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.
— TheHarpsGAA (@TheHarpsGAA) April 8, 2018
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.