THE HARPS GAELS 3-12 V 0-16 BORRIS-KILCOTTON: A mild sunny evening with barely a breeze greeted these two teams to Portlaoise on Saturday evening in the replay of the Minor Hurling Championship Final following their 2-12 V 0-18 drawn game from two weeks earlier. Borris Kilcotton started the game on a strong note quickly establishing the first score of the game. The Harps soon settled and added one of their own. These exchanges of scores set the tempo of the game from there on with fine points being landed in quick succession.
The scoreline read BK 0-03 V 0-02 HG when Owen Sullivan made a great run along the endline and managed to squeeze in a goal with little room to spare between the BK goalkeeper and the upright. Indeed, many in the crowd waited until the green flag was raised before cheering on the score – as it appeared that the side netting was struck. BK responded quickly though and the teams were level. The Harps added another point but then disaster struck when the goal scorer – Owen Sullivan picked up a nasty injury enroute to what looked a likely goal.
BK and The Harps traded scores once more before the Harps went a point ahead. Fine midfield play and good passing found Conor Deegan in a bit of space who burst through and blasted goal number two for the Harps. 2-05 to 0-07, however yet again BK refused to let the goals set them back and rallied with two more fine points in quick succession. The Harps were determined though and responded with two points once more to go in at half time with the score-line reading The Harps Gaels 2-07 v 0-09 Borris Kilcotton.
The second half continued with the pace and excitement of the first half with further exchanges of points traded, though BK were the more industrial in their efforts as with almost 50 minutes played, the scoreline read The Harps Gaels 2-10 v 0-15 Borris Kilcotton. The next attempt by BK was to level the game once more, however indecisions by the umpires saw the referee run in to consult with the men in white. The referee ordered a crossing of the flags to signal that the score would not count much to the delight of the Harps supporters in O’Moore Park.
The Harps ran back down the field and grabbed another point which seemed to power them through the last ten minutes. Two points with one reply left the score-line at 2-12 to 0-16 with only a few minutes to go, victory was close – but seemed still far away as the dreaded two point lead spurned BK on a goal quest in the dying minutes. Their gallant efforts turned out to be fruitless and when the Harps counter attacked, it was Conor Deegan once more who flicked the ball past the advancing BK keeper into the net. The match was won, even though the referee allowed another two minutes of play to go on before blowing the full-time whistle.
The pitch on O’Moore Park was a sea of red and amber as young and old took to the sod to congratulate their heroes. Borris Kilcotton’s stranglehold over the Harry Grey trophy had been broken – BK have been champions for the past 4 years – indeed since the new cup was presented in 2009. But in 2013 there is a new name on the cup – The Harps Gaels. Such were the outpourings of joy and celebrations that it took some twenty minutes before the gallant Harps boys took to the stand to accept the cup.
Full Time: The Harps Gaels 3-12 v 0-16 Borris-Kilcotton. The Harps: Peter Walsh, Aaron Dunne, Gavin Dunne, Liam Lalor, Ciaran Costigan, Richie Saunders, Shane Fitzpatrick, Paul Simms, Ronan Delahunty, Kieran Freeman, James Lapin, Greg Aylward, Shane Tyrell, Owen Sullivan. Subs: Johnny Doyle, Sean Downey, Michael Moran, Donnacha Quinn, David Doheny, Joe Ryan, Cathal Phelan, Shane Keown, Jack McEvoy, Tadgh Fitzpatrick, Brian O’Neill, James McDonald, Niall Mullins, Calvin O’Brien.