Promotion push still on for our AHL5 team

posted 3 Sep 2018, 00:40 by Skerries Harps

Skerries Harps 1-16 St. Oliver Plunketts Eoghan Ruadh 0-17

A clinical finish from the tenacious Eoin Hickey mid-way through the opening half turned out to be the crucial score in this narrow win for Skerries Harps junior hurlers as they maintained their promotion push in AHL5 on Thursday night. In what was effectively a play-off semi-final against their visitors from the Navan Road the big home crowd were treated to a nerve-tingling final quarter.

Whilst the quality of the game dipped at times as a contest it had everything an observer would wish for – some great scores by both sides, critical defensive efforts, a 7-minute stoppage due to a temporary floodlight failure, a strong comeback by Plunketts and two cool finishes from the Harps in injury time to secure an exciting victory.

On a fine evening for hurling the Harps opened brightly and opened the scoring with a couple of points from top-scorer Ciaran Smith. Some impressive play from Cian Coleman and Smith created an opening for Aidan Kehoe who burst through the defence and was desperately unlucky to see his super effort rebound off the crossbar. However, Hickey’s goal following great work by Shane Rice gave the Harps a five point lead.

The break in play due to the floodlight failure broke the Harps momentum and Plunketts finished the half in the supremacy, narrowing the gap to two points at the break 1-6 to 0-7.

Denis Forde, after a quiet opening period, burst into the game after the interval. A brave strong run through the centre of the visitor’s defence was finished sweetly to inspire an impressive third quarter from the Harps. Two more points from Forde, a super score from the energetic Kevin Gilmore and a number of converted frees from Smith put them six up at the three quarter stage.

To Plunkett’s credit they raised their game and point by point whittled down the margin and with two minutes of normal time remaining the sides were level at 1—13 to 0-16. It was then that Skerries showed their mental strength. The tireless Eoghan McGinley delivered a ball into the corner which Shane Rice won and struck a great point from a difficult angle. Plunketts answered with a long range point. Then Smith bravely won a puck out from Oisin O’Leary to feed Barry Grimes who converted despite significant pressure from the opposition defenders. Forde won a free and Smith’s cool conversion from far out ensured that the Harps leap-frogged Plunketts into third place and qualification for the promotion play-off.

It was just reward for some great performances over the last month. Having also reached the knockout stages of the Junior B championship it gives Harps hurlers plenty to aim for this Autumn.

Harps: Oisin O’Leary, Ciaran Allidine, Jonny Fay-Watt , Dan Graham, Rob Ferguson, Andy Smith, Kevin Gilmore(0-1),Eoghan McGinley, Aidan Kehoe, Eoin Hickey (1-0),Ciaran Smith (0-10, 8f), Cian Coleman, Denis Forde(0-3), Barry Grimes (0-1), Shane Rice (0-1) Substitutes; Ian Furlong  for Hickey, Kian Coleman for Allidine.