The Harps senior hurlers lost out to neighbours Ballinakill in the opening round of the league on Saturday, April 4th 2015. Credit to Ballinakill who had the pitch in very good condition and with fine weather both sides played out an entertaining match. Playing with a slight breeze behind them The Harps got off to a good start going five points up by the 10th minute with three pointed free’s from Shane Donoghue and a point apiece from play by Brian Dunne and Eoin Clancy. It looked at this stage like The Harps would romp to an easy win but Ballinakill were not going to go down without a fight however and stormed back into the match hitting 1-7 without reply to open up a 5 point lead nearing half time. A pointed free from Donoghue stopped the rot, but a four point deficit and facing the breeze in the second half left The Harps with a mountain to climb.
The Harps management changed things up at half time with Niall Brophy replacing Conor Brophy and Shane Fiztpatrick moving from corner forward to midfield. Again The Harps opened the half strongly hitting the first four points through Donoghue (0-2), Shane Fitzpatrick and John Brophy. Unfortunately we did not take full advantage in this period of dominance as two goal chances were missed before Ballinakill opened their second half account with a point form play. Both sides upped the ante now as scores were traded, strong tackles were put in and a local rivalry threatened to boil over. Referee Pat Moran issued two yellow cards and this seemed to cool matters somewhat and thankfully both sides focused on hurling. Another delightful point from John Brophy and a long range effort from Shane Fitzpatrick kept The Harps within touching distance but with Eamon Jackman reliable as ever on free-taking duty The Harps were struggling to level the game. With five minutes to play and a point separating the sides The Harps threw everything at Ballinakill but it was not to be on the day as Ballinakill wrapped up the league points with a further two pointed frees.
Not the start The Harps were hoping for, but there were certainly some very encouraging aspects to take from the game, most notably the performance of minor hurler Shane Fitzpatrick on his senior league debut. With Pakie Flynn, Ross Young and Richie Saunders all absent on the day there should be real competition for places over the coming weeks. Best on the day for The Harps were Shave Fitzpatrick, Aaron Dunne, Gavin Dunne and Shane Donoghue.
The Harps: 1 – Kevin Galvin; 2 – Shane Phelan; 3 – Gavin Dunne; 4 – Aaron Dunne; 5 – Barry Dunne;
6 – Conor Dunne; 7 – John Prior; 8 – Shane Donoghue; 9 – Conor Brophy; 10 – Ronan Delahunty; 11 – Brian Dunne; 12 – Pat Walsh; 13 – Shane Fitzpatrick; 14 – John Brophy; 15 – Eoin Clancy
Subs: Niall Brophy for Conor Brophy; David Doheny for John Prior.
The Harps Senior hurlers will welcome Clough-Ballacolla to Durrow GAA Grounds on April 15th at 7pm in the next round of the league. Other results elsewhere leaves the table looking like this after the first round of games took place: