Aug 202014

Harps-V-Castletown-Slieve-Bloom-JFC-2014The Harps Junior Footballers traveled to Portlaoise last Tuesday night to face Castletown-Slieve Bloom in an attempt to qualify for the quarter finals of the Championship. A cool but dry evening with a little breeze made for decent conditions to play football. Castletown-Slieve Bloom were quickest of the mark and registered their first score of the night within a minute of throw-in. The Harps took time to settle and kicked a wide before James Campion kicked over a free after six minutes (see video below) to level affairs.

Castletown-Slieve Bloom hit a purple patch, racing into a five point lead by the twenty-second minute. Three of these points from play and two from frees. The Harps tried to stay in touch but efforts for points went agonisingly wide. In the closing stages of the second half, both sides exchanged scores with Niall Brophy slotting over two fine points from play only to be equaled at the opposite end of the field. Half Time: The Harps 0-03 V 0-08 Castletown-Slieve Bloom.

Ross-Young-Core-Fitness-JFC-2014At half time, The Harps management made one change which saw Alan O’Connell being replaced by David Doheny. The Harps opened the second half at lightning pace and within seconds James Campion had a point from play registered. However, the great start was short lived… a momentary lapse in the Harps’ defence concentration saw CSB launch a shot on goal only for it to rebound off the crossbar and fall perfectly for CSB to have a second attempt. CSB made no mistake this time and Ger Alley was helpless to stop the shot and CBS raised the green flag. Photo: Ross Young of Core Fitness keeps an eye out for injuries.

To be fair to the Harps, most teams would have given up at this stage – but The Harps battled very hard for the remainder of this second half. Within two minutes Niall Brophy kicked a huge point from play and when CSB picked up a yellow card in the 36th minute, James Campion converted the resultant free. Castletown-Slieve Bloom got a point of their own three minutes later to try and stem the Harps revival and give themselves a six point cushion once more. Then The Harps made another change replacing Shane Donoghue with Darren Maher.

Injured-Steven-Thomas-Harps-2014-JFCThe Harps were getting on top and in the 44th minute Sean Bourke battled hard and made a daring run up the field to kick a fine point from the wing-back position. Two frees from James Campion had the Harps back to within three points with just under ten minutes to play. The Harps kept coming at CSB – a point from Niall Brophy and a free from James Campion had the minimum to just one point after 58 minutes. Photo: Steven Thomas looks on, wishing his injury wasn’t keeping him out of the night’s fixture.

CSB defended hard and packed out the defence in the dying minutes while the Harps tried in vein to level the match. An attempt on goal blazed wide and two further point attempts just couldn’t find the target. The youthful CSB despite packing out the defence broke out for a quick counter-attack in the 61st minute to register the final score to dash the hopes of The Harps in progressing. Full Time: The Harps 0-11 v 1-10 Castletown-Slieve Bloom.

The Harps: 1 – Ger Alley; 2 – Shane Phelan; 3 – James Shortall; 4 – Alan O’Connell; 5 – Shane Brophy; 6 – Tommy Moore; 7 – Sean Bourke; 8 – Pat Walsh; 9 – Ronan Delahunty; 10 – Shane Donoghue; 11 – Albert Townsend; 12 – Niall Brophy; 13 – Bernard Geraghty; 14 – Paul Shortall; 15 – James Campion.

Subs: off: Alan O Connell  on: David Doheny (30min); off: Shane Donoghue  on: Darren Maher (39 min).

Scorers: James Campion 0-05 (0-04f); Niall Brophy 0-04; Sean Bourke 0-01.

Management’s Thoughts: Manager Gabby Irwin with Selectors David Finnegan and Tommy Walsh praised the team for their efforts in the second half which nearly saw the Harps clinch victory. While being downbeat about exiting the Championship, they felt that the team done well in their second season in Junior A – maintaining the status quo in both league and championship for next year. They urged all players to come back next year to build upon this year and congratulated the players for their commitment throughout the last few months and also wished those involved with hurling and soccer every success in their seasons.

