The Harps welcomed The Fenians of Johnstown to Durrow on Wednesday for this second round of the Kilkenny Minor Hurling League. A cold blustery evening didn’t spoil the game thankfully as both sides served up a thrilling contest. With two days rest since their last game against Rathdowney-Errill and several players out because of exams one could have been forgiven that The Harps might find this game a bridge too far, however credit to the Harps as they met their challenge head on.
A blistering opening ten minutes saw Podge Delaney open the scoring inside 50 seconds with a point from play. Fenians though, had the match’s first goal grabbed inside the second minute when a dashing run through The Harps’ defence gave Liam Dunphy little chance to stop a shot to the net. Johnny Doyle responded less than a minute later though with a free and Podge Delaney hammered home a goal from the resulting puck-out. The Harps were clearly buoyed on by their own response to the early goal and began to take hold on the game. A few stern tackles gave Fenians two scores, but a plethora of points – all from play – saw the Harps surge ahead to lead 1-09 to 1-02 after the first quarter with Johnny Doyle (0-03), Shane Keown, Joe Murphy, Podge Delaney and Declan Foyle (0-01ea) all getting their names on the scoresheet.
Credit though to Fenians, they kept in the game floating over two points from play and a free either side of two frees from The Harps’ Johnny Doyle. The Harps though were having none of a Fenians comeback and dealt the visitors a sucker punch when Podge Delaney blasted home a second goal, followed up by a point from play just before half time. The Harps’ Jack Saunders and Fenians centre back both picked up yellow cards before the short whistle in unrelated incidents. The Harps were definitely the happier team at half time with a 2-12 v 1-05 lead despite playing against the breeze.
The opening stages of the second half continued in the same intensity. The Fenians, keen to get back in the game marked their intent by scoring a huge point in the opening seconds which was responded to by Declan Foyle moments later. The Johnstown side got a shot in the arm from the resulting puck-out as a lapse of concentration in the Harps defence saw a second goal conceded. The Harps replied with three points to regain their ten point lead through Johnny Doyle X2 (1f) and Podge Delaney as the intensity began to wane in the game.
Fenians though were never going to lie down and a two minute storming session on the Harps defence saw them claw the deficit back to six points as they took 1-01 from their efforts. However, whatever the Fenians could do, The Harps matched it. A Sean Lawlor goal and a Johnny Doyle free restored the ten point advantage as quickly as it was taken from the Harps. The final ten minutes of the game saw Fenians add 1-02 as they tried to get back into the game, but to no avail as The Harps scored 0-04 in the same period with Johnny Doyle immaculate on frees. Final Score: The Harps 3-21 v 4-09 Fenians.
Following their opening Kilkenny Minor League win over Bennetsbridge (4-21 v 0-17) The Harps face St Lachtain’s in Freshford on June 25th and are second placed in the table: Click for larger image…
Closer to home, in the Laois League, The Harps Gaels will face Castletown-Slieve Bloom on May 11th at 7.15pm in Castletown.
The Harps: GK: Liam Dunphy; RFB: Conall Whelan; FB: Jack Saunders; LFB: Emmett Fitzpatrick; RHB: David Doheny; CB: Jack McEvoy; LHB: Declan Foyle; MF: Michael Moran; MF: Joe Murphy; RHF: Shane Keown; CF: Johnny Doyle; LHF: Aaron Lawlor; RFF: Sean Lawlor; FF: Padraig Delaney; LFF: Niall Mullins.
Subs: Eoghan Doheny on for Jack McEvoy (injured) after 51mins.