The Harps senior hurlers kept their championship hopes alive for 2016 when they played out a thrilling draw
with Portlaoise last Saturday. Played in O Moore Park with a strong wind blowing towards the town end,
Portlaoise opted to play with the breeze in the first half and quickly opened up a commanding lead hitting a
quick fire 1-4 in the opening ten minutes. The sole Harps reply in this period was a converted free by
Michael Lanigan as The Harps supporters began to worry in the stand. To their credit however, each Harps
player put in a trojan effort to get themselves back into this game and when John Brophy finished to the net
from close range after a great run by younger brother Conor, The Harps were right back in this game.
Another Lanigan free had the deficit reduced to one point as Portlaoise seemed shocked by the fight back.
Portlaoise hit a brace of points from play to give themselves a bit of breathing space but Lanigan was in
deadly form as he pointed twice, one from a 40 meter free and a spectacular point from the right wing that
curled inside the right post. With the half time break looming the sides both tacked on another point apiece
(Lanigan 0-1f) to leave the half time score at Portlaoise 1-9 The Harps 1-8.
If The Harps were depending on the wind to win it for them in the second period they were in for a rude
awakening as there was nothing between the sides in a pulsating second half. Nearly like clock work the
sides would trade points with never more than a single score to seperate them. With the wind at their backs
The Harps did find scores from play that bit easier to come by as Lanigan began to show he is just as
accurate from open play with a string of scores from the left wing. Portlaoise to their credit were also
giving their all and with young Aaron Bergin deadly accurate from frees they refused to let The Harps take
the initiative. As the second half crept on John Brophy scored an excellent point even as he was being
impeded and Conor Dunne then pointed from distance after fielding a Portlaoise puck out to level the
game. With time running out The Harps appeared to take the lead when it matters most as the excellent
Eoin Clancy fed the ball out to Lanigan who slotted over the bar to finally nudge The Harps in front. The
drama was far from over however, as Portlaoise won a free 50 yards out which they converted to restore
parity. Indeed the very last chance would fall to Portlaoise as they missed a glorious opportunity to send
The Harps packing. All would have to agree that a draw was a fair result in the end as the both sides finished
with 1-17 apiece and have to do it all again this Tuesday (9th) at 8 p.m in O Moore Park. All supporters are
urged to attend and get behind our hurlers.
Subs used: Richie Saunders, Brian Clancy, Pat Walsh.