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LIVE BLOG: Follow all the action as Abbeyleix and The Harps meet in SHC Relegation final

It is the final that nobody wants to be in – but Abbeyleix and The Harps will contest it tonight.

Survival will be the prize as these two neighbours clash and go in search of their first wins of the season.

2021 began really well for The Harps as they defeated Portlaoise to win the 2020 Premier IHC title in the summer.

But life at this level has proved difficult for them. Covid issues saw their first round game against Clough-Ballacolla delayed by a week.

They lost that and then were narrowly edged out by Castletown in Round 2 before suffering the same fate against Rosenallis.

Fintan Deegan’s charges have been hampered by the loss of key players from their Premier IHC win – Ciaran Burke (injury), Fionn Whelan (abroad) and Gavin Dunne (abroad).

From the minute the draw was made, Abbeyleix knew they were going to be up against it if they were to avoid an appearance here.

They were very unfortunate not to defeat Borris-Kilcotton in Round 1 as they were caught right at the end by a PJ Scully free for a draw.

Abbeyleix were then level with Rathdowney-Errill heading into the final quarter only to concede an unfortunate goal before losing.

But worryingly for them they looked well off it against Camross two weeks ago and went down heavily.

Abbeyleix have had the tougher games and that should stand to them.

But last year, Ballinakill came into the game in a similar position and ended up being pipped by a Castletown side who had shown little form before that.

The Harps will be hoping James Duggan can catch fire and that Micheal Lanigan can remain steady on frees.

Abbeyleix will be hoping for the same from the likes of Aaron Brennan and Ciaran Byrne.

A tight encounter is anticipated and we’ll bring you all of the action as it happens on our live blog below:

SEE ALSO – 11 clubs represented on latest LaoisToday football Team of the Week

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Steven Miller is owner and managing editor of LaoisToday.ie. From Laois, Steven studied Journalism in DCU and has 14 years experience in the media, almost 10 of those in an editorial role. Husband of Emily, father of William and Lillian, he's happiest when he's telling stories or kicking a point.