The Harps senior hurlers saved their best league performance for the last game as they earned a hard fought win over Rathdowney/Errill. Played in Durrow on a warm evening The Harps got off to the perfect start when Richie Saunders made a great high catch before laying off the ball to Conor Brophy who calmly finished to the net. Pat Walsh pointed from play a minute later before R/E opened their account with a point. Michael Lanigan gave the home support more to cheer about as he cut over a super line ball. R/E however were about to show that they are not reigning champions for nothing as they hit six points from play on the trot to take the lead by two points with the half almost finished. A free converted by Lanigan was followed by another R/E point to leave the half time score at The Harps 1-03 to R/E 0-08.
With the wind at their backs for the second half The Harps set the pace as Lanigan hit a good point from play. R/E sent over two further points from play but The Harps were about to enter their purple patch hitting 1-2 in a blistering 2 minute spell. Two points from Lanigan (1f) and a goal from Pat Walsh where Richie Saunders was once again instrumental gave The Harps a two point lead. Both sides were really going at it at this stage with some great hurling played out. R/E stopped the flow with a point of their own but another audacious side line cut from Lanigan kept the pressure on. Brian Dunne and Kieran Freeman(0-02) got in on the scoring with good scores from play but R/E kept the deficit to two points with a few scores of their own. With less than five minutes to go R/E had cut the lead to a single point and now the pressure really came on. The Harps showed great resolve however to hit the last four points of the game via Freeman, Ross Young and Lanigan (0-02,1f) to leave a final score line of The Harps 2-14 R/E 0-15.
This was a timely boost for our senior hurlers who are training very hard at the moment. With the championship just around the corner all supporters are urged to get behind the lads for the tough opening game against Borris/Kilcotton.
The Harps: 1 – Kevin Galvin, 2 – Shane Phelan, 3 – Packie Flynn, 4 – Aaron Dunne, 5 – John Prior, 6 – Gavin Dunne, 7 – Ross Young, 8 – Barry Dunne, 9 – Kieran Freeman, 10 – Shane Donoghue, 11 – Brian Dunne, 12 – Pat Walsh, 13 – Richie Saunders, 14 – Michael Lanigan, 15 – Conor Brophy.
The Harps senior hurlers second half fade out was to prove costly as Castletown claimed the points in this close encounter. Played in Mountrath GAA on their new pitch, The Harps were against a strong wind in the first half but managed to open the scoring with a fine point from distance by Eoin Clancy inside the opening minute. The Castletown response was swift as they levelled from play but a Michael Lanigan free nudged The Harps again but four points on the trot gave Castletown a three point lead by the 20th minute. The Harps however were about to hit their best form of the evening as three points in a row from Lanigan (0-02f) and Shane Donoghue brought them back level. The half ended with the best move of the game as a pin point pass from Kieran Freeman was fielded by Brian Dunne who fed the onrushing Pat Walsh who blasted to the net to give The Harps a 2 point half time lead, 1-05 to 0-06.
With a two point cushion and a wind advantage to come, Harps supporters felt a win was on the cards. Castletown had other ideas however, as they upped the ante and drew level with two converted free’s into the wind. Another surging run from Pat Walsh was rewarded with a point from play but indiscipline was costing The Harps dearly as Castletown converted another free before hitting two points form play. Michael Lanigan and Eoin Clancy pointed from play to keep The Harps in the hunt but Castletown were refusing to yield as they hit another point from play. Two further efforts from play by Donoghue and Clancy were cancelled out by silly free’s given away which were converted to leave the sides dead-locked with 5 minutes to go. The sides traded free’s and the crowd was in for a close finish but unfortunately it was Castletown who closed the scoring with a fine point from the right wing to leave a scoreline of The Harps 1-11 Castletown 0-15.
A disappointing result for The Harps but lessons can be learned. The discipline will have to improve for the championship but they played some good hurling on the night. The Harps final game of the league is played on the 1st July in Durrow at 7.45 pm against Rathdowney-Errill.
The Harps welcomed Colt to Durrow on Wednesday evening, June 17th for their fifth round game of the Division 1 Hurling League. A mild and rather cloudy evening coupled with a light breeze created perfect conditions for hurling in front of a sizeable crowd watching on. Referee Micheal Cleere got proceedings underway at 7.45pm and Brian Dunne opened the homeside’s scoring account inside two minutes with a point from play. Michael Lanigan added a pointed free two minutes later to put The Harps 0-02 to 0-00 ahead.
