Despite it being only the third round on the Senior 1 camogie league campaign for 2017 this was billed as a top of the table clash between two sides seen as likely contenders for honours this year. And the game did not disappoint. Each side had scored freely in the first two rounds but their respective speedy forwards struggled in the early stages to trouble the scoreboard. Tigerish defence by both sides, epitomised by Roisin Leneghan and Fiona Keegan in the Skerries full back line, restricted both sets of forwards to rushed and inaccurate shooting in the early stages. Remarkably, it was the 19th minute before the first score arrived, a fine point by the impressive Tara O’Flaherty for Skerries. This was followed quickly by a well worked score from mid-fielder Orlaith Durkan.
Faughs, who had been winning their fair share of possession then breached the home defence to score a good goal from mid-fielder Meg Lewis. Durkan replied with another excellent score but Faughs added another goal and a point in the final minutes. Despite a pointed free from home captain Aoife Halpin Faughs led by 2-1 to 0-4 at the break.
In contrast to the first half the second started at a blistering pace which hardly relented over the 30 minutes. The visitors looked like they had taken a decisive lead after five minutes when a 45’ dropped short and some hesitant defending allowed their full forward Holly Finnegan crash another goal to extend the margin to six points.
But this group of Harps players have shown great spirit in their games already this season and upped the intensity of their play another notch. Half backs Grace Leach and Jean Murphy were dominant and spread their clearances wide to the advantage of their quick forward line. This open play provided an opportunity for Durkan to burst through and finish to the net. The big crowd were really getting value at this stage with the game in the melting pot. Robyn Kehoe who had been held in the first half burst into the game with a fine point on the run. Another long ball into the Faughs goalmouth was crashed home by Nicola Thorne to level the scores with ten left.
The young Faughs team then dominated, but the Skerries defence stood firm with goalkeeper Niamh Kirby dealing capably with all that came her way. With five to go the crucial move of the game started with a fine clearance from Kirby finding Thorne on the Skerries 65. She threaded a great ball through the Faughs defence which was picked up by the flying Kehoe. Accelerating through the Faughs rear-guard she travelled thirty metres before finishing emphatically to the Faughs net.
The visitors tried valiantly to get the equalising goal but were restricted to a pointed free from substitute Catherine Costelloe. Skerries held out for a good two-point win in a game that could have gone to either side. Undoubtedly these two sides will see more of each other at the latter stages of this year’s competitions.
The Harps now face the other unbeaten side in the division, St Oliver Plunketts, in Skerries next Tuesday evening. Another fine tussle is in prospect.
Harps: Niamh Kirby O’Sullivan, Yvonne Hannon, Fiona Keegan, Roisin Leneghan, Grace Leach, Jean Murphy, Kathy Gilmore, Orlaith Durkan (1-2), Aoife Halpin (0-2f), Nicola Thorne (1-0) Rachel O’Flaherty, Tara O’Flaherty (0-1) Alix Buckley, Ashling Spillane, Robyn Kehoe (1-1) Subs: Honor Gielty for McMahon, Chloe McHicholas for Spillane. Shona McMahon,