Harps Hurlers unlucky in the Junior Hurling Championship Semi-Final

posted 8 Oct 2018, 00:46 by Skerries Harps
Realt Dearg 0-18 Skerries Harps 0-15 

A strong last ten minutes from Realt Dearg put Skerries Harps Junior hurlers out of the championship at the penultimate step last Sunday in Drimnagh. In what was these team’s third final or semi-final clash in the last four years Realt Dearg finally got one over their North County rivals.

A strong wind blew down the Drimnagh Castle pitch and Skerries played into it in the first half. It turned out to be a very even and intense half. The sides exchanged points in the first quarter. A feature of the Skerries play was the clever use of the ball into the wind with full forward Denis Forde benefiting. Forde was unstoppable and converted six superb points from play in that half.

Having fallen three behind on 15 minutes a couple of Forde points together with a Ciaran Smith free brought the sides level. Great defence from Eoin Hickey, Ian Furlong and Andrew Smith were keeping the home side at bay. Behind them goalkeeper Jason Rogan dealt capably with anything that beat his defenders. However the loss of centre back Andrew Smith to injury after 20 minutes certainly disrupted the Harps. As a portend of things to come in the second half Realt Dearg finished strongly with three unanswered points. It could have been worse for the Harps if Rogan hadn’t brought off a wonder save from the home corner forward Robbie Madden at the expense of a 65.

The Harps failed to take full advantage of the breeze on the resumption and the home side maintained the three point margin for the first ten minutes of the half. Then, driven on by Furlong and Eoghan McGinley who had moved back to the centre back position, they gradually reeled in the home side. Aided by some excellent free taking by Aidan Kehoe they drew level and took the lead with a fine score from mid fielder Kevin Gilmore. Another long range Gilmore point put the Harps three ahead with ten minutes remaining. Ominously two goal chances created by great runs by Gilmore and Forde were not converted. 

Realt Dearg began to dominate around the middle and the unerring accuracy of their marksman Conor Maharaj pulled the deficit back and they hit six unanswered points to take a three point lead.

In one last attack Shane Rice had the ball in the Dearg net but the referee disallowed it for a square infringement. The Harps gallant championship run had come to an end.

They must now re-group to face Cuala in a promotion play off and gain some tangible reward for their effort throughout the year.

Harps: Jason Rogan, Kian Coleman, , Dan Graham, Ian Furlong, Andy Smith, Jonny Fay-Watt, Kevin Gilmore(0-2),Eoghan McGinley, Aidan Kehoe, (1-0),Ciaran Smith (0-10, 8f), Rory Noonan, Barry Grimes,  Denis Forde(0-6), Shane Rice  Substitutes; Gerry Daly  for A Smith, Paddy Fay-Watt for Grimes, Robbie O’Connor, David Kelly, Sean Rocks.