Colt got their scoring account open in the fifth with a pointed free and the resulting puckout by Kevin Galvin found Eoin Clancy who flicked the ball to Michael Lanigan to grab The Harp’s third point. Colt began to settle and hit a purple patch over the coming five minutes hitting three-in-a-row well worked points from play to take a temporary lead. Brian Dunne drifted back towards midfield to find some space and was rewarded with two great points from play either side of a Colt free to leave the sides level at 0-05 a piece after the first quarter.
The second quarter of the half consisted entirely of frees as both sides drove wides aimlessly. A late challenge on Eoin Clancy in the sixteenth minute gave Michael “Sticks” Lanigan the opportunity to point his second free of the night in which he duly obliged. The Colt wing forward Chris Murray picked up a yellow card for his chop across Clancy. Michael Lanigan added another on the twenty-second minute to stretch the lead further to two points, however Colt managed to draw level before half time with two of their own frees. Half-time – The Harps 0-07 v 0-07 Colt.
The half-time talk to both teams must have been special as the second half began with a renewed hunger and pace with scores a plenty. Eoin Clancy was the first to strike with a fine point from play out on the wing after collecting a good pass from Barry Dunne. However, the Colt response was met with hard tackling from The Harps defence and referee Michael Cleere didn’t hesitate in awarding the visitors a free which was converted to keep the sides level. Brian Dunne caught some wonderful ball in the middle of the park throughout the evening and in this instance turned his man to cut the Colt defence open – but his rasper of a shot floated just inches over the bar.
Sensing danger, Colt upped their ante and fired over two points from play to take the narrowest of leads once again. The Harps though were determined to put any aspirations Colt had to bed early in this second half and clicked up a gear. The next six minutes saw The Harps produce some wonderful points from play, the highlight of these was Michael Lanigan’s excellently taken sideline cut that floated over despite the difficult angle. Brian Dunne, Richie Saunders and Pat Walshe claimed the other three points of that spell to end the third quarter.
Colt tried hard to get back in the game going into the final quarter. They tested the Harps defence and could only muster a single point from a free in the forty-seventh minute which inevitably was their last score of the night. It was all one-way traffic from there-on with The Harps’ Michael Lanigan pointing two frees and grabbing a point from play followed by a Brian Dunne point from play before Ronan Delahunty was introduced in the 53rd minute replacing Kieran Freeman. Ronan Delahunty made a huge impression following his introduction, grabbing a point from play.
Conor Brophy followed on with a point from play of his own with only a few minutes remaining when Shane Phelan’s clearance down the wing found Brophy in space. Ronan Delahunty was to the fore moments later blasting a rocket of a shot to the net much to the delight of the home crowd when Pat Walshe’s hard tackling paid off. Not content with his 1-01 haul, Delahunty signed off on a good win for The Harps with another point from play to leave the full time score at: The Harps 1-20 v 0-11 Colt.
Following the drawn game with Camross, The Harps now have three points on the table from their opening five games. A match away to Castletown next Thursday, June 25th (at a venue yet to be decided) and a match at home to Rathdowney-Errill on July 1st are the remaining ties in this ACHL Division 1 for The Harps and with a bit of luck the momentum of the last two weeks will continue.
1 – Kevin Galvin, 2 – Shane Phelan, 3 – Packie Flynn, 4 – Aaron Dunne, 5 – David Doheny, 6 – Gavin Dunne, 7 – Tommy Moore, 8 – Kieran Freeman, 9 – Barry Dunne, 10 – Eoin Clancy, 11 – Brian Dunne, 12 – Pat Walshe, 13 – Richie Saunders, 14 – Michael Lanigan, 15 – Conor Brophy.
Subs: Ronan Delahunty for Kieran Freeman (53min).
Scorers: Michael Lanigan 0-08 (0-06f), Brian Dunne 0-06, Ronan Delahunty 1-02, Eoin Clancy, Richie Saunders, Pat Walshe and Conor Brophy 0-01 each.
