Home Sport GAA Abbeyleix and The Harps set to do battle for Laois U-20 hurling...

Abbeyleix and The Harps set to do battle for Laois U-20 hurling title

The new fixtures for the hurling championships are here

Laois U-20 ‘A’ HC Final – Abbeyleix v The Harps
In the Laois GAA Centre of Excellence at 1.30pm

One of the last Laois hurling finals of 2021 will be decided in the Centre of Excellence in Portlaoise this afternoon when The Harps and Abbeyleix meet in the U-20 ‘A’ hurling final.

Abbeyleix last won this grade in 2012 when they were amalgamated with Ballypickas but you’ve to go all the way back to 1979 for the last time they won it on their own. The Harps were successful at this level in 2006 but it was as a Gaels team that also incorporated Ballinakill. 1990 was their sole success at this level on their own.

For both clubs it offers the chance to end the year on a high.

Abbeyleix, who have beaten Borris-Kilcotton and Rathdowney-Errill to reach the U-20 final, were relegated from senior by The Harps back in early October when a handful of players from both sides were involved while more of the Abbeyleix lads were involved when they lost this year’s junior final to Ballypickas.

They are under the guidance of senior manager Lorcan Mahony while Laois senior goalkeeper Enda Rowland, Declan Phelan and Chris Murray are also involved.

Fionan Mahony, Ciaran Byrne and Lawson Obulor all played senior championship this year with all three also involved with the Laois U-20 hurlers. Colin Byrne and Liam Kavanagh, who scored two goals in Monday’s semi-final win over Rathdowney-Errill, were with the Laois minors this year.

Byrne and Kavanagh, along with Ross Coffey and Adrian Byrne have already tasted county final defeat with Abbeyleix this year in the heart-breaking minor final loss to Camross.

Indeed it’s been a busy year all round for most of these young Abbeyleix players, many of whom have also been involved with the various Ballyroan-Abbey football teams and are chasing U-20 success on the double with a semi-final against St Joseph’s to look forward to on Wednesday night.

The Harps, who were beaten in the corresponding minor and U-16 finals in 2018 and 2017 by Clough-Ballacolla and in the U-14 final in 2015 by Abbeyleix, have been too strong for Camross and Castletown en route to this decider.

They are under the management of Noel Delaney and can call on James Duggan, Rian Edwards and Aaron O’Grady, who all have senior experience, while Cathal Murphy and Lorcan Fitzpatrick were with Duggan with the Laois U-20 hurlers this year.

Unfortunately for them they must do without Ciaran Burke, who is out injured and recovering from a knee operation.

The two clubs have been very prominent all the way up along through the underage ranks and the last two minor finals have been between them.

The Harps were somewhat surprise winners in the 2019 minor final but Abbeyleix turned the tables 12 months ago.

Another tight one is expected today but Abbeyleix might just have enough.

SEE ALSO – New Laois GAA chairman set to be elected unopposed

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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.