Jul 222018

The Harps welcomed Abbeyleix to Durrow for this first round of the Junior A Hurling Championship. It was a fine evening for hurling with temperatures into the mid-20s accompanied with calm conditions under a cloudy sky. However, the ongoing drought conditions meant a very hard playing surface for both teams. 

Abbeyleix were quickest of the mark and registered their first point from a free in the first minute and it took a further five minutes for another score in a low-scoring first half. That score came for The Harps from the stick of Conor Brophy who commanded the midfield along side Danny Delahunty.

In the mid-part of this first half, both teams traded points from placed ball with Brian Clancy on target for the homeside. In the twenty-first minute the first green flag of the game was raised when Garth Singh broke through the Abbeyleix defence and blasted to the net. Abbeyleix responded with two pointed frees before half time to leave the score at just 1-02 to 0-04 at the short whistle with both sides guilty of some wayward shooting.

The second half opened strong for The Harps with a point from play by Fionn Whelan who was causing the Abbeyleix defence all sorts of trouble. Indeed, Niall Brophy pointed moments later from play, however referee Anthony Costigan over-ruled his umpire and scratched the score. Abbeyleix scored a point from play in the third minute, as the tempo of the game increased and accuracy improved. The next five minutes proved prosperous for The Harps as they hit four unanswered points in a row – Conor Brophy getting a brace (one from a free, one from play) and Brian Clancy and Niall Brophy pointing from play to give The Harps a five point lead heading into the middle of the second half.

Abbeyleix got two points from play to keep in touch and at this stage, an injured Pauric Dunne was replaced by Evan Deegan mid way through this second half. In the forty-seventh minute The Harps got a much needed boost when Niall Brophy scored a cracker of a goal to open up a six point lead. Even Deegan followed up with a long range point from the resulting puckout and Abbeyleix looked destined to receive a hiding. However, credit to Abbeyleix as they battled back hard and scored 2-01 in the last ten minutes, however it wasn’t enough as an Evan Deegan free and two points from play by Eoghan Doheny and Garth Singh made for a three point winning margin at the full time whistle: The Harps 2-11 v 2-08 Abbeyleix.

The Harps will find out on Monday morning, who, where and when they will play the second round of the Championship.

1 – Justin Brophy; 2 – Eoin Sullivan; 3 – Sean Cahill; 4 – Ciaran Costigan; 5 – John Dunne; 6 – Daniel Delahunty;  7 – Cathal Phelan; 8 – Conor Brophy; 9 – Eoghan Doheny; 10 – Brian Clancy; 11 – Rory Moore; 12 – Pauric Dunne; 13 – Garth Singh; 14 – Fionn Whelan; 15 – Niall Brophy. Subs: Evan Deegan for Pauric Dunne (injured) 47mins.

Jul 212018

The Harps Senior Hurlers started their championship campaign with a comfortable ten point victory over Shanahoe/Ballypickas on Friday evening. Played in Rathdowney on a nice evening for hurling, The Harps started with the breeze at their backs but endured a nervous opening 5 minutes.

Indeed it was S/B who opened the scoring with a point before a long range effort from Shane Fitzpatrick settled The Harps. With the early jitters gone, The Harps hit 1-04 without reply as their purple patch threatened to end the game as a contest. Two long range frees by Mick Lanigan pushed our lads ahead before smart play by Ciaran Comerford set up John Brophy to goal from close range.

Ciaran then added a point from play before another free was slotted by Lanigan. Credit to S/B though who refused to wilt and hit 5 points themselves to get right back into the game with Lanigan and Brophy tagging further points for The Harps. A tough task was to become a mountain to climb for S/B however when their wing forward received a straight red card for an off the ball incident.

Another Comerford point and a goal from Richie Saunders after some sublime skill from John Brophy, gave the scoreboard a far better look at half time, reading The Harps 2-09 S/B 0-07.

Scores were traded freely as the second half started with Lanigan continuing to punish any indiscipline as The Harps began to dominate. Eoin Clancy and Richie Saunders sent over fine scores from play while in defence Podge Delaney was hoovering up every loose ball as the spare man. The industrious work of midfielders David Doheny and Ronan Delahunty was rewarded with a point apiece from play as the game neared the final whistle.

