The Harps welcomed Rathdowney-Errill to Durrow on Sunday April 15th in this fourth round tie of the Laois GAA Hurling League Division 1. It was a breezy day with some passing showers that made for some difficult conditions at times and as a result scoring was limited, with both teams enjoying wind assistance in opposing halves.
The Harps had the wind to their backs in the first half and quickly opened up a two point lead with Pat Walshe opening the scoreboard from a sideline followed shortly after with a well taken Michael Lanigan free. Such was the effect of the wind that it took Rathdowney-Errill almost ten minutes to register their first score – a free from forty yards out that was converted.
The Harps were playing very well at this stage of the game and were dictating the pace to their opponents who struggled at times to keep into the intensity. Podge Delaney was especially strong in the half back line consistently clearing ball and booming it down on the Rathdowney-Errill defence where Ciaran Comerford and John Brophy were running hard and asking questions. Eoin Clancy and Boggy scored points from play either side of a Ciaran Comerford free to go 0-05 to 0-01 up after twenty minutes.
The final ten minutes of the first half saw Rathdowney-Errill score two points, one of those from a free before Ciaran Comerford fired over his second free of the day to leave the half time score at 0-06 to 0-03. The beginning of the second half was a dream start for The Harps with John Brophy firing to the net after a clever passage of play from Lanigan.
It took another fifteen minutes for a score as both teams became guilty of poor shooting in the strong wind and indeed frustrations set in with the referee on hand to quell arguments between the teams which resulted in a stoppage in play for two minutes. However, things cooled off and both teams resumed the game with Rathdowney-Errill grabbing a point from play midway through the half.
The Harps management looked to the bench to freshen things up soon after and brought on Pauric Dunne for Eoin Clancy. Rathdowney-Errill though were starting to take command of the game at this stage and scored a point from play to reduce the deficit to four points. Michael Lanigan took over free duties and landed his second free in the forty-ninth minute to restore a five point lead for The Harps.
However, the last ten minutes of the game was all about the Rathdowney-Errill comeback as they scored four frees and a point from play to leave the full time scoreline at 1-07 to 0-10. Michael Lanigan was replaced by Conor Brophy with only a few minutes left on the clock, but The Harps will rue missed frees that could have won the game, equally though they’ll be pleased with a draw as Rathdowney-Errill had two chances to win this game in the dying minutes, only to hit wides much to the delight of the home crowd in attendance.
The Harps maintain pole position in the League with seven points from their opening four games and have a break until May 6th when they will welcome Camross to Durrow for the fifth round.
The Harps: 1 – Peter Walsh; 2 – David Doheny; 3 – Daniel Comerford; 4 – Shane Phelan; 5 – John Prior; 6 – Padraig Delaney; 7 – Shane Fitzpatrick; 8 – Ronan Delahunty; 9 – Richie Saunders; 10 – Eoin Clancy; 11 – Conor Deegan; 12 – Pat Walshe; 13 – Ciaran Comerford; 14 – John Brophy; 15 – Michael Lanigan.
Substitutions made: 46mins off: Eoin Clancy on: Padraic Dunne; 57mins off: Michael Lanigan on: Conor Brophy.
Scorers: John Brophy 1-01; Michael Lanigan 0-02f; Ciaran Comerford 0-02f; Pat Walshe 0-01; Eoin Clancy 0-01.