The Harps Senior hurlers got their competitive year underway last Saturday, losing out to a determined Portlaoise at Rathleague GAA grounds. This was to be a game of two halves with a strong wind blowing down the field. Portlaoise opened the scoring with a good point from play but wind assisted The Harps shot the next four points, one each from play by Brian Dunne and Ronan Delahunty and two free’s by Shane Donoghue. It would take Portlaoise 10 minutes to find the target again and when they pointed from play in the 13th minute The Harps responded strongly with three points on the trot courtesy of Shane Donoghue (0-02) and Brian Dunne. The Harps were hitting some bad wides at this stage of the game and a 3 point lead at half time (0-08 to 0-05) was going to have us under serious pressure in the second half.
Playing against the wind for the second half The Harps put in a strong opening 10 minutes trading a point apiece with Portlaoise as Shane Donoghue slotted another free. The legs started to tire at this stage however and The Harps would not register another score in the game. Portlaoise’s Joe Phelan blasted a 21 yard free to the back of The Harps net to set the home side on the way to a comfortable victory. On a heavy sod the lighter Harps players defended bravely but Portlaoise scored some impressive points from long range, gaining some degree of revenge for last years championship loss to The Harps.
It is early days yet for our hurlers but Saturday’s match showed there is plenty of work to do before the league commences in April. Best on the day for The Harps were Richie Saunders, Ronan Delahunty and Shane Donoghue.
The Harps: 1.Kevin Galvin; 2.Shane Phelan; 3.Barry Dunne; 4.Aaron Dunne; 5.Gavin Dunne; 6.Richie Saunders; 7.John Prior; 8.Ronan Delahunty; 9.Conor Brophy; 10.Shane Donoghue; 11.Brian Dunne; 12.Shane Fitzpatrick; 13.Brian Clancy; 14.Pat Walsh; 15.Eoin Clancy.
Subs: Greg Aylward for Brian Clancy; Ross Young for Shane Fitzpatrick; John Dunne for John Prior.