Harps book place in Championship Final against Portlaoise
The Harps Senior hurlers are through to the county final after a hard fought win over over a strong Rosenallis outfit. Played in Mountrath in excellent hurling conditions and in front of a large and vocal crowd The Harps produced their best performance to date to seal their place in the final.
This game was a tight and tough affair right from the start with Richie Saunders opening the scoring with a good point from play. A minute later some excellent team play saw the ball fall to Eoin Clancy who broke two tackles before sending a rasping shot to the back of the net. Rosenallis responded with two points of their own but further scores from Ciaran Comerford and John Brophy pushed The Harps further in front.
The men in green were really up for this however, and a string of scores showed they were not going to fade away. An excellent side-line cut from Saunders split the posts before a fine effort from the left wing by Conor Brophy drew applause from the crowd. Mick Lanigan was nailing the free’s and struck another two to give our lads a commanding lead. The teams both pointed from play just before half time to give The Harps a hard-earned lead on a score-line of 1-9 to 0-6.
The first few minutes of the second half were going to be crucial and to their credit The Harps showed their hunger and registered the first four points with Saunders, Clancy and Lanigan firing over, but the pick of them was a monster effort from nearly 100 yards by the outstanding Podge Delaney. Rosenallis heads refused to drop and another string of scores kept them in the hunt.
Scores from play were becoming increasingly hard to get as the tackling from both sides was ferocious, but Clancy and John Brophy managed another point apiece under intense pressure. The sides traded scores now as Lanigan converted another free but then Rosenallis got the major they badly needed as the sliotar was scrambled to The Harps net. Another point for the men in green cut the deficit to six points and this game was far from over.
The next score was vital and who else but John Brophy nailed it with a smart finish to stop the rot. Rosenallis pointed from distance but that would be as close as they would get as another Saunders point and two more free’s from Lanigan ended the scoring to leave The Harps ahead on a scoreline of 1-20 to 1-11. This was a real team performance from our lads and while scoring 1-20 is an impressive feat, it was the work ethic which impressed their large support.
This was a highly motivated and well trained Rosenallis outfit, but The Harps players gave an exhibition of hooking, blocking and turning over possession. All this and more will be needed in the final however as a strong Portlaoise side will be very hard to beat.
The Harps: 1.Peter Walsh. 2.David Doheny. 3.Daniel Comerford. 4.Shane Phelan. 5.Shane Fitzpatrick. 6.Podge Delaney. 7.Conor Dunne. 8.Ronan Delahunty. 9.Conor Brophy. 10.Conor Deegan. 11.Mick Lanigan. 12.Richie Saunders. 13.John Brophy. 14.Eoin Clancy. 15.Ciaran Comerford. Subs: Eoin O Sullivan for Shane Phelan, Padraig Dunne for Conor Brophy, Ross Young for Conor Deegan.