The Harps welcomed Camross to Durrow GAA Grounds on Wednesday evening, June 12th for their fourth round Division 1 league tie. It was a fine evening with plenty of sunshine, but a refreshing northeast breeze blew down the pitch assisting the visitors who opted to avail of it’s slight advantage.
The Harps opened the scoring with a Shane Donoghue free inside two minutes, however Camross wasted no time in equalising from play moments later. Shane Donoghue was on hand to point in the fifth minute followed by a Pat Walshe point in the seventh, both from play. Camross though clawed their way back level inside three minutes with a point from play followed by a point from a free. Ross Young then picked up an injury and had to be replaced by David Doheny.
The game hit a lull for much of the following ten minutes owing to a few wides before play was halted for an injury. The second quarter saw a battle of the freetakers ensue with two from Camross before Shane Donoghue converted a close range of his own (see video). Kieran Freeman floated over a beauty from the middle of the field to bring the sides level for the third time. However, a Camross point from play saw them hold a narrow lead at the short whistle: The Harps 0-05 v 0-06 Camross.
Camross were quickest out of the blocks in the second half registering a point from play inside 30 seconds against the breeze which was beginning to abate. A foul on the industrious Shane Phelan gave The Harps opportunity to clear their lines and Gavin Dunne was on hand to fire over a long-rage pointed free from deep inside his own half. A nasty facial cut saw Brian Dunne leave the field for treatment with Richie Saunders in as a temporary blood sub. Shane Donoghue pointed the resulting free to tie the game on 0-07 a piece.
Some indiscipline in the Harps defence allowed Camross to capitalise on a pointed free in the 36th minute. This was quickly followed by a point from play moments later for the Camross men. Shane Donoghue narrowed the gap once again in the 40th minute with another pointed free, however didaster struck two minutes later when Camross managed to carve open The Harps’ defence to rattle a well taken goal and extend their lead to four.
The Harps in action in the second half…
The goal seemed to stir The Harps and their workrate improved – but wayward shooting cost the homeside on the scoreboard. Richie Saunders was introduced for Conor Brophy in the 47th minute and his first touch was to drive over a point from play to encourage the homeside on. Michael “Sticks” Lanigan followed two minutes later with a nice point of his own to narrow the gap to two. Camross though refused to allow The Harps a way back into the game and worked two good scores of their own from play to restore their four point lead with just 8 minutes remaining.
The Harps to their credit refused to lie down and Barry Dunne led The Harps revival with a long range point from play. A minute later his brother Brian grabbed a point from play to narrow the gap to just two. A two point lead is a dangerous one in any man’s language and queue Pat Walshe who made a good run through the Camross defence and drove a pile-driver of a ground-stroke to the Camross net in the 58th minute.
The final minutes of play saw Camross throw everything at The Harps to try and rescue something from the game. With three minutes of added time they piled on the pressure again and again. Camross were rewarded for their hard work in the 60th minute with a point from play. The pressure was back on The Harps to hold on to the draw as the clock wound down. To the credit of The Harps they held off the final Camross push and maintained the draw. Full Time: The Harps 1-12 v 1-12 Camross.
After three opening defeats The Harps have picked up their first point of the Division 1 league putting them in sixth position ahead of Castletown and Colt who both have failed to pick up points. The Harps play Colt at home next Wednesday, June 17th at 7.45pm in Durrow. The following week they travel to Castletown on June 25th for a 7.45pm throw-in before their final game of the league – at home in Durrow to Rathdowney-Errill on July 1st, also at 7.45pm.
The Harps: 1 – Kevin Galvin, 2 – Shane Phelan, 3 – Packie Flynn, 4 – Aaron Dunne, 5 – John Prior, 6 – Gavin Dunne, 7 – Ross Young, 8 – Barry Dunne, 9 – Kieran Freeman, 10 – Shane Donoghue, 11 – Brian Dunne, 12 – Pat Walsh, 13 – Eoin Clancy, 14 – Michael Lanigan, 15 – Conor Brophy.
Subs: David Doheny for Ross Young (7min); Richie Saunders for Conor Brophy (47min).
Scorers: Shane Donoghue 0-05 (0-04f); Pat Walshe 1-01; Kieran Freeman, Gavin Dunne, Richie Saunders, Michael Lanigan, Barry Dunne, Brian Dunne 0-01 each.
