Championship Draw With Clans
Harps v Clan na Gael
Our Seniors threw away a golden opportunity to progress in the Championship last night when they failed to hold out despite going into the last quarter with a nine point lead. The match finished in a draw, but for Harps this was one that was thrown away.
Harps started off attacking the Dalton Road goals but it was Clans who had the early pressure. Michael O’Hagan had a bad wide but quickly made up for it with a well taken point from out on the right. Referee Paudie Hughes then awarded Clans a close in free for an off the ball incident, which was tapped over for a point. Both sides swapped wides before Ultan Lennon opened our account with a point from a free, and soon added another point from a free to level the scores. Harps at this stage were coming more and more into the game and following a period of pressure Peader Toal landed a great point from play. Campbell slotted a good point for Clans, but Charlie Vernon soon found himself in space. He beat a covering defender and powered in a shot that keeper Ryan Magennis did well to block. Fortunately for us the rebound fell kindly and Charlie tapped to the net for the opening goal. To be fair to Clans, they responded well but could not make it count on the scoreboard. They hit a series of bad wides whilst only notching one point in this period of play – a long range free from Campbell. Harps in contrast were much more economical with the shooting and points followed from Peadar Toal and Ultan Lennon (two, one a free).
Half time, Harps 1-06, Clan na Gael 0-04.
Harps started off like a house on fire in the second period, with Peadar and Ultan both prominent. Ultan landed two frees, the second of which was a brilliant effort from out on the left, whilst one of Peadar’s scores was a huge effort from distance. Clans in this period could only muster a solitary wide. Clans did eventually manage a score with a point from a close in free. The score was greeted with near silence. However this was all to change within a minute. Clans won the resulting kickout, and an excellent pass up the left wing appeared to catch our defence out. The ball was worked in to Sean Mackle who was overlapping in the middle and he finished brilliantly to the corner of the net. Harps responded well and although two wides followed we managed to get the next score with another brilliant long range effort from Peadar. However, unbelievably this was to be our last score. Clans had their tails up and scored the next three points in a row to leave just three points in it. Philly McKinney was brought on at midfield for Martin McKenna to try and quell the dominance of O’Hagan and Austin. Harps badly needed a score but Beefer shot a poor wide. Clans came up the pitch and notched another point. As the game entered three minutes of injury time, Harps were holding on desperately. Clans yet again found space and advanced for a point. In the very last minute they worked the ball up into the top right hand corner and as the forward worked his way in, Paudie Hughes adjudged that the he was fouled when he went to ground. Wing half back Peader Nash held his nerve to slot the equaliser and the came was blown up on the restart.
Full time, Harps 1-11, Clan na Gael 1-11.
Credit has to go the opposition for the manner in which they came back to save the game. However from a Harps point of view the inquests will centre on how the game was thrown away. Leading by nine points with fifteen minutes to go, the game should have been closed out. There is certainly a lot of room for improvement from many Harps’ individuals and from the team as a whole. Best for us on the night were Martin Gill in defence, Harpo around the middle and Nippy and Peadar in attack. Harps lined out as follows. Conan Lennon, Chuckie Morris, Neil McArdle, Hugh McSorley, Charlie Vernon 1-0, Collie Holmes, Martin Gill, Gareth Richards (Martin McCoy), Martin McKenna (Philly McKinney), Ultan Lennon 0-6 (0-5 frees), Harpo McKenna, Nippy Swift, Ebby Toal (Kevin Kelly), Peadar Toal 0-5 and Sean Morrison.