Park Ratheniska-Timahoe 4-11 The Harps 2-11
Laois Shopping Centre JHC Final
Laois’s newest hurling club Park-Ratheniska/Timahoe have claimed their first title following a hard-earned win over The Harps in O’Moore Park this evening.
Park-Ratheniska and Timahoe had soldiered for years separately as hurling clubs in a part of the county where football is Number 1 but they threw their lot in together ahead of the 2018 season.
Their first year as a combined force was a disappointing one as they were relegated from the intermediate ranks but they made sure their stay was a short one in the lower tier.
Wins over Rathdowney-Errill, Abbeyleix and Portlaoise sent them into the final against a Harps side that had come the more scenic route and through a semi-final replay win over Castletown.
And Park-Ratheniska/Timahoe got the job done here, turning in a powerful second half to overcome a two-point half-time deficit to win by six in the end.
Goals were key and Park-Ratheniska/Timahoe got two at crucial junctures in the second half to set them free.
The first half was a lively affair with the lead changing hands on numerous occasions.
Fionn Whelan and Ross Young (free) pointed either side of a Ruairi O’Connor effort before Park-Ratheniska/Timahoe struck for the game’s first goal, Sean Tynan bundling the ball over the line after a long ball into The Harps defence after six minutes.
The Harps responded well to that setback with Ross Young pointing a free and then Conor Deegan bravely batting to the net after winning possession ahead of Ger Ramsbottom.
Evan Deegan, Liam Dunphy and another Young free extended their lead though Robbie Foyle kept his side in it with his first point.
Paschal Foyle then added one from play before Ruairi O’Connor pounced for their second goal. He snapped up the break off a long ball in and his shot had just about enough power in it to beat Lorcan Fitzpatrick.
Robbie Foyle and O’Connor pointed either side of a Niall Brophy long-range effort but Brophy then got in for the game’s second goal after great work from Liam Dunphy.
At half time The Harps led 2-7 to 2-5 but they would have been forgiven for being disappointed with their shooting having hit 10 first-half wides in total.
With a strengthening wind advantage in the second half, Park-Ratheniska/Timahoe had more of the possession and were level by the 41st minute thanks to a long-range point from play by county footballer Damien O’Connor and a free from Robbie Foyle.
And The Harps had goalkeeper Lorcan Fitzpatrick to thank for pulling off a fine penalty save on Padraig Kelly.
A Young free and a fine score from play from Aaron O’Grady nudged The Harps two in front again but the game’s decisive moment arrived in the 45th minute when a Paschal Foyle shot for a point failed dropped short and dribbled past Fitzpatrick.
That put Park-Ratheniska/Timahoe one up but Ruairi O’Connor and Robbie Foyle pointed from play to give them the slightest bit of breathing space.
The Harps pulled back a couple of late points but O’Connor nipped in for his second goal in injury time as Park-Ratheniska/Timahoe duly did enough to get the job done.
SCORERS – Park Ratheniska-Timahoe: Ruairi O’Connor 2-3, Robbie Foyle 0-6 (two frees), Paschal Foyle 1-1 Sean Tynan 1-0, Damien O’Connor 0-1. The Harps: Ross Young 0-5 (all frees), Conor Deegan 1-1, Niall Brophy 1-1, Aaron O’Grady 0-1, Evan Deegan 0-1, Fionn Whelan 0-1, Liam Dunphy 0-1
PARK-RATHENISKA/TIMAHOE: Ger Ramsbottom; James O’Connor, Martin Kelly, Joe Foyle; Geoff Kingman, Gavin Tynan, Damien O’Connor; Brendan Fingleton, James Langton; Sean Tynan, Michael Brennan, Ciaran Lennon; Ruairi O’Connor, Paschal Foyle, Robbie Foyle. Subs: Padraig Kelly for Brennan (25), Patrick Kelly for S Tynan (38), Brian Fingleton for Kingman (46), Geoff Kennedy for Padraig Kelly (60)
THE HARPS: Lorcan Fitzpatrick; Danny Delahunty, Gavin Dunne, Thomas Walsh; Eoghan Doheny, John Prior, Shane Donohue; Brian Clancy, Aaron O’Grady; Liam Dunphy, Fionn Whelan, Evan Deegan; Conor Deegan, Niall Brophy, Ross Young. Subs: Gareth Singh for Whelan (35), Aaron Dunne for Brophy (51), Shane Tyrell for Dunphy (54)
REFEREE: JJ Gorman (Clough-Ballacolla)