Camross: 1 – Tadgh Doran, 2 – Michael Phelan, 3 – Malvin Moloney, 4 – Joseph Phelan, 5 – Darrell Dooley, 6 – Martin Burke, 7 – Damien Keenan, 8 – Andrew Collier, 9 – Matthew Collier, 10 – Tomas Burke, 11 – Dean Delaney, 12 – Ciaran Collier, 13 – Kevin Lalor, 14 – Thomas Dunphy, 15 – Thomas Brickley.
The Harps Senior Hurlers travelled to Borris-in-Ossory on Sunday evening last to face Borris-Kilcotton in their third round Division 1 League tie. Still searching for their first win in this year’s league, The Harps were quietly optimistic of a win following their Palmer Cup victory over the same opposition a few weeks ago. The weather conditions on the night were dreadful with spells of heavy rain passing over the foothills of the Slieve Bloom Mountains.
The Harps were first on the scoreboard with a Shane Donohue pointed free. Borris-Kilcotton replied quickly with a point from play and a pointed free to take an early lead. Shane Donohue, who was ultra-sharp from placed balls all evening replied in the seventh minute. Borris-Kilcotton upped the ante and scored three unanswered points (2f) over the following five minutes. The Harps then sprung to life and a dominant six minute spell saw Barry Dunne pop over a long range point from the middle of the field only to be followed by three Shane Donohue frees to leave the score at 0-06 to 0-05 in favour of the visitors with ten minutes remaining in the first half.
A late tackle by John Prior in the twenty first minute cost him a yellow card with Borris-Kilcotton converting the resulting free. Borris-Kilcotton followed up with a point from play to restore their lead once again. Eoin Clancy and Ronan Delahunty replied with two well taken scores before a Borris-Kilcotton free left the sides level on 0-08 each at the short whistle. An entertaining first half despite the very inclement conditions.
The second half began with both sides hurling well – three points from play by David Doheny, Shane Donohue and Brian Dunne were all cancelled out by Borris-Kilcotton frees making sure both sides were level after the opening ten minutes of this second half. Borris-Kilcotton went on to dominate the following ten minutes of the half with two frees – one resulting from a Shane Donohue yellow card – and two points from play to open a bit of daylight between the sides for the home-side.
The final ten minutes of the second half looked like the Harps could take the victory when three Brian Dunne points from play and an Eoin Clancy point from play brought the visitors right back into the game, however a Borris-Kilcotton free and a point from play during the closing stages saw the home-side hang on for a narrow win. Overall it was an entertaining game with some good spells of hurling at times considering the wet conditions underfoot. Full Time: The Harps 0-15 v 0-17 Borris-Kilcotton.
The Harps Senior Hurlers are still searching for their first win in the ACHL1 and will welcom Camross to Durrow on June 10th for a 7.45pm throw-in. Elsewhere in the division, Clough-Ballacolla are top of the table following their narrow five point win over bottom-of-the group Colt.
The Harps: 1 – Kevin Galvin; 2 – Shane Phelan; 3 – Packie Flynn; 4 – Aaron Dunne; 5 – Gavin Dunne; 6 – Richie Saunders; 7 – John Prior; 8 – Ronan Delahunty; 9 – Barry Dunne; 10 – Pat Walshe; 11 – Brian Dunne; 12 – Shane Donoghue; 13 – Eoin Clancy; 14 – Michael Lanigan; 15 – David Doheny.
Subs: Ross Young for Michael Lanigan (58min).
Scorers: Shane Donohue 0-06 (0-05f); Brian Dunne 0-04; Eoin Clancy 0-02; Barry Dunne, Ronan Delahunty and David Doheny 0-01ea.
A fine sunny evening with a chilling east breeze greeted the two teams in Durrow on Saturday, April 18th. With a dry year so far the pitch in Durrow is firming up well and lent itself to a good game of hurling between The Harps and Borris-Kilcotton. In contrast to their previous few games this year so far, The Harps started poorly with Borris-Kilcotton firing over two points from play in as many minutes. Borris-Kilcotton stretched the lead to five points with a well taken goal moments later. Borris-Kilcotton increased their lead to six from a free in the fourth minute to compound the disastrous start for The Harps.
In the fifth minute The Harps finally opened their scoring account with a free fired over by Shane Donaghue. Brian Dunne followed up with a point from play to reduce the deficit, but Borris-Kilcotton were in no mood for allowing the Harps into the game and stretched their lead to six points once more with a free and a ’65. Peter Walsh was on hand to deny Borris-Kilcotton a sure goal in the tenth minute, his diving stretch was nothing short of brilliant. Discipline in the half back line was costing the Harps and another free was easily converted by the Borris-Kilcotton men to give them a seven point lead in the twelfth minute.
Eoin Clancy grabbed the Harps third point on the thirteenth minute as the Harps began to settle more into the game. Borris-Kilcotton restored their seven point lead though in the fourteenth minute with a well taken point from play. The Harps then hit a purple patch with Eoin Clancy and Brian Dunne scoring points from play. A rather unusual ten minute spell ensued with the battle of the freetakers to the fore as eight frees were converted – five of which were from The Harps’ Shane Donaghue who was deadly accurate all evening. Borris-Kilcotton picked up the other three converted frees in the spell. Conor Brophy continued the Harps’ revival with a point from play on the stroke of Half Time: The Harps 0-10 V 1-10 Borris-Kilcotton.
The second half saw the Harps continue their comeback with another Shane Donaghue free and a point from play by Barry Dunne before Borris-Kilcotton replied with a point from play of their own. The Harps then hit three unanswered points to take the lead for the first time in the match with Eoin Clancy, Brian Dunne and a free from Shane Donaghue all accurate. The Harps were driving at Borris-Kilcotton and asking alot of questions. At the midway point of the second half, some great passing by the Harps found Ronan Delahunty on the edge of the square where his ground stroke blasted it’s way to the roof of the net. The Harps 1-15 V 1-11 Borris-Kilcotton.
In fairness to Borris-Kilcotton they didn’t lie down and came storming back up the field and very nearly had a second goal but for the quick thinking Peter Walsh who knocked it over to conceed the minor score. Borris-Kilcotton came again looking for a goal, but the Harps full back line stood firm and all Borris-Kilcotton could get was a ’65 which they duly converted. The Harps’ manager Tommy Bawle looked to his bench to freshen things up introducing Brian Clancy for Conor Brophy and David Doheny in for Ross Young.
The next ten minutes were a very much tit-for-tat affair with three points each added by the two teams; two Shane Donaghue frees and an Eoin Clancy point for The Harps intersected by three Borris-Kilcotton points from play. In the final minutes of the game, a Borris-Kilcotton defender was given a red card and Shane Donaghue converted the resulting free to push the Harps three points ahead with the clock running down. Borris-Kilcotton tried hard to get an equalising goal to level the game, but the Harps defence stood firm and held on for the win. Full time: The Harps 1-19 V 1-16 Borris-Kilcotton.
The Harps –GK: Peter Walsh; RFB: Gavin Dunne; FB: Shane Phelan; LFB: Aaron Dunne; RHB: Ross Young; CB: Richie Saunders; LHB: John Prior; MF: Conor Brophy; MF: Barry Dunne; RHF: Shane Donoghue; CF: Brian Dunne; LHF: Pat Walsh; RFF: Eoin Clancy; FF: Ronan Delahunty; LFF: Shane Fitzpatrick.
Subs Used – 44mins: Brian Clancy for Conor Brophy; 47mins: David Doheny for Ross Young.
Scorers: Shane Donaghue 0-11 (0-11f); Eoin Clancy 0-04; Ronan Delahunty 1-00; Brian Dunne 0-02; Barry Dunne and Conor Brophy 0-01 each.
The Harps Senior Hurlers have a break for a few weeks before their next match against the same opposition in the league in O’Keefe Park, Borris-in-Ossory on May 17th.
On Wednesday evening, April 15th in Durrow The Harps senior hurlers slumped to their second league defeat going down to neighbours Clough-Ballacolla on a 2-19 to 014 scoreline. Shane Fitzpatrick continued his fine form hitting the opening point from play from a tight angle. There was a worrying amount of space in front of The Harps goal and the Clough-Ballacolla response was emphatic hitting 2-02 from play before the 9th minute. Another sublime point from Fitzpatrick was answered with two Clough-Ballacolla points on the trot before Shane Donoghue opened his account with a pointed free. The Harps finally managed to hit two consecutive scores via Barry Dunne and Donoghue to edge back into the game, but it took a fine save from Peter Walsh to deny Clough-Ballacolla their third goal. Points were traded evenly for the remainder of the half with Shane Fitzpatrick bringing his tally to 0-04 while Brian Dunne pointed after an excellent catch to leave the half time score at Clough-Ballacolla 2-10 The Harps 0-10.
The Harps were going to need a good start to get back into this game but unfortunately Clough-Ballacolla were in a determined mood and hit the opening 5 points of the half, 0-03 from free’s, as our indiscipline was punished. With the gap pushed out to 11 points, it was worrying times for Harps supporters as a bad beating looked on the cards, but the players showed some resolve hitting 4 points in as many minutes with Shane Donoghue sending over two free’s and Eoin Clancy and Pat Walsh chipping in with a point each. This would be as close as The Harps would get, and both sides were reduced to 14 men when the referee harshly sent Conor Brophy and Stephen Bergin to the line. Clough-Ballacolla hit the last three scores, a pointed free and two from play, to close out a comfortable win for them.
A disappointing result for our hurlers, but the performances of some of the younger players certainly gives us something to build on. It’s Borris-Kilcotton in the Palmer Cup next and hopefully a badly needed win.
The Harps senior hurlers lost out to neighbours Ballinakill in the opening round of the league on Saturday, April 4th 2015. Credit to Ballinakill who had the pitch in very good condition and with fine weather both sides played out an entertaining match. Playing with a slight breeze behind them The Harps got off to a good start going five points up by the 10th minute with three pointed free’s from Shane Donoghue and a point apiece from play by Brian Dunne and Eoin Clancy. It looked at this stage like The Harps would romp to an easy win but Ballinakill were not going to go down without a fight however and stormed back into the match hitting 1-7 without reply to open up a 5 point lead nearing half time. A pointed free from Donoghue stopped the rot, but a four point deficit and facing the breeze in the second half left The Harps with a mountain to climb.
The Harps management changed things up at half time with Niall Brophy replacing Conor Brophy and Shane Fiztpatrick moving from corner forward to midfield. Again The Harps opened the half strongly hitting the first four points through Donoghue (0-2), Shane Fitzpatrick and John Brophy. Unfortunately we did not take full advantage in this period of dominance as two goal chances were missed before Ballinakill opened their second half account with a point form play. Both sides upped the ante now as scores were traded, strong tackles were put in and a local rivalry threatened to boil over. Referee Pat Moran issued two yellow cards and this seemed to cool matters somewhat and thankfully both sides focused on hurling. Another delightful point from John Brophy and a long range effort from Shane Fitzpatrick kept The Harps within touching distance but with Eamon Jackman reliable as ever on free-taking duty The Harps were struggling to level the game. With five minutes to play and a point separating the sides The Harps threw everything at Ballinakill but it was not to be on the day as Ballinakill wrapped up the league points with a further two pointed frees.
Not the start The Harps were hoping for, but there were certainly some very encouraging aspects to take from the game, most notably the performance of minor hurler Shane Fitzpatrick on his senior league debut. With Pakie Flynn, Ross Young and Richie Saunders all absent on the day there should be real competition for places over the coming weeks. Best on the day for The Harps were Shave Fitzpatrick, Aaron Dunne, Gavin Dunne and Shane Donoghue.
The Harps: 1 – Kevin Galvin; 2 – Shane Phelan; 3 – Gavin Dunne; 4 – Aaron Dunne; 5 – Barry Dunne;
6 – Conor Dunne; 7 – John Prior; 8 – Shane Donoghue; 9 – Conor Brophy; 10 – Ronan Delahunty; 11 – Brian Dunne; 12 – Pat Walsh; 13 – Shane Fitzpatrick; 14 – John Brophy; 15 – Eoin Clancy
Subs: Niall Brophy for Conor Brophy; David Doheny for John Prior.
