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.

Mar 252018

Fintan Deegan encourages the team.

Fr Breen Park was the venue for this opening round of the Laois GAA Hurling League Division 1 encounter between The Harps and Abbeyleix. Weather conditions were dry throughout with the sunshine breaking through at times and this encouraged a good travelling support for the visitors to Abbeyleix for the 4pm throw-in. Abbeyleix though got a dream start when a long range ball was broken down in the square and pulled on to beat Peter Walsh to the net inside the first two minutes. Abbeyleix followed their green flag major with a point to open up a four point lead inside the first five minutes. 

It took The Harps nine minutes to open their account when Ciaran Comerford fired over from forty yards and then The Harps began to settle and in the tenth minute Podge Delaney fired over a long range free to cut the deficit to two points. The Harps were now taking firm control of the game, putting together clinical passing moves and this resulted in John Boggy Brophy blasting a fine goal just twelve minutes in. The Harps 1-02 v 1-01 Abbeyleix.

For the rest of the first half, The Harps totally dominated proceedings and stretched their lead with six further points – Shane Fitzpatrick, Richie Saunders and John Brophy all pointing from play while Ciaran Comerford popped over three placed balls. Abbeyleix could only manage two pointed frees in the second quarter of the game and this left the match at 1-08 to 1-03 on the stroke of half time.

The second half opened with a flurry of scores, an Abbeyleix point from play was responded to in kind by John Brophy and Ciaran Comerford. Indeed Comerford was on hand to follow up with two further points – both frees, followed by an Abbeyleix free to leave the score at 1-12 to 1-06 just ten minutes into this second half. Arguably the score of the game came in the 40th minute when Richie Saunders put over a superb point from a sideline cut much to the appreciation of the following supporters: 1-13 to 1-06.

The middle ten minutes of the second half was pretty much a battle of the free takers with Ciaran Comerford popping over two, only for these to be responded to by Abbeyleix maintaining the scoring difference. Into the final ten minutes, Ciaran Comerford and John Brophy both landed points from play, however these were cancelled out by Abbeyleix frees. As full time approached, a stoppage in play owing to a heavy knock to Ciaran Comerford resulted in six minutes of additional time. In this period, Abbeyleix outscored the Harps three points to one (Podge Delaney free) to reduce the deficit to five points – The Harps 1-18 v 1-13 Abbeyleix at full time.

Overall The Harps can be happy with their opening game – dominating for long spells of the match and stringing together some good passages of play. The Harps welcome Portlaoise to Durrow next Easter Sunday at 2pm for the second round of this Division 1 League whilst best wishes is extended to Ciaran Comerford who picked up a nasty knock in today’s game.

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

Subs: 44mins off: Padraic Dunne on: Michael Lanigan; 55mins off: Conor Deegan on: Conor Brophy; 59 mins (blood sub) Ciaran Comerford on: Owen Doheny.

Scorers: Ciaran Comerford 0-09 (0-07f); John Brophy 1-03; Richie Saunders 0-02 (0-01sc); Shane Fitzpatrick 0-01.

Abbeyleix: 1-13 (0-09f).


Jul 282017

The Harps Junior C hurlers travelled to Shanahoe this evening to face Rosenallis in the Championship Semi-Final after seeing off Castletown (5pts win) and Graiguecullen (3pts win) in the opening round and the quarter-finals respectively. Rosenallis on the other hand made their way via wins over Camross (9pts win) and Clough-Ballacolla (31pts win) to make it to the last four.

Rosenallis started brightly with the wind in their sails and had three points up within five minutes – two of those from placed balls. Evan Deegan opened The Harps account after six minutes with a pointed free and this was quickly followed by a point from play by James Larkin from the middle of the field to give The Harps supporters who travelled in large numbers something to shout about.

Evan Deegan and Albert Townsend followed Larkin’s lead and popped over two further fine points from play to put The Harp’s noses in front with ten minutes on the clock. Rosenallis though were not lying down and came fighting back and equalised two minutes later with a long range wind assisted point from play. Rosenallis were beginning to take control of the game using the wind advantage to bypass the Harps half-back line and when a high ball dropped short responsibility fell to Emmett Fitzpatrick to get in a block to ward off a goal chance resulting in a 65 which Rosenallis converted half way through the first period.

Padraig Henderson made positional changes following that converted 65 to counter Rosenallis’ attack and The Harps worked hard to ensure they stayed scoreless for the next ten minutes. Rosenallis though to their credit worked hard to break down the Harps defence but could only muster three scores in the remainder of the half, one free and two well earned points from play. The Harps tried hard to engineer scores for themselves but found the Rosenallis defence equally as tough with a wind behind them. So at half time it was Rosenallis 0-08 v 0-04 The Harps.

The Harps opened the scoring in the second half with a converted free from Evan Deegan. Both sides traded frees over the next two minutes, Deegan – again the scorer in chief from placed balls. With the first ten minutes of the second half almost over, Henderson called on the services of Collie Dunphy and Ronan Quinn who replaced Kevin Madden and Emmett Dunne respectively eitherside of a Tom Dillon point. However, Rosenallis were winning frees around the Harps 45 line and converting them to keep their noses in front at 0-10 to 0-07.

