Harpettes at the Double!

posted 11 Nov 2018, 12:43 by Derrygonnelly Harps   [ updated 11 Nov 2018, 13:10 ]
SFL Division 2 Final
Harps 2-15 Tempo 0-1

The scoreline would suggest that this was a walk in the park, but it was a tough and competitive game.  Tempo had plenty of possession but couldn't convert their chances and certainly should have had a lot more than a solitary point for their efforts today.  What Tempo wouldn't have given though, to have had a forward of the quality of Eimear Smyth in their arsenal.  The baby faced assassin took Tempo down, hitting 2-12 for the Harps today in an exhibition.

Played in Kinawley as part of a league final double header, the game never reached the dizzying heights of the Championship final between the teams, and it was Tempo who started brightly with Caitriona Breen and Cadhla Bogue putting early pressure on the Harpettes.  Louise dealt with any comers in her usual no-nonsense fashion, clearing well, while Andy Gordon was solid as ever at the back.  Emma Burns, who put in an awesome shift around the middle, intercepted a Tempo clearance and won a free which she took quickly to Abigail Greene who slipped the ball on to Eimear to open the scoring.  Eimear then went 40 yards with the ball before pointing.  The impressive Aoibhinn Jones danced her way through several Tempo defenders and was taken down outside the box and Eimear dispatched the free before pointing from play after a great team move after Louise dealt with a high ball in and moved the ball up the wing.  Then came the penalty.  Abi and Eimear with an intricate passing move before Eimear was hauled down and the referee had no hesitation to award the penalty.  Eimear picked herself up and slotted the penalty past Teresa McNabb in the Tempo goal.  Tempo came back though, probing again and got their point from Zoe Leonard after Blaithin Bogue did the hard work around the middle third.  Eimear was fouled and pointed the free and Abi was grafting away up front, winning a free for Eimear to point.  Tempo probed again, with Louise dealing well with a Zoe Leonard effort before clearing to Emma, on to Sarah Jane Jones who threaded a perfect pass on to Auntie Imelda and the goal was on, but a brilliant save from McNabb denied Wee Mel, before Megan Maguire worked the recycled ball to point.  Tempo did not wilt though and a high ball in from Blaithin Bogue led to a bit of chaos around the goalmouth before Andy Gordon put out another fire with a goal line clearance, showing strength to burst out and move the ball up the field to Eimear who made ground before feeding a pin perfect pass to Megan to hit her second and leave it 1-8 to 0-1 at Half Time.

Eimear started the second half with some intent with a great point after a 40 yard run.  Wee Mel worked hard to win the dirty ball following a good pass in from Eimear and the sniff of the goal was there but she took the point.  Moments later Abi hit the black spot of the crossbar.  Tempo then upped the, errr, tempo, with Zoe Leonard and Caitriona Breen working hard and putting a bit of pressure on Louise and Andy but, as usual, they managed any danger with confidence.  There was a good ten minute spell in the second half where Tempo had a lot of possession but they took the wrong option in front of goal, Roisin McCusker and Cadhla Bogue making headway around the middle third but no scores to show for their efforts.  Sarah Jane Jones made an absolutely brilliant block on Blaithin Bogue and got hurt in the process, but was able to lay the ball off to Emma Burns who moved it upfield where Abi won another free, she hit the free quick to Eimear with precision and Eimear slotted it coolly into the bottom right hand corner of the net.  Eimear then hit four on the bounce with a free on the left in particular, some 35 plus yards out, an absolute belter.  Tempo though to their credit didn't give up, Zoe Leonards shot seeing the ball (and Louise) graze off the post (the post was hurt but ok) and the Harps moved the ball up the right wing through Andy and Aoibhinn Jones who found Wee Mel to feed Eimear who, with three lassies hanging out of her, pointed before the referee blew the thing up.

League Champions and the Double was achieved!!

The last time the Harps name appeared on the Division 2 trophy was back in 2000 when they defeated Tempo.  Interestingly both teams had one player from back then playing today; Teresa McNabb and Imelda Jones.
It was an unfair hour on Tempo, but by God the Harpettes have been there, done that, wore the T-shirt too.  Recent games against eventual Ulster winners Trillick and a 9-a-side league final defeat to Newtownbutler last week meant the girls had prepared with two really hard games in their bank.  They were hungrier, looked that bit sharper and played effectively as a unit.  In defence they never panicked, and always worked the ball out well, with someone always providing an outlet for the pass.  Louise marshalled the thing strongly from the back.  Natasha Cox just gets better with every game, Andy was rock solid and Bronadh Duffy was full of running, playing more like a half back and attacking fiercly.  Our half-back line were full of running, tenacious and worked hard.  Fair play to Aoibhinn Jones, Sarah Jane Jones and the tigerish Claire Gallagher, they tackled, they burst forward whenever they could and they made life difficult for Tempo as they tried to move forward.  Alannah played her sweeper role with intelligence while her tackling and tracking back meant she added extra cover.  Emma and Erin at midfield did more than enough, Erin getting stuck in while Emma was always an outlet for the defence to hit; she has some engine!  In our half forward line Keira Elliott and Imelda Jones were full of running, looking for that wee pass and moving the thing on.  Up front, Eimear deservedly took the player of the match accolade.  Some of her scores were jaw-droppingly good.  Megan Maguire was always sniffing around the goal and posed a very real threat inside, while Abi gave you an hour of pure and honest endeavour.  That cuttie has improved massively again this year, and is an ideal corner forward as she is always looking for the ball, making herself available and winning frees.
Substitutes Emma Leonard, Linda Brennan and Niamh Duffy all played their part too.  The whole squad did.  Its a squad game now and its been a fair few years since you'd have seen 25 Harpettes togged (3 others sitting it out waiting for babies to arrive) and the buzz around the ladies is filtering down with our minors, U16s and U14s in finals, winning some and more importantly, being competitive.  Huge credit to Mrs Harpette Louise Dundas for driving the thing on at all age levels and getting her rewards today.  She's probably hammering the dancefloor to Maniac2000 as you read this.  Fair play LouLou.
It would also be remiss not to comment on manager Niall Elliott, ably supported by Garry Smyth on a wonderful and historic achievement for the Harpettes.  Niall has done six years with the squad and can reflect with immense pride on a Championship and League double.  He's probably giving out about last weeks 9-a-side final defeat, but in the words of Meatloaf "Two out of three ain't bad!"

Well done lassies! #HarpettesAbú #TheFuturesBright #TheFuturesPurpleAndGold

Louise Dundas, Natasha Cox, Andrea Gordon, Bronadh Duffy, Aoibhinn Jones, Sarah Jane Jones, Claire Gallagher, Erin Flanagan, Emma Burns, Keira Elliott, Imelda Jones, Alannah Corrigan, Abigail Greene, Eimear Smyth, Megan Maguire, Linda Brennan, SavannahLeonard, Nessa Corrigan, Niamh Duffy, Lisa Murphy, Emma Leonard, Derbhla Duffy, Stephanie Jones, Emer McGlone