The Harps Junior footballers lost their opening championship game against Ballylinan last Thursday evening. Played in damp conditions in Crettyard, The Harps were down a number of key players but still gave a good account of themselves on the night. Ballylinan won the toss and decided to play with the breeze at their backs in the opening half, and duly went on to open up a three point lead. It was taking our lads time to get to grips with their opponents but Niall Brophy got The Harps opening score after 15 minutes with a good point from play. Moments later the sides traded points as John Finnegan pointed a free for The Harps, but shortly after a Ballylinan forward ghosted through for the games only goal. The Harps were now faced with a daunting task, but their response was encouraging as Niall Brophy hit his second point from play. Luck abandoned The Harps as a fisted effort from a long ball rolled agonisingly along the goal line but the umpires waved play on. At half time The Harps trailed 1-6 to 0-3.
The second half saw The Harps throw everything at their fancied opponents and early scores from John Finnegan and Michael Dooley had the game back in the melting pot. The lack of match practice began to show however, as with The Harps dominating possession, scoring chances were wasted. A brace of points for Ballylinan stretched their lead once again as The Harps went in search of goals to drag themselves back into this game. Once again however luck was not on our side, as two efforts for goal would hit the post. Ballylinan would then enjoy their own spell of dominance as Harps players began to tire. A late string of scores for Ballylinan put a one-sided look to the score board but our footballers can be proud of their efforts on the night, and with a number of players returning to the fold over the coming weeks they might have a say in this championship yet.
Ballylinan 1-13 The Harps 0-7.