The Harps 1-18 Slieve Bloom 0-9
Laois Shopping Centre Premier IHC Semi-final
The Harps will take on Portlaoise in the Laois Premier IHC final after the proved too good for a hardworking Slieve Bloom side in O’Moore Park this afternoon.
Eoin Clancy’s first half goal put them in a strong position which they never looked like relinquishing, as they held Slieve Bloom at arm’s length for the remainder of the game. The only down side for them will have been losing three players to injury, as Eoin Clancy, Pauric Dunne and Ciaran Burke were all forced off.
Slieve Bloom made as fast a start as possible, as Ben Conroy won possession from the throw in, raced forward, and had the ball sailing between the posts with barely five seconds on the clock.
The Harps wasted little time in responding, and from the resulting puck out they worked the ball to John Brophy 20 yards out and he flashed a shot over the bar.
Those scores set the tone for a fast-paced and enjoyable start to the game, as The Harps opened up a lead despite playing into the wind. Michael Lanigan put them ahead with a free, and Ciaran Burke then doubled it moments later.
A sweeping team move then followed from Fintan Deegan’s side, as they worked the ball through the hands up the left wing before Lanigan drilled the ball over the bar from a tight angle.
Ciaran Conroy tried to cajole his team into life with a fine score for Slieve Bloom from distance, but Lanigan soon cancelled it out to leave The Harps three ahead at the first water break, 0-5 to 0-2.
The Harps showed no signs of letting up when play resumed as they soon struck for the first goal of the game. Good work from John Brophy saw him work the ball to Michael Lanigan 21 yards out, who in turn flicked the ball to Eoin Clancy, and he drilled a shot to the bottom corner.
Daniel Comerford followed it up with a point moments later, and Slieve Bloom were in serious trouble already with a little over a quarter of the game played.
Slieve Bloom tried to steady the ship, as Ross Holmes and Ben Conroy (two frees) pointed for them, but each time they hit the target The Harps would respond at the other end, and at half-time they were 1-10 to 0-5 ahead, with wind advantage to come in the second half.
They showed no signs of slowing down after the break either, as Michael Lanigan pointed in the first minute, and Ciaran Comerford added another moments later from out on the left wing.
Ciaran Conroy hit back for Slieve Bloom but they increasingly looked out of ideas against a good Harps side. Ben Conroy did manage a couple of frees for them after Michael Lanigan had hit his seventh of the day, but at the second water break The Harps were still firmly in control, 1-13 to 0-8.
Conroy hit another free for Slieve Bloom when play got back under way as they kept their faint hopes alive, but a run of three points on the trot in response from The Harps quickly expelled those thoughts.
Shane Fitzpatrick got the first with a nice score from 30 yards out, and Philip Russell and Ciaran Comerford added one more each to make it a ten point game.
The competitive edge was out of the game after that, and The Harps cantered to the final whistle as they now face Portlaoise for the chance to return to the senior ranks.
SCORERS – The Harps: Michael Lanigan 0-8 (0-3 frees, 0-1 sideline cut), Ciaran Comerford 0-4, Eoin Clancy 1-0, Daniel Comerford 0-2, John Brophy 0-1, Ciaran Burke 0-1, Shane Fitzpatrick 0-1, Philip Russell 0-1. Slieve Bloom: Ben Conroy 0-6 (0-5 frees), Ciaran Conroy 0-2, Ross Holmes 0-1.
THE HARPS: Peter Walsh; Gavin Dunne, Conor Dunne, David Doheny; Pauric Dunne, Podge Delaney, Fionn Whelan; Ciaran Burke, Barry Dunne; Ciaran Comerford, Eoin Clancy, Daniel Comerford; Michael Lanigan, John Brophy, Philip Russell. Subs: Shane Fitzpatrick for Clancy (20 mins, inj), Pakie Flynn for P Dunne (29 mins, inj), Pat Walsh for Burke (half time, inj), Darren Maher for Brophy (45 mins)
SLIEVE BLOOM: Gavin Conroy; Enda Conroy, Tom Delaney, Sean Nolan; Gearoid Lowry, John Lowry, Shane Farrell; Ben Shore, Ben Conroy; Darren Delaney, Evan Power, Ross Holmes; Taidgh Cuddy, Ciaran Conroy, Fearghal Burke. Subs: Robbie Burke for Holmes (half time), Martin Delaney for Shore (41 mins), Rory Power for E Power (59 mins)
REFEREE: John Lalor (Shanahoe)
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