In the final curtain-raiser to the Laois and Cork commemorative game, The Harps booked their place in this year’s Feile with a thrilling two point victory over Abbeyleix in Ballacolla on Easter Monday.
The Harps opened the scoring with just a minute on the clock through a Conor Delaney free to edge them into an early lead. The next score didn’t arrive until the ninth minute when Abbeyleix stormed through on goal. Ciaran Byrne weaved his way through the Harps defence before rifling the ball past goalkeeper Lorcan Fitzpatrick to give them a two point lead.
The Harps built on their lead on the ten minute mark with Aaron Brennan slotting over a free to put three points between the sides. The Harps hit back with a free of their own, again Conor Delaney applying the finish, to cut the gap to two points with the half nearing a close.
Abbeyleix’s Ciaran Byrne closed out the half with a superb point from a very acute angle to leave just a goal separating the sides at the break on a scoreline of 1-2 to 0-2.
The Harps wasted no time in breaking down the Abbeyleix lead as within thirty seconds with Conor Delaney sending over his third point of the day to narrow the gap to two points, before points followed from Mark Deegan and Ciaran Burke to level the game for the first time.
Abbeyleix waited just two minutes to reclaim their lead with Aaron Brennan lobbing Lorcan Fitzpatrick in the Harps goals to push Abbeyleix into a three point lead once again. The Harps took off on a scoring spree just after with Delaney (2) and Deegan splitting the posts, while Delaney also broke through the Abbeyleix defence before lifting the green flag to turn it around and see them take a three point lead.
Abbeyleix pulled a point back right on the stroke of full-time through an Enda McWey free, but time ran out on their efforts and the Harps held out for a two point victory to see them through to the Feile.