The changes seemed to give the Harps a boost and they scored the next two points over the following five minutes – one a 65 and the other a free which Evan Deegan converted with confidence. The Harps were playing well with some good passes being strung together but as sure as the saying goes – a game can change in a minute – a horrible minute came to pass for The Harps. Firstly, a fine bit of defending from Shane Brophy seen a Rosenallis wide waved for a 65 which was converted. Then the resulting puckout was lost by The Harps in midfield allowing Rosenallis to capitalise and make a storming run along the wing, pass clinically to an unmarked player who gave Justin Brophy no chance and rattle the net.

Suddenly with just over ten minutes left, The Harps were five points down and had a massive battle on their hands. The Harps responded with another Evan Deegan free four minutes later. The Harps battled hard for scores that just wouldn’t come – credit to Rosenallis who worked very hard to resist a determined Harps attacking sextet. With five minutes left, both sides traded points but with the clock ticking down the Harps went hunting for goals that never materialised and at the final whistle it stood The Harps 0-11 v 1-12 Rosenallis.

The Harps will undoubtedly be dissapointed but they can hold their heads high on a fine battling display. Indeed this team showed plenty of courage, fight and passion throughout their campaign which all the Harps supporters are proud of. 

The Harps: Justin Brophy, Diarmuid Irwin, Shane Brophy, Emmett Fitzpatrick, Joe Ryan, Sean Cahill, Emmett Dunne, James Larkin, Freddie Townsend, Tom Dillon, Brian Farrell, Kevin Madden, Evan Deegan, Albert Townsend, Alan O’Connell.

Scorers: Evan Deegan 0-08 (0-07f); James Larkin, Tom Dillon and Albert Townsend 0-01 each.

Jul 212017

Castletown sideline cut defended by The Harps

The Harps Junior hurlers travelled to Shanahoe  this evening to take on Castletown in their opening championship match. It was a damp and breezy evening but that did not take from the performances in the game that was about to take place. The Harps opted to play with the breeze and down the slight hill on the Shanahoe field that was in top condition for the night that was in it.

The Harps started brightly with a point from play by Niall Brophy in the opening minute – indeed Niall Brophy was on good form throughout the night and scored another point a minute later. In the sixth minute Ross Young pointed are free from a tight angle to put the Harps three in front – much to the delight of the following crowd. In the ninth minute Niall Brophy scored another monster point from well back out in the field to put The Harps four clear in front. Indeed things got even better for The Harps a minute later when Connor Deegan received a beautiful pass in behind the Castletown defence to shoot the sliothar to the net and raise a green flag.

Castletown finally got on the scoresheet after 11 minutes when they scored from a placed ball. Indeed Ross Young was sharp on frees all night and when he got on his second free and converted it in the 13th minute The Harps were seven clear in front. Niall Brophy was next to score with a beautiful point in the sixteenth minute from well out the field. In the 19th minute Ross Young added another free to put The Harps nine points clear in front and in the 23rd minute the Castletown goalkeeper pulled off a master save from a Conor Deegan rasper shot which was surely goal bound but ended up over the bar to put The Harps 1-08 to 0-01 in front.

Ross Young was not only free taker on the night as he was able to score from play with a fantastic score to put The Harps 1-09 to 0-01 in front late in this first half. Castletown though on the stroke of half-time scored a point from a free to leave ten points between the sides at half time. The Harps 1-09 v 0-02 Castletown. The second half started with Castletown scoring a point from the free to bring themselves back in to the game a bit, however Ross Young also converted a free to restore the half time difference.

There was no scores for around 10 minutes as Castletown battled hard to creak down The Harps defence, but time and time again Cathal Phelan and company cleared ball to deny them any chance. Halfway through the second half Castletown scored another point for my free to reduce the deficit to 9 points once again before a little bit of a disaster struck for The Harps in the 16th minute when a Castletown long ball slipped through the hand of Liam Dunphy and into The Harps net – the wet conditions taking their toll. This gave Castletown renewed hope of salvaging something from the game. The Harps 1-10 v 1-04 Castletown.

In the 22nd minute Castletown edged a little closer when they scored another point for free however Ross Young cancelled that point out in the 24th minute with another free. A minute later Castletown scored another point from the free to leave five between the sides. Castletown were pushing hard to rescue the game and in the 27th minute scored yet another point from the free to leave just four between the sides with three minutes left to go. However The Harps kept their noses in front and Ross Young scored another free right on the last minute of the game to put five between the sides once more.

There was five minutes of added time played however neither side were able to add further to the scores they had already accumulated and so it finished The Harps 1–12 to 1–07. Overall The Harps played very well tonight with some fantastic scores from Niall Brophy, Ross Young and Conor Deegan. The Harps played some very clever hurling at times with some great passes and stylish play. The management will be pleased with how they performed as they prepare for next game in approximately two weeks time. The Harps must await results elsewhere to see who their opposition will be.

