Congratulations to the Harps U14 Hurlers who had a great win in the Laois Feile competition last weekend – this now qualifying them for the National Feile na nGael Finals being hosted in Ulster on June 19th, 20th and 21st. Last Monday’s win over Abbeyleix was played in Ballacolla as a curtain raiser to the Laois/Cork senior game commemorating Laois’ All Ireland victory one hundred years ago which added to the occasion.
The Feile week end got underway last Saturday morning in Portlaoise with The Harps drew against Camross in a ‘knock out’ game. The Harps settled quickest and had two points on the board inside the first five minutes and when a long range free from Conor Delaney went all the way to the net it put the team in a good position. The Harps continued to add on scores and ran out winners on a 3-07 to 0-01 score line with top scorer Conor Delaney netting all three goals. The next game was the semi-final where Ratdowney/Errill were the opposition having beaten Portlaoise that morning also. In this game Rathdowney/Errill opened the scoring with a fine point against the wind and The Harps knew they were in a tough contest. However, they soon settled and after some pointed frees took a slim lead. Then, with ten minutes gone, Jim Kirby was first to react to a breaking ball and raised the green flag. The Harps got on top from there on and with Mark Deegan scoring two goals. The Harps qualified for Monday’s final winning 4-03 to 1-02.
Monday’s opposition was Abbeyleix who also qualified from their group on Saturday morning (which involved Borris-in-Ossory/Kilcotton, Na Fianna and Castletown/Slieve Bloom). With the sun shining and a great crowd in Ballacolla all was set for a tight game – the two sides having met in an U13 final last year and only four points separating the sides on that occasion. A pointed free from Conor Delaney opened the scoring for the Harps on Monday and early on the exchanges were ‘nip and tuck’. The key score of the first half was an Abbeyleix goal which saw them leading at the break 1-03 to 0-03. Again in the second half there was nothing to separate the teams and when Abbeyleix got in for a second goal with seven minutes remaining it put them in a commanding position. However, The Harps never panicked and when Conor Delaney struck the Abbeyleix net with a low drive it put the Harps two up. Mark Deegan then put three between the sides after a great individual score and when a 65 was awarded to Abbeyleix in the last minute a goal was the only option – that 65 went over the bar and from the puck the referee blew the final whistle making The Harps Laois Feile champions on a 1-08 to 2-03 scoreline. Captain Aaron Grady then accepted the cup on behalf of the team with all now looking forward to mid June!
Harps Panel: Lorcan Fitzpatrick, Ben Dunphy, Billy McEvoy, Thomas Walsh, Tiarnach Doheny, Daire Quinn, Ciaran Shortall, James Duggan, Ciaran Burke, Conor Delaney, Aaron Grady, Mikey Monaghan, Pauric Walsh, Jim Kirby, Mark Deegan, Bill Phelan, Lee Coffey, Jim O’Connor, Rian Edwards, Patrick Daly, Emmett Moore, Tony Lee Donoghue, Mark Holland, Darren O’Neill, Jake Downey, Jack Murphy.
Reporting by: Noel Delaney.
Photos by: Sean Dunphy and Noel Delaney.
Saturday Score updates by: Mick Fitzpatrick.
Monday Score updates by: Caroline Grady.
Special Thanks to: Portlaoise GAA and Ballacolla GAA for hosting both the qualifying rounds and the finals.