FORMATION: In the early 1970s there were talks of Cullohill and Durrow GAA Clubs coming together to make one club and strengthen their position, but nothing materialised at the time. However, after the respective AGMs of both clubs for 1983, officials and players got together in an effort to form a parish team. The background to this was that from U12 to U21 there was a parish team, which played under the name of St Fintans and were enjoying some success. However after U21 level the paths divided back to the Durrow and Cullohill clubs respectively.
It was agreed between players and members that the best way forward was together and so The Harps GAA Club came into existence. Throughout the years, players and officials from The Harps have represented their club at County and Provincial level in both Hurling and Football, and long may it continue.
HURLING AND FOOTBALL HISTORY: In the foundation years, the club contested three county senior hurling finals. On September 9th 1984 a late goal for Portlaoise secured a drawn game on a score line of 1-08 to 2-05, but unfortunately in the replay the Harps were beaten by 2-14 to 1-07. In the junior hurling final of August 11th 1984, the Harps drew with Timahoe on a scoreline of 1-08 to 2-05, however in the replay on September 15th the Harps were victorious by the minimum margin on a scoreline of 3-06 to 3-05. Thus, John Joe Drennan became the first man to lift a championship cup for the Harps. On June 4th at Portarlington, Clonad defeated the Harps by 5-05 to 1-10 in the Centenary Cup for 1984. Injuries to Tom Flynn and Liam Spencer were a setback to the Senior team.
The year of 1985 was a bleak year for the Harps with no hurling or football teams reaching any championship finals, but 1986 saw the beginning of success for the Harps at minor and U21 levels. On September 14th, the minors defeated Clonaslee in the county final by a good scoreline of 3-13 to 2-05. Later in the year, the Harps defeated Portlaoise in the Minor A Hurling League on a scoreline of 2-03 to 1-01. Billy White was captain of both teams. The Harps were defeated in the Senior Semi Finals of 1986 and 1989 by Camross and Portlaoise respectively.
In 1985, 1986 and 1987, the Harps qualified for the final of the Brady Cup, winning the 1985 final by beating Portlaoise on a scoreline of 2-07 to 1-05. The 1986 final against Portlaoise was postponed and played on March 13th 1987, when Portlaoise were victorious beating the Harps by 3-07 to 0-07. In 1987 Camross defeated the Harps by 3-11 to 1-05. Also in 1987 the Harps captained by John Shortall beat Rathdowney in the Minor County Final by 3-08 to 0-05, and the Minor League Final against Castletown on a scoreline of 5-05 to 1-15.
The year of 1988 brought little success for the Harps but in 1989 the Harps defeated Ballyroan in the Junior A Football final captained by Martin Bergin. This team also won the ACFL Division 4 final by beating Kilcavan on a scorline of 4-05 to 2-09. In 1990 the U21 hurlers defeated Rosenallis by 2-08 to 1-05 to win the County Final captained by Noel Delaney.
more to follow…