The Harps were once again on the road in this final round game of the Division 1A Hurling League. The weather was also yet again fine with prolonged, warm sunshine for the game. A number of established panel members were unavailable for tonights game so the management opted to blend a mix of youth and experience to test the Borris-Kilcotton side on their home turf.
Referee Michael Cleere threw in the ball and the game was on in full flow straight away as Pat Walsh scored a point from play to open the visitor’s account. Hot on the heels of that was Brian Clancy with a goal from play – the first of a string of scores from the Fermoyle man. Borris-Kilcotton, keen to avenge the green flag, scored the next two points over the following four minutes to take the gloss off Clancy’s major – but, as often can happen in a close family, what one does, the other does equally as good… queue Eoin Clancy to grab a goal of his own, to the delight of the visiting supporters!
Yet again, Borris-Kilcotton set out to avenge the goal and did so with two further points – both from play. At the half-way stage through the first half The Harps were ahead on a scoreline of 2-01 to 0-04. The next five minutes saw The Harps dominate in the scoring stakes and despite a hand injury to Shane Donoghue he managed to grab one point from four with Eoin Clancy, Sean Bourke and Brian Clancy accounting for the other three. Borris-Kilcotton were awarded a free which they converted, but The Harps continued to pile on the pressure. Marksman Shane Donoghue scored a 65 followed up by two more points from play by Pat Walsh and James Lappin.
With five minutes remaining, Borris-Kilcotton needed scores to keep themselves in sight, and they grabbed a point from play. The Harps were playing well though – against the breeze and with the setting sun in their eyes – added two further points: a Shane Donoghue free and Eoin Clancy from play. Borris-Kilcotton scored a free following Clancy’s point – and on the stroke of half time Borris-Kilcotton were unlucky not to have a goal as Ross Young carried off a great save to deny the home-side. Half-time score: The Harps 2-10 V 0-07 Borris-Kilcotton.
After half time, the game continued in similar intensity. Though BK were first to score a point in the second half, the Harps men added three more – Shane Donoghue from a free and one from play followed up by an excellent Brian Clancy point from play out on the siideline. BK replied with a fine sideline cut floated over to cut the deficit. At this point, Gavin Dunne was introduced for Shane Donoghue who had given a sterling performance despite picking up an early knock. Sean Bourke then assumed the free-taking role and moments after Donoghue departed, Bourke’s accuracy was required. Sean Bourke at the first time of asking floated over the free from mid-field.
Borris-Kilcotton replied with a point from play which was quickly answered in similar fashion by The Harps’ Pat Walsh. The Management then made a second substitution with Greg Aylward being introduced for Eoin Clancy. Another dominant spell for the visitors then ensued as Sean Bourke, Pat Walsh and newly introduced Greg Aylward all raising white flags. Indeed Greg Aylward was unlucky not to raise a green flag as his pile-driver of a shot just whizzed over the bar after a clever run from corner forward. In a quick flowing two minute spell, BK scored a free but moments later Brian Clancy was pulled down in the square at the other end when a sure goal was on. Sean Bourke opted to fire the shot over the bar.
With ten minutes remaining The Harps were in total control of the game and the management decided to empty the bench. Ciaran Costigan replaced Conor Brophy, Eoin Sullivan replaced Tadgh Sullivan and Sean Cahill replaced Packie Flynn. The final minutes of the game saw intensity drop and some wides creep in. BK added two points – one a free the other from play. With three minutes remaining, Sean Bourke scored the last Harps score of the night when he converted another free. Despite the tempo of the game dropping, there was to be a twist before the final whistle. Borris-Kilcotton would find the net twice – the first goal was very fortunate as Ross Young’s clearance was rebounded back into the net. The second goal was from a penalty given against Shane Phelan who was deemed to have held the opposing player under a high dropping ball. The final score was The Harps 2-20 V 2-13 Borris-Kilcotton.
Up Next: The victory for the Harps means that they top the group and qualify for the League Final to be held on July 6th. Further details will be announced by the Laois County Board over the coming days as other games in the group still have to be played.
The Harps:1 – Ross Young; 2 – Shane Phelan; 3 – Packie Flynn; 4 – Aaron Dunne; 5 – Conor Brophy; 6 – Brian Galvin; 7 – John Prior; 8 – Barry Dunne; 9 – Shane Donaghue; 10 – James Lappin; 11 – Pat Walshe; 12 – Sean Bourke; 13 – Tadgh Sullivan; 14 – Brian Clancy; 15 – Eoin Clancy.