Home Hurling Club Hurling Depleted Harps fade in the second half as County Champions Clough-Ballacolla make...

Depleted Harps fade in the second half as County Champions Clough-Ballacolla make winning start

Clough-Ballacolla 2-23 The Harps 0-17
Senior Hurling Championship Group A Round 1

Clough-Ballacolla’s defence of the Bob O’Keeffe Cup is off to a winning start after they saw off neighbours The Harps in O’Moore Park this afternoon.

This game was very competitive for 40 minutes but a Harps sending off plus a brilliant goal from Stephen Maher killed the game at that stage.

The Harps, who started the game without Gavin Dunne, Fionn Whelan, Ciaran Comerford and Ciaran Burke, were very competitive in the first half and actually led by three points at one stage.

But they faded as it went on, only managing five pointed frees in the second half, and Ballacolla’s class shone through

Evan Deegan fired them ahead and although Stephen Maher replied for Clough-Ballacolla with a free, the excellent Micheal Lanigan responded with two more.

A Maher brace drew Ballacolla level and although Eoin Clancy scored for The Harps, another Maher free left them trailing 0-5 to 0-4 at the water break.

The Harps got back on top in the second quarter with Lanigan converting an excellent sideline and John Brophy also pointing.

There was a huge moment in the final minute of the first half. With The Harps two up, a huge row broke out in front of The Harps management.

In the end, Clough-Ballacolla’s Jordan Walshe and The Harps’ Eoghan Doheny were shown yellow cards and the ball was thrown in – resulting in a goal.

Referee Alan Doheny’s throw ball broke straight to Aidan Corby and he raced clear to score a goal.

The Harps responded with a late free from Evan Deegan to send us in level at half time – 0-12 to 1-9.

Michael Lanigan regained the lead for The Harps on the resumption but Ballacolla went ahead following points from Maher, Robbie Phelan and Mark Hennessy.

They almost had a goal in that period too as a long range free from Stephen Maher dropped short and was flicked goalwards by Hennessy only for keeper Peter Walsh to pull off an acrobatic save.

But he was beaten in the 40th minute when Aidan Corby’s line ball found Stephen Maher and he left David Doheny in his wake to score a brilliant goal.

And things went from bad to worst for The Harps a minute later when sub Richie Saunders was shown a second yellow card and they were down to 14 for the remainder.

Clough-Ballacolla led 2-16 to 0-13 at the second water break and continued to pile in on from there to win well.

SCORERS – Clough-Ballacolla: Stephen Maher 1-14 (eleven frees), Aidan Corby 1-1, Stephen Bergin 0-3, Jordan Walshe 0-1, Robbie Phelan 0-1, Mark Hennessy 0-1, John Dwyer 0-1, Willie Dunphy 0-1 The Harps: Michael Lanigan 0-12 (ten frees, one sideline), Evan Deegan 0-2 (one free), Eoin Clancy 0-2, John Brophy 0-1

CLOUGH-BALLACOLLA: Cathal Dunne; Diarmaid Conway, Darren Maher, Eoin Doyle; Robbie Phelan, Michael McEvoy, Lee Cleere; Willie Hyland, Aidan Corby; Stephen Bergin, Jordan Walshe, Mark Hennessy; John Dwyer, Stephen Maher, Willie Dunphy. Subs: Cillian Dunne for McEvoy (45)

THE HARPS: Peter Walsh; Conor Dunne, Padraic Dunne, David Doheny; Barry Dunne, Podge Delaney, Eoghan Doheny; Daniel Comerford, Eoin Clancy; Evan Deegan, Pat Walshe, Michael Lanigan; Philip Russell, James Duggan, John Brophy Subs: Richie Saunders for Russell (9), Cathal Murphy for D Doheny (47)

Referee: Alan Doheny (Castletown)

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.