free in the 56th minute which was followed up by a point from play by Boggy in the 57th – Brophy created this chance all on his own, taking the ball on along the sideline before cutting in toward goal and releasing the trigger. In the last minute of the game, Lanigan won a ball on the end line, broke through two tackles and from the tightest of angles rifled the sliothar to the net to raise a green flag and cut the deficit to six points. However, any chance of a comeback was stopped with the full time whistle moments later: The Harps 1-12 v 1-18 Camross.
The Harps overall will be a little disappointed with the result as their performances on the field of play was much greater than the sum of their scores. Every player, including the subs battled greatly and perhaps with a bit of luck and little tightening up on giving away easy frees, this result could have been alot closer. The Harps will travel to Ballacolla on May 27th for the next round of the Laois GAA League, however – a Leinster GAA League semi-final is due to take place on May 12th – so another game to look forward to before the local derby takes place.
The Harps: 1 – Peter Walsh; 2 – David Doheny; 3 – Daniel Comerford; 4 – Shane Phelan; 5 – Conor Brophy; 6 – John Prior; 7 – Ronan Delahunty; 8 – Richie Saunders; 9 – Padraic Dunne; 10 – Shane Fitzpatrick; 11 – Pat Walshe; 12 – Conor Deegan; 13 – Michael Lanigan; 14 – John Brophy; 15 – Eoin Clancy.
Subs: 46th minute: Eoin Doheny for Pat Walshe; 49th minute: Ross Young for Conor Brophy; 55th minute: Brian Clancy for Conor Deegan.