It was left to Eoin Clancy to finish off the scoring however and it is great to see Eoin back after an unlucky run of injuries. The final whistle sounded to leave the score standing at The Harps 2-19 S/B 0-15. This was a very encouraging display by The Harps who have worked extremely hard in training all year. The fitness and work-rate were exemplary and if they can become more disciplined in the tackle they will be a tough team to beat.

The Harps: 1.Ross Young. 2.Shane Phelan. 3.Conor Dunne. 4.Tommy Moore. 5.Shane Fitzpatrick. 6.Padraig Delaney. 7.Daniel Comerford. 8.David Doheny. 9.Ronan Delahunty. 10.Darren Maher. 11.Richie Saunders. 12.Mick Lanigan. 13.Conor Deegan. 14.John Brophy. 15.Ciaran Comerford.

Jun 142018

The Harps Junior A hurlers, plying their trade in Division 2 of the league welcomed Clough-Ballacolla to Durrow on Thursday night last in the sixth round of the league. Clough-Ballacolla who are top of the table came to Durrow with four wins and a draw against opposition elsewhere in this division. The Harps on the other hand had picked up two wins against Castletown and Shanahoe were needing a win here to have any chance of making the league semi-final.

It was a fine evening with light winds making conditions ideal for hurling, and indeed a thriller of a game ensued from the throw-in. After six minutes, both sides were level at 0-03 a piece with Gareth Singh, Eoghan Doheny and Ross Young all pointing from play as both sides were impeccable in their long range shooting efforts. Over the following eight minutes, Clough-Ballacolla added three further points from play, but Ross Young kept the home side in it with a ’65 and two frees converted to see out the first quarter.

The Harps then seemed to switch off for the next twelve minutes as Clough-Ballacolla scored at will in a very intense purple patch that yielded 3-06 for the visitors putting the homeside 15 points in arrears – the scoreline: The Harps 0-06 v 3-12 Clough-Ballacolla with just four minutes remaining in the half. The Harps management though encouraged the team to ignore the scoreboard and battle hard, and indeed The Harps did. In the 26th minute, Eoghan Doheny carved out a beautiful goal from play that lifted the homeside’s morale. From the resulting puck-out The Harps went on the attack again and when Garth Singh was pulled down on the edge of the square, Ross Young buried the ball to the net to continue the comeback. Half time: The Harps 2-06 v 3-12 Clough-Ballacolla.

In the second half The Harps continued their comeback, firstly with a pointed Ross Young free, then Garth Singh and Pauric Dunne both raised green flags followed by a Shane Donoghue point from play to leave the homeside just a point in arrears with only five minutes gone in the half! (The Harps 4-08 v 3-12 Clough-Ballacolla). Following that score, the management introduced Michael Lanigan for Rory Moore. Clough-Ballacolla scored a point from play soon after as they sought to stave off this strong Harps comeback, however the resulting long range puckout was worked to Garth Singh who was pulled down on the edge of the square and up stepped Ross Young to plant the ball to the net and give the homeside the lead – The Harps 5-08 v 3-13 Clough-Ballacolla.

Clough-Ballacolla replied with a point from play before Ciaran Costigan replaced Darren Maher for the homeside. Ross Young continued to dominate the scoresheet with a ’65 in the forty fourth minute as the game entered a nip-and-tuck phase. Eoghan Doheny, Ross Young and Michael Lanigan all pointed from play over the next ten minutes whilst Clough-Ballacolla managed just two points from play in this period giving the homeside support great hope of grabbing a win as the clock wound down with a two point lead. However, Clough-Ballacolla staged a massive comeback and with two minutes of normal time remaining, they grabbed a goal and scored two further points from play to go back in front. 

On the stroke of full time, Michael Lanigan won a free on the edge of the square, however his shot went agonisingly over the bar by inches to leave two between the sides again. Into injury time Clough-Ballacolla grabbed three unanswered points from play to run out five point winners on a scoreline of The Harps 5-13 v 4-21 Clough-Ballacolla. Overall, The Harps can be proud of their hard work in clawing back a fifteen point deficit and going two points in front, however they will be equally disappointed in losing this tie after such an incredible turnaround. The Harps travel to Trumera next Wednesday, June 20th for a 7.30pm throw-in as this Division 2 League enters it’s final round.