The Harps Senior hurlers will welcome Clough-Ballacolla to Durrow GAA Grounds on April 15th at 7pm in the next round of the league. Other results elsewhere leaves the table looking like this after the first round of games took place:
The Harps Senior hurlers got their competitive year underway last Saturday, losing out to a determined Portlaoise at Rathleague GAA grounds. This was to be a game of two halves with a strong wind blowing down the field. Portlaoise opened the scoring with a good point from play but wind assisted The Harps shot the next four points, one each from play by Brian Dunne and Ronan Delahunty and two free’s by Shane Donoghue. It would take Portlaoise 10 minutes to find the target again and when they pointed from play in the 13th minute The Harps responded strongly with three points on the trot courtesy of Shane Donoghue (0-02) and Brian Dunne. The Harps were hitting some bad wides at this stage of the game and a 3 point lead at half time (0-08 to 0-05) was going to have us under serious pressure in the second half.
Playing against the wind for the second half The Harps put in a strong opening 10 minutes trading a point apiece with Portlaoise as Shane Donoghue slotted another free. The legs started to tire at this stage however and The Harps would not register another score in the game. Portlaoise’s Joe Phelan blasted a 21 yard free to the back of The Harps net to set the home side on the way to a comfortable victory. On a heavy sod the lighter Harps players defended bravely but Portlaoise scored some impressive points from long range, gaining some degree of revenge for last years championship loss to The Harps.
It is early days yet for our hurlers but Saturday’s match showed there is plenty of work to do before the league commences in April. Best on the day for The Harps were Richie Saunders, Ronan Delahunty and Shane Donoghue.
The Harps travelled to O’Moore Park on Saturday evening, August 30th for an early evening Championship Quarter Final date with Abbeyleix as the first installment of a double-header. Abbeyleix, who won the Senior B Hurling Championship last year have adapted well to the top flight of Championship hurling having seen off Castletown-Slieve Bloom in the first round by six points. They were only five points off last year’s county champions Camross in the second round to set up this Quarter Final clash.
The Harps, who traded in Division 1B of the league and survived a relegation scare against Ballinakill last year have also had a mixed Championship campaign in loosing the first round to Clough-Ballacolla and then beating Portlaoise to advance to the quarter final stage. It was a fine mild evening for hurling in O’Moore Park with a stiff breeze blowing into the country end. After the toss, The Harps were faced with playing into the breeze.
Abbeyleix were quickest of the mark when Ryan Peacock opened their sides account with a well taken point from play. From the resulting puck-out Abbeyleix won a free which was put wide by goalkeeper Enda Rowland. John Brophy had a chance to draw level moments later but his free tailed just wide, but Ryan Peacock made no mistake when he pointed a free minutes later to extend the lead to two. In the fourth minute, John Brophy made up for his earlier miss by converting a free to open The Harps’ account. Boggy was unlucky to see his snap shot drift wide moments later.
Eoin Clancy had goal on his mind in the fifth minute but was fouled on the way through and John Boggy Brophy was on hand to convert the free to bring the scores level. The opening minutes were full of drama as both sides tried to stamp their authority on the game and Abbeyleix were denied a sure goal in the seventh minute but for the sure hands of Kevin Galvin who turned the piledriver out for a sixty five. The 65 was converted by Eoin Reilly, his first score of many to come.
The following eight minutes were a fruitless period for both teams as wide after wide was registered. Rory McEvoy from play and Eoin Reilly from a free and a sideline were both unsuccessful for Abbeyleix whilst Sean Bourke, Ronan Delahunty and Eoin Clancy missed their chances for The Harps. The deadlock was broken in the sixteenth minute when Eoin Reilly converted a free to double the Abbeyleix lead. Moments later, Kevin Galvin was on hand to deny Abbeyleix another pop at goal and the counter attack saw Brian Dunne’s effort tail off wide. Eoin Reilly was imposing himself on the game at this stage and found the target again with a fine point from play as the last ten minutes of the game came into sight.
Sean Bouke and Brian Dunne had further misses as The Harps tried to gain a foothold in the game, but Abbeyleix were resilient and kept piling on the pressure. In the 24th minute Packie Flynn picked up a yellow card when his tackle was deemed out of order with Eoin Reilly converting the resulting free. The Harps were lucky in the resulting puckout that went wayward into the hands of Eoin Reilly who snapped it back wide. Brian Dunne made amends for his earlier misses in the 27th minute when his puck split the posts to give The Harps a much needed boost.
