A beautiful sunny day greeted The Harps to Ballacolla on Saturday March 15th for a 2.30pm throw in against local rivals Clough-Ballacolla. Despite the glorious sunshine, a stiff west wind persisted throughout the match which tested the point shooting ability of both teams. Credit must go to the grounds staff at Ballacolla for having the pitch in good condition following the very wet winter just gone.
Damien Bergin opened Clough-Ballacolla’s account with a point after just a minute of play but Michael Lannigan quickly replied for The Harps with a free, 0-01 to 0-01 after three minutes of play. Clough-Ballacolla settled quickly and used the wind to their advantage peeling over four further points without reply – Stephen Bergin, Ciaran Finane and Damien Bergin amongst the scorers for CB.
Trailing 0-05 to 0-01 The Harps woes took a turn for the worse when Stephen Bergin capitalised on open space to run through and blasted the ball past Kevin Galvin to the net, 1-05 to 0-01. Clough-Ballacolla buoyed on by their goal added a further two points to their scoreline to bring it to 1-07 to 0-01 before Michael Lannigan floated over a pointed free against the breeze for the Harps, 1-07 to 0-02.
Ciaran Finane quickly responded for Clough-Ballacolla before Michael Lannigan pucked over his third free of the first half to leave it 1-08 to 0-03 with only a few minutes remaining in the half. Clough-Ballacolla grinded out two further points taking full advantage of the 15mph wind in their backs before half time. Half Time: The Harps 0-03 V 1-10 Clough-Ballacolla.
It was a case of role-reversal for the second half as The Harps, now with the wind to their advantage worked hard to claw back a ten point deficet. A half time substitution saw Shane Donoghue replace Conor Deegan before the throw-in where The Harps were quick to make a statement when Shane Phelan took a brilliant point from play. Hot on the heels of that fine score was Michael Lannigan who also took his chance from play excellently. Lannigan’s effort was followed by another of his own from a free.
The Harps tails were up with the scoreline reading The Harps 0-06 V 1-10 Clough-Ballacolla at that stage. Eoin Clancy grabbed another from play before Michael Lannigan then pointed another free. Shane Donoghue, introduced at half time, saw his good work effort rewarded, as his fine shot from play split the posts. Eoin Clancy stepped up for another point from play to leave it 0-10 to 1-10 with just seven minutes left to play.
Damien Bergin responded for Clough-Ballacolla to grab his side’s first score of the second half to put four points betwen the teams once more. The Harps then went searching for a goal and Shane Donoghue was most unfortunate to see his pile-driver rattle the side-netting, most unlucky. After the resultant puck-out some confusion over a side-line cut ultimately lead to Clough-Ballacolla getting another point to widen the gap to 5.
With just minues left to go, Ronan Delahunty popped a fine point over the bar to claw back the margin to four once more. With time almost up Clough-Ballacolla managed one more point before the full-time whistle to win the game on a scoreline of The Harps 0-11 V 1-13 Clough-Ballacolla.
Managements Thoughts: Speaking to theharpsgaa.com after the match a member of the management team said that the Harps showed in the second half that they could compete at the level required to be competitive, but stressed that the work rate applied needs to happen over the whole 60 minutes. A few very scorable chances went a begging and in tight games like this, these misses will cost us. Overall though, they were happy with how the team responded to being 10 points down at half time by coming back strong in the second half.
The Harps: Kevin Galvin, Aaron Dunne, Packie Flynn, Shane Phelan, Tommy Moore, Barry Dunne, Conor Brophy, Brian Galvin, Ronan Delahunty, Michael Lannigan, Sean Bourke, Eoin Clancy, Conor Deegan, Pat Walshe, Greg Aylward. Subs Used: Shane Donoghue for Conor Deegan (35); Richie Saunders for Aaron Dunne (43).