The Harps: 1 – Liam Dunphy; 2 – Cathal Phelan; 3 – Sean Cahill; 4 – Eoin Sullivan; 5 – Conor Brophy; 6 – Daniel Delahunty; 7 – John Dunne; 8 – Padraig Dunne; 9 – Brian Clancy; 10 – Ross Young; 11 – Rory Moore; 12 – Eoghan Doheny; 13 – Garth Singh; 14 – Shane Donohue; 15 – Darren Maher.

Subs: 38mins off: Rory Moore – on: Michael Lanigan; 43mins off: Darren Maher – on: Ciaran Costigan.

Scorers: Ross Young 2-07  (2-05f); Eoghan Doheny 1-02; Garth Singh 1-01; Padraig Dunne 1-00; Michael Lanigan 0-02 (0-01f); Shane Donohue 0-01.

May 032018

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.

Apr 152018

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.

Apr 082018

Following on from their opening two rounds where The Harps overcame Abbeyleix and Portlaoise, Castletown awaited the visit of The Harps on a fine Sunday evening for a 6pm throw-in. Following heavy rains on Friday morning on top of a recent wet run of weather, the pitch, like many others around the county was wet and very heavy underfoot. However, both teams rose to the occasion and gave a very entertaining challenge.

The game began in a high tempo affair with both sides trading points in rapid fire fashion. In the first ten minutes, The Harps scored five points to Castletown’s four to give the visitors a slender lead. Michael Lanigan was first to score with a long range point from play. Ciaran Comerford converted two frees in the period with Lanigan on target again from play and Pat Walshe adding a great point from play under strong pressure.

The second ten minutes of this first half saw Castletown dominate with a point from play and two converted frees while Ciaran Comerford converted a free for The Harps. In the final ten minutes of the first half, Castletown edged further ahead with a pointed free. At this point, The Harps manager Fintan Deegan looked to his bench and brought on Fionn Whelan for Padraic Dunne. In the closing stages of the half, Ciaran Comerford pointed a free followed by a 65 from Podge Delaney to leave the sides on 0-08 each at the short whistle.

The start of the second half was again high-tempo with The Harps attacking strong, however three wides in a row was unjust rewards for their efforts. Five minutes in Michael Lanigan popped over a free to steady The Harps and lay a foundation for them to build upon.

The Harps were playing well at this stage of the game and in the sixth minute Ciaran Comerford fired over a fine long-range point from play to stretch the lead to two. However, Castletown were not lying down and went on the attack from the resulting puckout and drew a free which was converted to leave the scoreline at 0-10 to 0-09 after forty minutes in.

The second ten minute spell of this second half saw both teams attack, however both sets of defences were well on top and gave very little away. Michael Lanigan had to convert a free from fifty yards out to land a point in the 45th minute while Castletown followed up with a point from play in the 49th. In the final ten minutes The Harps upped a gear and attacked with vigour – John Brophy leading the way in the 50th with a fine point from play in a tight angle. Lanigan converted a free in the 51st before Fintan Deegan introduced Eoin Clancy for Pat Walshe in the 54th.

The final five minutes of the game saw The Harps outscore Castletown 0-03 to 0-01. Castletown pointed a thirty yard free in the 55th minute. In the closing minutes, Eoin Clancy scored a point from play drawing huge cheers from the big crowd of Harps supporters on the sidelines. The puckout from Clancy’s point went straight to Lanigan who smacked it back over the bar to even more applause from the supporters. The final point of the game went to David Doheny, the corner back who made a burst out to his own 65 and launched a monster strike over the bar to seal an important win for The Harps. The full time score: The Harps 0-16 v 0-11 Castletown.

The Harps welcome Rathdowney-Errill to Durrow next Sunday, April 15th in the fourth round for a 2pm throw-in.

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 – Padraic Dunne; 11 – Conor Deegan; 12 – Pat Walshe; 13 – Ciaran Comerford; 14 – John Brophy; 15 – Michael Lanigan.

Substitutions: 23mins off: Padraic Dunne on: Fionn Whelan; 54mins off: Pat Walshe on: Eoin Clancy.

The Harps scorers: Michael Lanigan 0-06 (0-03f); Ciaran Comerford 0-05 (0-04f); Pat Walshe 0-01; Padraig Delaney 0-01 (’65); John Brophy 0-01; Eoin Clancy 0-01; David Doheny 0-01.

Apr 072018

The Harps Junior A Hurlers welcomed Slieve Bloom to Durrow on Saturday evening for a 6.30pm throw-in of this second round fixture in the Laois GAA Division 2 hurling league. It was a calm evening but a slow moving shower moved in overhead just as the game got underway making for very heavy underfoot conditions.

The Harps started brightly with Kieran Freeman opening the home-side’s scoring account with a well taken point from play in the first minute. However, Slieve Bloom took control of the game for much of the first half following up with two points from play, followed by three converted frees and a ’65 to command a five point lead after twenty two minutes. The Harps to their credit battled hard, however and Niall Brophy popped over a fine point before half time to leave the scoreboard reading Slieve Bloom 0-06 v 0-02 The Harps.

In the opening minute of the second half, disaster struck for The Harps when Slieve Bloom cut through the defence and blasted to the net to raise the first green flag of the game. Credit though to The Harps who refused to throw in the towel and gave Slieve Bloom plenty of it in this second half. Evan Deegan pointed a free and followed up with a point from play to reduce the deficit to six, however Slieve Bloom clawed back a point from play eight minutes in. Justin Brophy in goals, launched a long puckout down on the Slieve Bloom halfback line which was won by Niall Brophy who rounded several players in defence before offloading to Evan Deegan who fired home to the net to give The Harps real hope of a comeback. 1-04 to 1-07.

Slieve Bloom though didn’t let the conceded goal set them back, and replied with a converted free and a point from play to nudge five points clear once more. It was real nip-and-tuck stuff for the remainder of the second half with The Harps battling hard to catch Slieve Bloom who seemed capable of keeping a three or four point margin clear of their competitors. Shane Donohue fired over two excellent long range points from play either side of an Evan Deegan free whilst Slieve Bloom popped over two of their own from play as both teams gave it their all.

Midway through the second half, Niall Brophy was replaced by Ciaran Costigan as manager Liam Clancy looked to freshen things up on the field. Then in the final ten minutes, Kieran Freeman scored a point from play and took over free taking duties when Evan Deegan was replaced by Johnny Doyle to convert The Harps ninth point of the game. Slieve Bloom kept the four point advantage with a free and a point from play in the closing stages to leave the full time score at Slieve Bloom 1-13 v 1-09 The Harps. Credit though to The Harps who worked hard throughout and probably deserved a little more than the scoreline suggests. The Harps travel to Mountmellick next Friday night for a 6.45pm throw-in.

The Harps: 1 – Justin Brophy; 2 – Eoghan Doheny; 3 – Sean Cahill; 4 – Cathal Phelan; 5 – Conor Brophy; 6 – Daniel Delahunty; 7 – Shane Donohue; 8 – Eoin Sullivan; 9 – Rory Moore; 10 – Darren Maher; 11 – Kieran Freeman; 12 – Brian Clancy; 13 – Evan Deegan; 14 – Fionn Whelan; 15 – Niall Brophy.

Subs: 44mins – off: Niall Brophy on: Ciaran Costigan; 53mins – off: Evan Deegan on: Johnny Doyle.

The Harps Scorers: Evan Deegan  1-03 (0-2f); Kieran Freeman  0-03 (0-1f); Shane Donohue 0-02; Niall Brophy 0-01.

Apr 012018

The Harps Senior Hurlers welcomed Portlaoise to Durrow on a bitterly cold Easter Sunday afternoon for a 2pm throw-in. The weather remained dry throughout the game but a bitterly cold east wind made it rather unpleasant for players, officials and supporters alike. However, to their credit – supporters came in good numbers to cheer their respective sides in what was an entertaining and keenly contested challenge.

Just like in their previous game, The Harps allowed the opposition to get the better start and stern pressure from Portlaoise earned themselves a ’65 in the first minute of the game which they converted with the assistance of the breeze. It didn’t take The Harps long to get on the scoresheet though and Ciaran Comerford showed class in popping over a lovely point from out on the wing into the breeze to level affairs after four minutes.

Portlaoise though established a two point lead in as many minutes with a free followed up quickly with a point from play. Ciaran Comerford though was starting to prove a thorn in the side of Portlaoise and he converted a free which was awarded from a foul on him in the ninth minute. Portlaoise though were keen to continue their dominance of this opening period to the game and scored two quick fire points in the tenth minute to push the visitors three points out in front – The Harps 0-02 v 0-05 Portlaoise after ten minutes.

In the twelfth minute, Podge Delaney converted a long range free to give the home side a boost – but then disaster struck when Conor Dunne pulled up with an injury and had to be replaced by Daniel Comerford. Portlaoise though regained their three point advantage from play shortly after the substitution was made. The Harps began to settle in the fifteenth minute with two points, one a huge long range effort from Ronan Delahunty which was followed up with a free from Ciaran Comerford. Portlaoise then scored two points – either side of a great point by John Prior – one a free and the other from play to leave the scoreline on 0-08 to 0-06 at twenty minutes in.

The end of the first half saw John Brophy score a fine point following a Portlaoise point from a placed ball. Indeed Portlaoise restored their three point advantage with a long range point from play as half time drew nearer. However, on the stroke of half time, Pat Walshe found himself at the end of some clever passages of play to burst through the Portlaoise defence and kick the sliothar to the net to bring the home side level for the first time in the match. Half Time – The Harps 1-07 v 0-10 Portlaoise.

Manager Fintan Deegan brought his side into the dressing room for the interval and whatever was said must have been very inspirational – within fifteen seconds of the starting in the second half, John Brophy had the ball in the back of the Portlaoise net, much to the delight of the home support. Portlaoise replied with a pointed free, however Ciaran Comerford hit a purple patch and popped over four unanswered points, two from play and two from frees to open up a six point lead for his home team. 

The Harps continued their brilliant spell with a third goal in the 38th minute – Brophy’s second major of the day – to give the home side a strong nine point lead making it a twelve point turn around from before Walshe’s major just on the stroke of half time. The Harps dominant spell though came to an end as the tempo of the game seemed to ease up and this allowed Portlaoise to chip away on the nine point gulf that had opened up before them. Portlaoise to their credit worked hard and were rewarded with frees, three of which they converted in the following ten minutes.

With the cold weather taking it’s toll on the players, manager Fintan Deegan looked to the bench to freshen things up and brought on Eoin Clancy and Richie Saunders for Michael Lanigan and Conor Brophy respectively. The Harps then scored two further points from play over the following ten minutes from the sticks of Ronan Delahunty and Ciaran Comerford while Portlaoise could not find any way back thanks to the excellent defensive work of Podge Delaney and John Prior who worked tirelessly to snuff out any way through.

In the final few minutes of the match, The Harps management made further substitutions with Niall Brophy and Owen Doheny replacing Ciaran Comerford and Padraic Dunne respectively. The Harps added two further points with Ronan Delahunty driving over a monster long range point from play whilst Ciaran Comerford capped off an excellent afternoon with another pointed free to give the home side an emphatic ten point win: The Harps 3-15 v 0-14 Portlaoise.

The Harps: 1 – Peter Walsh; 2 – Shane Phelan; 3 – Conor Dunne; 4 – David Doheny; 5 – John Prior; 6 – Padraig Delaney; 7 – Conor Brophy; 8 – Shane Fitzpatrick; 9 – Ronan Delahunty; 10 – Pauric Dunne; 11 – John Brophy; 12 – Conor Deegan; 13 – Ciaran Comerford; 14 – Pat Walshe; 15 – Michael Lanigan.

Subs: 12mins –  off: Conor Dunne on: Daniel Comerford
45mins –  off: Conor Brophy on: Richie Saunders
47mins –  off: Michael Lanigan on: Eoin Clancy
58mins – off: Ciaran Comerford on: Niall Brophy
58mins – off: Padraic Dunne on: Owen Doheny

Scorers: Ciaran Comerford 0-08 (0-04f); John Brophy 2-01; Ronan Delahunty 0-03; Pat Walshe 1-00; Padraig Delaney 0-01f; John Prior 0-01; Richie Saunders 0-01f.

The Harps travel to Castletown next Sunday, April 8th for a 2pm throw-in as they meet the home side there in the third round. Overall The Harps will be well pleased to be joint top of the table following their two wins.