The Harps Intermediates traveled to O’Moore Park, Portlaoise on Thursday night, October 2nd 2014 to try and book their place in the Intermediate Championship County Final. Borris-Kilcotton who had beaten Clonad in the quarter final progressed to meet The Harps who comfortably overcame Portlaoise at the same stage. The game was played under lights and a stern southwest breeze influenced the game greatly.
The Harps used the wind advantage well in the first half opening up a 0-04 to 0-02 lead after fourteen minutes and with points from Greg Aylward (2 frees), Albert Townsend and Ciaran Costigan. In the fifteenth minute a long ball into the forward line was brought down well by Albert Townsend who turned and blasted to the net to open up a five point lead for the Harps men.
Greg Aylward was on fine form from placed balls and added two further points in the following period of play. Borris-Kilcotton replied with a free of their own in the 20th minute. In the 21st minute Greg Aylward grabbed another point for the Harps to restore the seven point lead. A seven minute lull in scores passed before some clever attacking by the Harps found Shane Brophy on the edge of the square who pulled first time to raise a green flag and put the Harps ten points up (2-07 to 0-03).
Credit though to Borris-Kilcotton, they didn’t lie down and came storming back in the remaining minutes of the first half. A failed clearance by the Harps defence allowed Borris-Kilcotton to capitalise and within a minute had Shane Brophy’s goal equaled to reduce the margin to seven points once more. The goal shocked the Harps who failed to win the resulting puckout and conceded a point from play to leave the sides six points apart at the break – The Harps 2-07 V 1-04 Borris-Kilcotton.
The opening five minutes of the second half continued where the final minutes of the first half left off with Borris-Kilcotton stormed out and fired over two quick points from play – the wind advantage now with the west Laois men. Indeed, only for the quick hands of Cathal Phelan in defence an early goal could have been conceeded as his quick thinking pulled a ball that had hit the crossbar and looked certain to bobble over the line. The resulting clearance set up a goal chance for the Harps but a foul by the BK defence gave Greg Aylward the chance to convert a free to bring the Harps back to five in front.
The next ten minutes saw Borris-Kilcotton grind down the Harps lead in an exchange of four points that saw three go to the BK men and just one for the Harps by Greg Aylward who converted a free in the 40th minute. With a goal separating the sides after 49 minutes The Harps made a substitution with Tom Dillon replacing Shane Brophy. But the momentum was with BK and moments later some clever attacking play yielded a goal that was blasted past Peter Walsh who could do nothing to prevent it. Draw match after 50 minutes of play: 2-09 each.
Borris-Kilcotton clearly buoyed on by that goal went into the lead and fired over two unanswered points from play. However, The Harps were determined to get back into the game and were given a life-line when Greg Aylward pointed a free to leave the minimum between the sides going into the last five minutes of the game. Borris-Kilcotton though were equally as determined not to let their hard-earned lead slip and fired over a point from play to restore a two point lead with just minutes remaining on the clock.
The Harps began to hunt for a goal in the final two minutes, but the Borris-Kilcotton defence was resolute and gave nothing away despite wave after wave of Harps attacks. The final passage of play in the game saw Borris-Kilcotton clear a long ball down to midfield and from there strike for a point, but the wind pulled the ball down and despite Peter Walsh’s quick reflex to catch the ball it slipped out of his grasp and into the net to put the result beyond doubt. It was heartbreak for Peter Walsh and his team mates who had given it their all on the night only to see Lady Luck turn turk in the final moments. Full Time: The Harps 2-10 v 3-12 Borris-Kilcotton. The final will see Park-Rathineska play Borris-Kilcotton in two weeks time.
The Harps: 1 – Peter Walsh, 2 – Cathal Phelan, 3 – Aaron Dunne, 4 – JP Deegan, 5 – Shane Fitzpatrick, 6 – John Dunne, 7 – Ciaran Costigan, 8 – Brian Clancy, 9 – Rory Moore, 10 – Conor Deegan, 11 – Greg Aylward, 12 – Eoin O Sullivan, 13 – Shane Brophy (replaced by Tom Dillon after 49mins), 14 – Albert Townsend, 15 – Colm Dunphy.
Scorers: Greg Aylward 0-08 (0-08f), Albert Townsend 1-01, Shane Brophy 1-00, Ciaran Costigan 0-01.