The Harps travelled to Borris-in-Ossory on Saturday evening to face a Colt Gaels side desperately needing a win to qualify for the latter stages of the Championship. The Harps were seeking a win to guarantee a Semi-Final place and to keep their momentum going following two wins from two games in the qualifying group – a loss would only guarantee a quarter final berth.

Following a warm day, the conditions were good for hurling as the cloud from storm Ernesto spilled in just in time to keep the sun out of the eyes. A breeze picked up throughout the game, providing assistance to The Harps side in the first half, but made point taking quite tricky in the second half. A good crowd attended the game making for a lively atmosphere.

Colt Gaels started brightly, lobbing over a free into the light breeze from the stick of Chris Murray. The Harps though settled quickly and reeled off several points from the sticks of Ciaran Comerford, Ronan Delahunty and John Brophy to put The Harps 0-03 to 0-01 ahead in as many minutes. The next five minutes saw Michael “Sticks” Lanigan reel over three points from frees as Colt had no answer to the dominance of The Harps. Eoin Clancy and Conor Deegan tagged on two more scores from play and with just ten minutes gone, things were looking ominous for Colt.

In the thirteenth minute Colt managed another free from Murray who was deadly accurate into the breeze. However, his free-taking opponent Michael Lanigan was equally as accurate and showed his class in firing over two long-range frees, one from his own 21yd line that was captured on video – see below:

Colt’s Chris Murray replied with two frees for Colt in what was a ten minute spell of the battle of the free-takers. John Brophy grabbed his second point of the game in the twenty first minute from play to push The Harps eight points clear on 0-12 to 0-04. The next five minutes saw the free-takers take over – Lanigan firing over yet another long-range effort while his counterpart Chris Murray popped over two points.

Points from Ronan Delahunty, Eoin Clancy and two frees from Lanigan saw The Harps finish the opening half on a very strong run and clocking up an impressive 0-17 to 0-06 lead.

The opening ten minutes of the second half was a completely different story though as the breeze that had assisted The Harps in the first half, was now a hindrance as it increased in strength. Colt Gaels capitalised on their new found friend and fired over five unanswered points – three frees. In the 43rd minute, Michael Lanigan opened the scoring for The Harps in this second half with another pointed free following a substitution which saw Pat Walshe being replaced with David Doheny.

The next five minutes saw Colt Gaels edge closer with a point from play and a pointed free either side of another Lanigan free. At this stage, manager Fintan Deegan called Darren Maher ashore and Ross Young came on in the full forward position. Michael Lanigan won a free in the middle of the park and his effort hit the upright and fell into the path of John Brophy who snapped at a goal – however his effort was saved and Ross Young gathered the rebound on the corner of the square and blasted to the net from a tight angle to put The Harps ahead on 1-19 to 0-14.

At this point, the Colt Gaels’ resurgance was over and the game as a contest petered out. Lanigan added a further free and a big cheer went up for Ross Young who added a point following his earlier major to see The Harps run out comfortable winners on a 1-21 to 0-14 scoreline. The Harps management will be happy with the performance and to have achieved a semi-final spot which could possibly be against Portlaoise on the 22nd of September should they advance in their quarter final.

The Harps: 1 – Peter Walsh; 2 – Shane Phelan; 3 – Conor Dunne; 4 – Tommy Moore; 5 – Pat Walshe; 6 – Padraig Delaney; 7 – Daniel Comerford; 8 – Shane Fitzpatrick; 9 – Ronan Delahunty; 10 – Conor Deegan;  11 – Michael Lanigan; 12 – Ciaran Comerford; 13 – John Brophy; 14 – Eoin Clancy; 15 – Darren Maher.

Scorers: Michael Lanigan 0-11 (0-10f); Ross Young 1-01; Ronan Delahunty 0-02; John Brophy 0-02; Eoin Clancy 0-02; Ciaran Comerford 0-01; Conor Deegan 0-01; Padraig Delaney 0-01.

Substitutions: 06mins (2nd half) off: Pat Walshe on: David Doheny; 17mins (2nd half)  off: Darren Maher on: Ross Young.