Jul 242014

Tommy-Walsh-Harps-GAA-celebratesThe Junior A Footballers got their Championship campaign off to a dream start when they faced Portlaoise at The Heath GAA grounds on Wednesday night. Portlaoise had won the Division 3 Final against Stradbally by two goals a few weeks ago – so the as the champions of a league division above the Harps who played in Division 4 finishing mid table – Portlaoise were touted to win this tie with some comfort and ease. The weather was very warm with temperatures still above 25c following the hottest day of the year making for draining conditions for both sets of players.

The Harps opened the game at a tremendous pace kicking over four unanswered points inside the opening six minutes. Bernard Geraghty’s opening point was followed by a free kick converted by James Campion. Pat Walsh and Albert Townsend added to the Harps tally to four points. The following seven minutes saw Portlaoise tighten up in defence to quell the Harps attack and launch counter-attacks which yielded a converted free after eight minutes to open the Division 3 Champions account. Portlaoise, on the fourteenth minute, were the beneficiaries of some dubious umpiring when the ball was deemed to have crossed the line in Ger Alley’s goalmouth. Despite protesting, referee Seamus O’Shea sided with his umpire and the goal stood.

James Campion replied with a pointed free to put the Harps back in front once more. A second yellow card for a Portlaoise defender changed the makeup of the game as the Harps now had an extra man, but credit to Portlaoise, they took the setback in their stride and forged ahead with three points from play. James Campion, on the stroke of half time, kicked over another free for the Harps men to end a fourteen minute barren spell to leave the Half Time score: The Harps 0-06 V 1-05 Portlaoise.

At half time, the Harps management seeking to change things around and make better use of the spare man called Mark White ashore and he was replaced by David Doheny. The opening minutes of the second half saw Portlaoise extend their lead with two long range kicks assisted by the light breeze float over Ger Alley’s crossbar. The Harps though, roared back into the game and began to play some very clever football. Their efforts were rewarded when Bernard Geraghty found space on the edge of the square and drilled his shot to the bottom corner of the net to reduce the margin to the minimum.

James Campion leveled matters from the resulting kickout and his long range effort split the posts. From that resulting kick-out, James Lappin landed awkwardly in the middle of the field and had to be substituted off after physio Ross Young treated his injury – best wishes and a speedy recovery is extended to James. Freddie Townsend came on to replace the injured James Lappin. The Harps regained their earlier lead through three James Campion points – two of which were placed balls. Portlaoise were not gone away though and scored two further points to reduce the margin to the minimum once more.

The final six minutes saw the game come down to the wire. The Harps, through Paul Shortall raised another green flag in the twenty-fifth minute to go four points ahead once more. Thenafter, the Harps packed fifteen men behind the ball for the final five minutes to deny Portlaoise who rained down high ball after high ball to try and grab a goal – but to no avail. The Harps held on for a very much unexpected win and progress to the next round. Final Score: The Harps 2-10 V 1-09 Portlaoise.

Harps: 1 – Ger Alley; 2 – Stephen Thomas; 3 – James Shortall; 4 – Alan O Connell; 5 – Shane Brophy; 6 – Tommy Moore; 7 – Sean Bourke; 8 – Pat Walsh; 9 – James Lappin; 10 – James Campion; 11 – Albert Townsend; 12 – Mark White; 13 – Bernard Geraghty; 14 – Paul Shortall; 15 – Niall Brophy.

Subs: David Doheny for Mark White (30min); Freddie Townsend for James Lappin (40min).

Photo: Tommy Walsh celebrates the win!

May 282014

Harps-CrettyardThe Harps footballers welcomed Crettyard to Durrow GAA grounds on Wednesday evening (May 28th) for this the eighth round of the Division 4 Football League. The game was played in perfect conditions under clear blue sky and the only fly in the ointment was the angle of the setting sun which created an inconvenience to the home side in the first half. The visitors started the strongest, determined to make their imprint on the game and they duly did with three rapid fire points in the opening five minutes. The Harps took time to settle and after alot of build-up play they earned a free from 25 metres out in the 8th minute which was converted by James Campion. 

Photo: Pat Walsh calls for Ger Alley to place the kickout in his area…

The score settled the Harps greatly and moments later John Finnegan kicked a long range ball straight over the black spot to secure the home side’s second point. Although the resultant kick-out was won by Crettyard, Steven Thomas was quick to clear ball up field and good teamwork involving Albert Townsend and Bernard Geraghty found Darren Maher unmarked on the edge of the square who fisted home the ball to the net to put the Harps ahead, 1-02 to 0-03 after just 13 minutes. The Harps tightened their grip on the game and apart from a 17th minute point from play by Crettyard the home side totally controlled the game for the remainder of the first half.

James Campion scored three points, two from play on the 16th and 19th minutes followed up by a 22nd minute free but the best was still to come for the Harps men before half time. Alan O’Connell made an inspiring run from corner back, up along the wing, seeing off the challenge of two Crettyard men before being dragged down in the square to earn the home-side a penalty. James Campion opted to take the spot kick and piled it low and hard past the Crettyard keeper to raise the second green flag of the night (see video below). The Harps were on a crest of a wave moments later when Mark White found space on the edge of the square to grab the home-side’s third goal of the night before half time. Half Time: The Harps 3-06 V 0-04 Crettyard.

The second half began with a bang that reminded the Harps there was a second half to be fought for as Crettyard blazed in a goal followed by a point from play to reduce the margin to 7pts. The reminder was duly noted by the Harps men as they regained control of proceedings once more. James Campion was scorer in chief with a further two points from play and a free kick to regain the 10pt lead once more. Crettyard grabbed back a fine point from play, but it would be their last score of the game as Steven Thomas and company closed up shop in defence snuffing out every avenue Crettyard approached. Pat Walsh got his name on the scoresheet when he kicked over a huge long range point in the 40th minute.

With the Harps in a commanding position, Gabby Irwin with his selectors Dave Finnegan and Tommy Walsh made substitutions to rest some players who had ran their hearts out for the evening. Alan O’Connell was replaced by Shane Keown in the 44th minute. The game began to slow up somewhat as the evening heat and hard work rate of the Harps began to take it’s toll, but not before Albert Townsend and John Finnegan both raised white flags in the 47th and 54th minute respectively. Mark Kelly replaced the scorer-in-chief James Campion in the 65th minute followed by Daniel Dunne on for Shane Donohue in the 69th minute. The referee soon after sounded the full time whistle and The Harps won on a scoreline of 3-12 to 1-06.

Up Next: The footballers have just one night off as they will travel to Kilcotton to play Borris-Kilcotton on Friday night (May 30th) at 7.45pm. League Table:

Managements Thoughts: Manager Gabby Irwin was delighted with the win and praised the workrate of the team. “It serves to show how we can be a decent team when we do the simple things right – but the lads will have to turn around and face it all again in two nights time which is going to be a tough, tough encounter for them.”

The Harps: 1 – Ger Alley; 2 – Stephen Thomas; 3 – James Shortall; 4 – Alan O’Connell; 5 – Shane Brophy; 6 – Pat Walsh; 7 – Niall Brophy; 8 – Shane Donaghue; 9 – John Finnegan; 10 – James Campion; 11 – Albert Townsend; 12 – Bernard Geraghty; 13 – Darren Maher; 14 – Mark White; 15 – David Doheny.

May 162014

HarpsJFvArles-KilcruiseThe Harps Junior Footballers took on Arles-Kilcruise last night (May 15th) in the sixth round game of Division 4 at Durrow GAA grounds. It was a fine evening for a game of football with hardly a breeze and temperatures nearing 20c under a strong evening sun. Arles-Kilcruise started the game very strongly putting over four points from play, without reply inside the opening ten minutes. The Harps eventually found their rhythm and dominated for the next ten minutes. James Campion opened the home-side’s account with a pointed free. The services of Campion were called upon a few minutes after when Albert Townsend was dragged down outside the rectangle. James duly obliged and kicked over to raise the second white flag for the Harps.

With the first quarter over, Arles were still two points to the fore but the Harps were beginning to ask questions and they got answers through James Campion and David Doheny who both kicked fine points from play to level the score with half time approaching. In fairness, Arles-Kilcruise never panicked and their corner-forward cut across the end line to cut over a fine point to restore the lead. The Harps though would not allow the lead to stand for long and when Mark White caught the resulting kick-out, his run set up Bernard Geraghty to kick over a point. Shane Donoghue followed up with a well taken point from well out the field near half time to give the Harps a vital one-point-cushion going in for the break.

The second half began brilliantly for the Harps with a flurry of well taken scores. David Doheny and Niall Brophy both scored points from play followed by two more in quick succession from the boot of Bernard Geraghty. The Harps were in flying form and moments later Shane Donoghue had the ball in the net after following up on a rebound from a shot on goal. The score read 1-10 to 0-05 after forty minutes. The Harps continued to turn the screw and James Campion pointed a beautiful point from play soon after the goal.

The Harps then made three substitutions at the midway point in the second half. Shane Keown replaced David Doheny in the forwards, Kevin Donoghue replaced Ger Alley in goals and Craig Clear replaced Niall Brophy in the forwards. Before the newcomers had time to settle into the game, Mark White caught a ball and cut through the Arles-Kilcruise defence to blast the ball into the net to raise the second green flag of the night for the home side.  The score now stood at 2-11 to 0-05 and Arles-Kilcruise looked dead and buried.

Credit though must go to the visitors who refused to give up and fought back hard over the next ten minutes scoring 1-03 without reply – of which 1-02 came from play. With ten minutes to go, it was a bridge too far for the visitors and The Harps composed themselves after the backlash to go on an score three points from Lee Campion, James Campion (free) and Mark White to put the game out of reach for the Arles-Kilcruise men who grabbed a late consolation goal from a penalty kick. The full time whistle was sounded and the scoreline read The Harps 2-14 V 2-08 Arles-Kilcruise.

Managements Thoughts: Manager Gabby Irwin was clearly pleased with the win and praised the work effort of the team. Speaking after the game he said “We have alot of matches over the coming two or three weeks, next week we have Ballyroan-Abbey on Wednesday night (May 21st) and that is in Ballyroan – it will be a tough one to win, so if we could get a bit of support behind us it would be a great help.” The Harps have six points from six games and are placed mid-table.

The Harps: 1 – Ger Alley; 2 – Stephen Thomas; 3 – James Shortall; 4 – Donnacha Quinn; 5 – Sean Bourke; 6 – Pat Walsh; 7 – Shane Brophy; 8 – Shane Donaghue9 – Niall Brophy; 10 – Lee Campion; 11 – Albert Townsend; 12 – James Campion; 13 – Bernard Geraghty; 14 – Mark White; 15 – David Doheny.

Apr 232014

Harps-Football-ChatThe Harps traveled to Acragar Park, Mountmellick on Wednesday evening to play their third round game in Division 4. Despite the sunshine, it was a cool breezy evening. The homes side won the toss and opted to play with the wind, a sign of the evening to come where the Harps has no luck at all.

Mountmellick hit the ground running and used the wind to it’s full advantage scoring three unanswered points in the opening five minutes. Worse was to come moments later when Mountmellick maximized on some confusion in the defence to score a goal to put the home side firmly in the driving seat. While some teams would throw in the towl after being hit so hard in the opening few minutes, the Harps lads upped their work rate and began to play some fine football dominating play for the vast majority of the time remaining in that opening half. While the visitors did play some great football, they had no luck whatsoever in the scoring stakes.

Darren Maher was very unlucky not to raise the green flag moments after Mountmellick’s, his effort hit the post and rattled the side-netting. A stern breeze hindered further attempts at scoring with the ball curling just wide several times before James Campion finally hit the target in the 20th minute to raise a white flag. His score spurred on John Finnegan and Darren Maher to score two rapid fire points from play in the following three minutes, with their scores split by a missed goal chance from Paul Shortall which required several Mountmellick defenders to scramble a clearance from the goal-mouth.

With half time approaching, Mountmellick were given a boost when a goal opportunity was well capitalised on to put six between the sides at the short-whistle; The Harps 0-03 v 2-03 Mountmellick. The second half got underway with Mountmellick reasserting their control on proceedings, but could not score in the opening five minutes. With the wind dying down, Mountmellick were able to find the target easier and floated over three quick points in succession. James Campion opened the Harps second half account with a pile-driver from forty yards after ten minutes.

Mountmellick then began to turn the screw on the Harps with four further points, three of which were from play while The Harps drove wide after wide up the other end of the field. Lee Campion scored the final score for the Harps in the 27th minute of the second half, but Mountmellick scored two further points from play before the full time whistle to leave the score at 0-05 to 2-12.

Managements Thoughts: Speaking to after the match a member of the management team said that despite the disappointment in the result, they took encouragement from some of the play, particularly in the opening half when the Harps were on top for long stretches. Alot of unlucky misses cost the Harps.

The Harps: 1 – Shane Donoghue; 2 – Stephen Thomas; 3 – James Shortall; 4 – Alan O Connell (David Doheny on 48th minute); 5 – John Finnegan; 6 – Tommy Moore; 7 – Shane Brophy; 8 – Pat Walsh; 9 – Niall Brophy; 10 – James Campion; 11 – Albert Townsend; 12 – Lee Campion (Shane Walsh on 57th minute); 13 – Darren Maher (Donncha Quinn on 47th minute); 14 – Paul Shortall; 15 – Bernard Geraghty.

Apr 152014

Harps-FootballCastletown-Slieve Bloom footballers traveled to Durrow GAA Grounds on Tuesday evening, April 15th for this second round tie in Division 4 Football. A glorious sunny evening welcomed both teams onto the pitch with a persistent breeze behind the Harps for the opening half.

The Harps used the wind advantage quite well in the first half with Alan O Connell opening the home-side’s account with a point from play. Mark White, Darren Maher and Pat Walsh floated over three points in a row – all from play – on the 10th, 11th and 12th minute respectively.

The Harps were dealt a blow in the 16th minute when James Shortall went down injured and had to be replaced by Freddie Townsend. The Harps would next score in the 22nd and 23rd minute when John Finnegan scored two points, one from play and the other a free. It took CSB until the 25th minute to open their scoring account, but when they did they grabbed a major score. John Finnegan extended the Harps lead with a pointed free on the stroke of half time: The Harps 1-06 v 1-00 CSB.

CSB burst into life for the opening stages of the second half and drove hard at The Harps and in the space of five minutes scored 1-03 to level the game with the wind advantage now behind the visitors. The Harps began to settle after that purple patch for CSB, but still gave away a free to allow CSB take a brief lead 2-04 to 1-06.

The Harps began to tighten up in defence shutting down the CSB flow and worked the ball down the field with Lee Campion and John Finnegan linking up well. The Harps rediscovered their work rate and were rewarded with two frees which John Finnegan converted. CSB though refused to roll over and leveled the score once more with a point from play on the 46th minute.

Darren Maher put the home-side ahead on the 49th minute when he ran on to a beautifully placed pass to kick a fine point from play against the wind from a tight angle. That score lifted the Harps. Shane McCann was most unfortunate to pick up an ankle injury moments later and was replaced by Daniel Dunne. The last ten minutes were fruitful for the Harps with John Finnegan scoring three further points, two of which were frees. Full Time: The Harps 1-12 v 2-05 Castletown-Slieve Bloom.

Managements Thoughts: Speaking to after the match a member of the management team felt that The Harps worked very hard throughout most of the game, but a slow start to the second half could have cost us the two points. Praise was heaped on the team for coming back and the battling qualities shown to grind out the result.

The Harps: 1 – Ger Alley; 2 – Stephen Thomas; 3 – James Shortall (Freddie Townsend on 16th minute); 4 – John Dunne; 5 – Conor Brophy; 6 – Pat Walsh; 7 – Shane McCann (Daniel Dunne on 49th minute); 8 – John Finnegan; 9 – Niall Brophy; 10 – Darren Maher; 11 – Albert Townsend; 12 – Lee Campion; 13 – Alan O Connell; 14 – Mark White; 15 – Shane Brophy.

Jun 282013

gaelic-football-matchOur footballers travelled to Crettyard on Wednesday last and came away with a two point loss 2-09 to 2-07. The final league game against Emo is expected to be conceded by the east Laois side meaning that the Harps will be in action in the Championship next time out around the end of July. Training is going well and new players are always welcome. If anyone is interested please contact Freddie Townsend on (087) 6892323.

May 162013

gaelic-football-matchOur Junior B Footballers took on The Rock in the second round of the league recently at our club grounds, coming out comprehensive winners on a score line of 3-07 to 0-09. This was a strong performance given the fact the team were missing five players due to injury and players sitting exams at the moment. Well done lads!