The Harps: 1 – Liam Dunphy; 2 – Rory Doyle; 3 – Cathal Phelan; 4 – Jack McEvoy; 5 – David Doheny; 6 – Daniel Delahunty; 7 – Shane Fitzpatrick; 8 – Rory Moore; 9 – Eoin Sullivan; 10 – Darren Maher; 11 – Ross Young; 12 – Johnny Doyle; 13 – John Lawless; 14 – Niall Brophy; 15 – Conor Deegan.

Scorers: Ross Young 0-07 (0-06f); Niall Brophy 0-04; Conor Deegan 1-01.

Jul 192017

The Junior C hurlers welcomed Graiguecullen to Durrow this evening for the championship quarter final following the host’s opening round win against Castletown. The visitors Graiguecullen meanwhile had accounted for Ballypickas in their opening round and like The Harps they also had five points to spare in their win. It was a cool but sunny evening following a spell of rain with a brisk northwesterly blowing which the visitors opted to play with in the opening half.

Straight from the throw-in Graiguecullen won a free which was converted by the keeper – making it one of the quickest points ever scored in Junior C hurling, and while there was a nice crowd in attendance unfortunately there was nobody from the Guinness Book of Records to verify that one. Clearly buoyed on by their lightning fast start the Graiguecullen forward unit responded positively with a point from play moments later. 0-02 to 0-00 after two minutes.

 The home side settled though and in the third minute Freddie Townsend popped over a fine point to give the home crowd something to cheer. It would though be ten minutes before the next score would be registered as both teams looked to stamp their authority on proceedings and shape the game going forward. However, both sides were guilty of hitting wides when rare scoring opportunities presented themselves. Graiguecullen claimed the third point of the night from a placed ball before another scoreless drought ensued. 

Graiguecullen though could thank their goalkeeper for pulling off a great save in the nineteenth minute when Alan O’Connell pulled the trigger for what was a sure goal. Evan Deegan fired over a free in the 20th minute to cut the visitors lead to the minimum before Brian Farrell scored another beauty of a point to level the game in the 23rd. Farrell landed that point of the night from midfield following Joe Ryan’s long burst out of defence and had to work the ball back to Farrell who made no mistake.

With half time approaching, The Harps were beginning to get on top in this quarter final and in the 27th minute Kevin Madden was on hand to pounce and drill the ball to the net following a scramble in the square. Graiguecullen were behind for the first time in the game and went hunting for a reply and they cut the deficit to two on the stroke of half time with a fine long range point from play. Half time: The Harps 1-03 v 0-04 Graiguecullen.

The second half opened with The Harps smashing a superb goal from the stick of Albert Townsend in the thirty third minute – Albert made a fine run cutting through the Graiguecullen defence and burying the ball low and hard into the net leaving the Graiguecullen keeper no chance. Whatever Henno said to the lads at half time certainly worked as The Harps put the foot on the gas and clocked up further scores – Tom Dillon and Evan Deegan all landing points from out the field to push the home side seven points in front by the 36th minute.

The management looked to the line in the 37th minute and introduced Diarmuid Irwin for Joe Ryan. Graiguecullen to their credit arrested the slide and in the fortieth minute scored a fine long range effort. 2-05 to 0-05. Following Albert Townsend’s point from play in the 45th minute the management made their second substitution of the night introducing Shane Keown for Tom Dillon. Graiguecullen responded two minutes later with a pointed free to leave six between the sides again.

A facial injury to Emmett Fitzpatrick forced him off temporarily as a blood sub in the 51st minute. Graiguecullen to their credit kept fighting despite their six point shortfall and a clock careering towards the finish and The Harps proved strong to breakdown in the closing stages with all back lines and midfield alike keeping the men from the southeast of the county at bay. In the 55th minute, Evan Deegan landed a free from out on the wing to grab what was surely the insurance point.

But, Graiguecullen stuck to their task and were duly rewarded in the 58th minute with a goal that was all too similar to the Harps opening green flag almost an hour earlier. The Harps introduced further subs with Tomas Woods and Chris Dalton replacing Albert Townsend and Alan O’Connell respectively.  The subs almost had goals each in the injury time spell – Dalton’s rasper went inches wide and almost took the head off the umpire in the process while Tomas Woods was unlucky not to have a green flag following Freddie Townsend’s pin-point pass.

Graiguecullen were refusing to give up and throughout the five minutes of added time they hunted in packs seeking a goal but the Harps defence was resilient. In the 64th minute the visitors won a free in front of goal and their keeper made the trek up to have a go – but the Harps defence deflected it over for a point leaving just a goal between the sides. However, there was no time left for Graiguecullen as the referee sounded the long whistle in the 65th minute and The Harps march on to the semi finals. Full time: The Harps 2-07 v 1-07 Graiguecullen.

The Harps now enter the draw along with the other quarter final winners: Rosenallis, Clonaslee and Mountmellick-or-Clonad.

The Harps: