Abbeyleix 1-15 The Harps 1-9 AET
Laois MHC Final
Abbeyleix are minor ‘A’ hurling champions following a dramatic extra time win over The Harps tonight in the LOETB Centre of Excellence.
A game that was largely low scoring, caught fire towards the end of the second half and Abbeyleix continued at that pace into extra time to win by six in the end.
It was harsh on The Harps who, competing in their third straight decider, battled really well for the majority of the game and probably thought they had it won as they led by a point heading towards full time.
But Shaun Fitzpatrick sent the game to extra time with a score from 60 yards and once there, Abbeyleix kicked on.
Liam Kavanagh ended the game with five glorious points from play while the industrious Sam Quinn scored a crucial goal.
It brings up a remarkable double for the likes of Lawson Obular, Matthew Gibney, Davin McEvoy, Shaun Fitzpatrick, Sam Quinn, Alan McWey, Killian Byrne, Odhran Delaney and Conor McWey who all played in Ballyroan-Abbey’s minor football win last week.
The first half was really intense stuff with both sides largely cancelling each other out.
The Harps played with the wind by they operated with Rory Dunne as a sweeper while Abbeyleix dropped corner forward Tally Hassett out around midfield.
Cody Comerford, Cathal Murphy and Jim O’Connor were all on the scoresheet in the opening half for The Harps and the latter almost had a goal too midway through but his shot from the angle just flashed wide.
Colin Byrne, Sam Quinn and Liam Kavanagh amassed six points between them as Abbeyleix led 0-6 to 0-5 at half time.
The second half saw Abbeyleix turn with the wind but they failed to score for 20 minutes as Cody Comerford and Cathal Murphy edged The Harps ahead.
But the second water break was crucial for Abbeyleix as they regrouped and fired over three unanswered points via Byrne, Kavanagh and Davin McEvoy to lead 0-9 to 0-7 after 55 minutes.
But The Harps took the lead a minute later. Cody Comerford’s 65 struck the upright and an almighty scrambled ensued when the sliotar dropped with Cathal Murphy appearing to get the telling touch as the ball hit the net.
Liam Kavanagh instantly tied the game but when the excellent Jim O’Connor won a free, Cody Comerford pointed it and The Harps led by one with a minute to play.
But there would be another twist as Shaun Fitzpatrick scored a simply wonderful point after a great sidestep to level the game at 1-8 to 0-11 and send us to two ten minute periods of extra time.
Abbeyleix won the toss and chose to play with the wind but again the game went scoreless for the first six minutes of extra time before it caught fire.
Colin Byrne’s free edged Abbeyleix ahead before Sam Quinn won the resulting puckout and fired it back towards goal where the unfortunate Harps keeper Oisin Conroy spilled it into his net.
The Harps also lost Jim O’Connor to a serious looking knee injury in that time and Abbeyleix finished the half with points from Byrne and Fitzpatrick to lead 1-14 to 1-8 at half time in extra time.
After that, it was about seeing the second half out and Abbeyleix did that brilliantly. Captain Lawson Obular went full back and he, Matthew Gibney, Ross Coffey and Conor Dooley cleared ball after ball.
Killian Byrne hit an insurance score and although Cody Comerford responded with a free, that was all The Harps could muster.
So after 80 minutes, Abbeyleix were champions – a remarkable hurling and football double for the parish.
SCORERS – Abbeyleix: Colin Byrne (one 65, three frees) and Liam Kavanagh 0-5 each, Sam Quinn 1-1, Shaun Fitzpatrick 0-2, Davin McEvoy and Killian Byrne 0-1 each The Harps: Cathal Murphy 1-3 (two 65s), Cody Comerford 0-5 (all frees), Jim O’Connor 0-1
Abbeyleix: Kyle Mullen; Conor Dooley, Ross Coffey, Conor McWey; Adrian Dunne, Lawson Obular, Matthew Gibney; Davin McEvoy, Shaun Fotzpatrick; Sam Quinn, Liam Kavanagh, Alan McWey; Killian Byrne, Colin Byrne, Tally Hassett. Subs: Odhran Delaney for Hassett (44), Gavin Kelly for A McWey (57), Darragh Phelan for K Byrne (77)
The Harps: Oisin Conroy; Adam Walsh, Stephen Murphy, Rory Dunne; Ciaran Flynn, Daniel Dooley, Dan Kirby; Cathal Murphy, Darragh Kelly; Charlie Murphy, Cody Comerford, Luke Dunphy; Dylan Doyle, Jim O’Connor, Liam Kirby. Subs: Brian Holland for Walsh (20), Daniel Bowe for Doyle (48), Darragh Conroy for O’Connor (70, inj), Conor Walsh for C Murphy (74)
Referee: Pat Phelan (Castletown)