Match report-Conacht Gold JBFC Coolera/Strandhill v Eastern Harps

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Connacht Gold Junior B Championship Semi-Final

Friday 8 October 2021


Referee Michael Conway.


Eastern Harps 0.16, Coolera/Strandhill 1.06


Eastern Harps secured their place in the Connacht Gold Junior B final at Tourlestrane on Friday evening by virtue of a very strong last quarter in which they outscored their opponents Coolera/Strandhill by six points to nothing. 


Credit firstly must go to the host club Tourlestrane for having their pitch in great condition despite the incessant rain in the previous 48 hours.


Harps started the stronger with David Sheppard punishing fouls on Alan Mc Gowan, James O’Hara and James Kiernan with three successive frees/


They added to that with a fourth point from the outside of the right boot of corner forward Brian Forkin and a whitewash looked on the cards.


Coolera/Strandhill lifted the siege momentarily when Shane Brennan split the posts for their first score but the men from the East hit back undaunted with a fine David Sheppard point from play, this time with his left foot, despite been fouled in the build up to leave the score at the first water break at 0.5 points to 0.1.


When play resumed the seasiders began to exert more control on proceedings as James Hampson and Mark Connell came into the game. Harps were also impacted by the loss of Colin McGill to injury. On the scoreboard Coolera had a Karol O’Neill point from a free plus one from play by Luke Comerford which were matched by two more frees from the merciless Sheppard.


O Neill and the Harps full back Cathal Coyle were having a titanic battle on the edge of the square to the point where referee Michael Conway had to consult with his umpire before reversing a decision to give Coolera a fourteen-meter free in favour of a free out to the East Division side.


The half came to a close with midfielder Mark Connell popped over a loose ball after a poor delivery from a forty five to bring Coolera to within one score at the break Eastern Harps 0.07 Coolera/Strandhill 0.04


James Kiernan extended the Harps lead once again when play resumed, and this was followed by another Shepard free.


Coolera had their first score of the half courtesy of a piece of individual brilliance from Cormac Correria when he flicked the ball over a defender’s head along the sideline and went on a powerful run before slotting the ball over the bar.


It got better for them when the wily O Neill used his craft strength and experience to hold off two Harps defenders before giving Errol Flynn no chance with a superb finish. When O Neill repeated the same feat in the next attack but this time taking a point it reduced the deficit to a one point game.


The water break interrupted Coolera's momentum and when play resumed Harps upped the ante and reeled off six unanswered scores.


Substitute Brian Craig was full of running and gaps began to appear in the Coolera/Strandhill's rear guard


There was a brace of points from each of Ross Donovan and James Kiernan, a solitary point from another substitute Declan Hannon and a monstrous free from Michael Lennon. which saw Eastern Harps progress to the final.


Harps had a nice blend of youth and experience. Ross Donovan was very commanding in defence and got great assistance from Diarmuid Higgins and Finn Bruen. In midfield Thomas Cryan put in a solid shift and while David Shepard rightly received the plaudits for his scoring there was also good displays from James Kiernan, James O Hara and Michael Lennon.


For Coolera Karl O Neill was the main scoring threat but Enda Mitchell, James Hampson and Cathal Norton were also prominent.


Eastern Harps. Errol Flynn; Diarmuid Higgins, Cathal Coyle, Keith Judge; Finn Bruen, Ross Donovan (0.2) Daragh Madden; Thomas Cryan, Colin McGill; David Sheppard (0.08); James Kiernan (0.03) Michael Lennon (0.01); Brian Forkin (0.01) James O Hara, Alan Mc Gowan.

Subs used Paddy Pilkington, Stephen Craig, Brian Craig, Declan Hannon(0.01)


Coolera/Strandhill Gerard Murphy; Diarmuid Loftus, David McGee, Enda Mitchell; Ciallan McCahey, Anthony Kelly, James Hampson; Cathal Norton, Mark Connell (0.01); Liam Gilligan, Jason East, Cormac Correria (0.01); Brennan, Karol O Neill (1.03) Luke O Neill.

Subs used Brendan Mc Guinness, Adrian McPartland, Francis Gaughan Chris Connolly, David Joyce.