The Harps footballers winning streak in the league came to an end last Tuesday when they lost out to a strong Graiguecullen side. Played in Graiguecullen in blustery conditions, The Harps would play against the elements in the opening half and right from the throw in it was clear this would be a step up in class from previous opposition. A couple of early scores for Graiguecullen from tight angles let The Harps know they were in for a tough game as Graiguecullen were creating space and finding each other well. A well struck free from John Finnegan opened The Harps account and with Ger Alley brought back to close down space in defence The Harps began to get to grips with their opponents, limiting Graiguecullen to just four more points in the half. On the brink of half time John Finnegan kicked a fine point from distance to reduce the deficit to four points, 0-06 to 0-02 in favour of Graiguecullen.
An early score for Graiguecullen let The Harps know that the wind would not win this game on it’s own, but our lads were about to enjoy their best period of the game. Strong running from Pat Walsh and Darren Maher was rewarded with a pointed free from the boot of John Finnegan and the only goal of the game came soon after when big Paul Shortall created trouble in the square and when the ball broke to Michael Dooley he made no mistake from close range. With the gap reduced to a single point, Graiguecullen responded well hitting two points from play in quick succession.
With the wind playing havoc The Harps were struggling to convert their chances whereas Graiguecullen were clinical, often from very tight angles. A great individual score from Pat Walsh together with a Finnegan free converted reduced the gap to two points with 5 minutes to go. The Harps sensed the win was there for them but some sloppy play resulted in turnovers in the middle third and Graiguecullen made us pay hitting 0-02 from play to extend their lead. It could have been worse too as a fine save from Kevin Donoghue kept us in the game. The Harps had a late chance for a goal but Pat Walsh was cynically taken down and from the resulting free Finnegan sent a rocket of a shot marginally wide to leave the final score at 0-12 to 1-06 in favour of Graiguecullen.
With some key players missing on the evening The Harps now know they are a match for every team in this division. We have St.Fintans at home in our next game (Wednesday, 6th May at 7:15pm in Durrow) and as ever all support is appreciated.
The Harps: 1.Kevin Donoghue; 2.Steven Thomas; 3.James Shortall; 4.John Dunne; 5.Shane Donoghue; 6.Seamus Clancy; 7.Shane McCann; 8.John Finnegan; 9.Shane Donoghue; 10.Niall Brophy; 11.Ger Alley; 12.Darren Maher; 13.Mark White; 14.Paul Shortall; 15.Michael Dooley.
Subs used: Pat Walsh for Shane McCann (black card, 15 mins); Diarmuid Irwin for Ger Alley (50 mins); David Doheny for Mark White (50 mins).