Eastern Harps 0-10 Owenmore Gaels 1-7
The minor lads concluded the group stages of the championship with a draw in a close and hard fought contest at Keash. Both of these teams had qualified for the semi-finals prior to throw-in which potentially made this a non-competitive dead rubber. However, with both of these teams harbouring hopes of landing the coveted trophy it was always going to be a competitive game with lads looking to impress and stake a claim for their place in the team and also for both teams to keep their momentum going.
Eastern Harps settled first to the difficult conditions caused by the recent poor weather. They hit the first two points of the game from play. We opened our account with a free from Stephen Fallon, won when a determined Jamie Callaghan run was halted illegally. Harps responded with a free. Our backs began to get to grips with the conditions which built a platform for our forward players to click, cornerbacks Vinnie Harte and Evan Willis particularly impressive in this period. Ross Trill joined the attack from midfield to land a nice point to reduce arrears. The score of the game was to follow. Fallon and Oisin Geraghty were involved in the build up, Geraghty feeding Darragh Mahon in the corner. A jinking weaving run saw Mahon leave two Harps defenders flatfooted and a clever offload to the on-rushing Callum Tonry ended with a clinical finish to the net via the upright to put us two ahead 1-2 0-3. Harps reponded well with two points, one from play and one from a free to level it up again. The teams traded points each before half-time, Fallon with a beauty off his left and harps a free to leave it level at the break, 1-3 0-6.
We had an ecellent start to the second have, Trill and James Duffy combining to win the throw-in and feed Geraghty who hit a fine ball inside to Fallon to point. We dominated the first 15 mins of this half. Aaron Walsh drew a foul from his marker which Fallon converted. Wing back Roly Anderson raided forward with precision timing to clip over a point and put us in a 3 point lead. The teams exchanged frees, Fallon with another which was won after fine work by Jordan McGuinn. Unfortunately that would prove to be our final point as Harps came back strong. They picked of 3 scores to equalise in the closing 10 minutes, and although both teams had chances to win it a draw was probably a fair reflection on the game.
This was a good work out for the team. They worked very hard and it was important not to lose the game and keep the unbeaten run going into the knockout stages. It was very competitive, against the championship favourites, giving the ideal preparation for the semi. Standout performer on the day was Stephen Fallon in the half-forward line, he was involved in almost everything, and again led by example when it came to tracking back and covering the ground. Also great to see Diarmuid O’Grady back between the sticks after a long lay-off, keeping a clean sheet on his return.
The team are now one game away from reaching a second championship final in two years at this grade with a semi final to come against either Curry or St. Molaise Gaels.
Team: Diarmuid O’Grady, Vinnie Harte, Jack Foley, Evan Willis, Roan Conneely, Jamie Callaghan, Roly Anderson (0-1), Ross Trill (0-1), James Duffy, Stephen Fallon (0-5, 3F), Oisin Geraghty, Calum Tonry (1-0) (Bryan McPartland), Daragh Mahon (Kevin Quigley), Jordan McGuinn, Aaron Walsh. Subs: Mark Walsh, Bryan Mcpartland, Kevin Quigley