His point should have spurred on the Harps, but it was Abbeyleix who reacted and stormed ahead in the minutes leading up to half time. Rory McEvoy collected the resulting puckout and blazed it straight over The Harps bar to register their seventh point. Sean Bourke (Harps) and Eoin Reilly (Abbeyleix) both registered wides from play before Rory McEvoy found space on the 20m line and blazed a piledriver into the Harps net – there was nothing Kevin Galvin could do to stop the bullet. Half Time: The Harps 0-03 V 1-07 Abbeyleix.
(Photo: The Harps and Abbeyleix teams leaving the field for Half Time)
The start of the second half saw The Harps make two changes with Ross Young making way for Rory Moore and Ronan Delahunty making way for Shane Donoghue. Boggy registered the first score from a free to narrow the gap to six which was followed up by a Sean Bourke wide. Abbeyleix got the next two scores with Eoin Reilly from a free and Steven Reilly from play to stretch the lead to 8 points. Abbeyleix made a substitution of their own in the 40th minute with Conor Bergin replacing Joe Bergin. Conor Bergin was unlucky with his first touch of the night when his effort floated just wide against the breeze.
The next few minutes saw John Brophy pop over two frees to claw back some of the Abbeyleix lead as Pat Walsh made way for Kieran Freeman. Abbeyleix’s Eoin Reilly refused to miss when he pucked over a free in the 43rd minute. Sean Bourke was again unlucky from the resulting puckout when his effort dribbled wide. At the other end moments later, Packie Flynn blocked Abbeyleix’s run on goal to go out for a 65 which was converted by Eoin Reilly. The Harps began a fight back and in the 47th minute John Brophy drove over two frees to reduce the lead to six once more. But it was a case of two steps forward and one step back as Eoin Reilly won the puck out and drove it over the black spot to restore Abbeyleix’s seven point lead that they had at half time.
Abbeyleix then made their second change of the evening when Dayne Peacock made way for Aaron Carroll. John Brophy was unlucky to see his free go just wide in the 51st minute (see video below). Eoin Clancy got his name on the scoreboard in the 52nd minute with a fine point from crowded conditions. This point was equalled at the opposite end seconds later with Conor Bergin for Abbeyleix popping over a point from play. Eoin Reilly had a rare miss when his free went wide a minute later, after which Abbeyleix made their third change of the night as Dan Coffey replaced Eugene Kerns. Similar to Conor Bergin before him, Dan Coffey’s first touch of the night drifted wide.
The Harps, seven points down and with just five minutes of normal time remaining began to up the ante as a Championship exit was in clear view. Their efforts were rewarded moments later when Brian Dunne pulled on a ground stroke to the net following a goalmouth scramble. The Harps had cut the deficit to four and there was a sense of “something salvageable” in the air. The Harps crowd in the stand responded and roared their team on. But it was Abbeyleix who would draw next blood as Eoin Reilly scored his second point from play of the night to stretch the lead to five.
The Harps had no option but to go for goals and after winning a 65, the dropped short puck was unable to find a Harps man. The Harps were fruitless in their attempt for goals in the remaining minutes in which Abbeyleix made their fourth change of the night when Ryan Peacock made way for Matt Thornton in the 59th minute. With two added minutes of added time, The Harps had to make do with a solitary point which was struck over from play by Sean Bourke. The full time whistle followed and so did the full time on The Harps Championship campaign. Full Time score: The Harps 1-10 V 1-14 Abbeyleix.
The Harps: 1 – Kevin Galvin; 2 – Shane Phelan; 3 – Packie Flynn; 4 – John Prior; 5 – Ross Young; 6 – Conor Dunne; 7 – Barry Dunne; 8 – Ronan Delahunty; 9 – Sean Bourke; 10 – Gavin Dunne; 11 – Pat Walsh; 12 – John Brophy; 13 – Eoin Clancy; 14 – Brian Dunne; 15 – Tadgh Sullivan.
Subs:30mins – off: Ross Young on: Tommy Moore; 30mins off: Ronan Delahunty on: Shane Donoghue; 43mins off: Pat Walsh on: Kieran Freeman.
Scorers:John Brophy 0-07 (0-06f); Brian Dunne 1-01; Sean Bourke and Eoin Clancy 0-01 each.