Sunday 26 February 2017

Taylor pulls the strings as Harps strike right note

Sligo SFC final
Eastern Harps 0-13 Tourlestrane 0-10

Eastern Harps regained the Owen B Hunt Cup after their win over title-holders Tourlestrane at Markievicz Park yesterday.

Tourlestrane were hoping to become the first team to put back-to-back Sligo titles together in 21 years -- but the 2008 champions denied them their wish.

The reigning champions edged the opening quarter by 0-4 to 0-3 -- three Gerry McGowan efforts (two frees) and a John Marren point against two frees from Paul Taylor and a John Rafferty point.

Tourlestrane were ahead 0-6 to 0-4 after 19 minutes -- through another McGowan free and a point from from Allstar Eamonn O'Hara -- but the loss of full-back Eamon Haran and captain David Durkin to injury proved to be a major turning point.

Harps had momentum for the rest of the opening half and scores from Taylor, Keith Carty and Rafferty meant they hit the front by the 29th minute 0-7 to 0-6. However, a first-half stoppage-time free from McGowan sent the sides in level at the interval.

Harps were the stronger on the resumption and had racked up a three-point advantage by the 44th minute -- through three more Taylor frees and a Rafferty point, with a Brian Egan free for Tourlestrane, leaving it 0-11 to 0-8.

Taylor's 49th-minute free for Eastern Harps extended their lead to 0-12 to 0-8, but scores from Niall Egan and James Leonard reduced the deficit to two points by the 58th minute.

Tourlestrane went in search of a goal and only a terrific save from Harps 'keeper Brendan McHugh prevented Leonard from putting his side in front in added-time -- although McGowan was unfortunate to be penalised for a square-ball in his attempt to convert the rebound.

Taylor sealed Harps' win with a point from a tight angle in added time to give the east Sligo side their second county championship in three years.

SCORERS -- Eastern Harps: P Taylor 0-9 (0-7f), J Rafferty 0-3, K Carty 0-1. Tourlestrane: G McGowan 0-5 (0-4f), Brian Egan 0-1 (0-1f), J Marren, E O'Hara, N Egan, J Leonard 0-1 each.

EASTERN HARPS -- B McHugh; S King (capt), B Cryan, R Donovan; K Gallagher, P McGovern, P Rafferty; P Grady, T Taylor; G Horan, K Carty, M Doddy; R Hannon, P Taylor, J Rafferty. Subs: C Gallagher for Carty (53).

TOURLESTRANE -- S Gildea; K Brennan, E Haran, B Kennedy; N Gaughan, D Durkin (capt), G Gaughan; S Dunne, A McIntyre; E O'Hara, Brendan Egan, J Marren; J Leonard, Brian Egan, G McGowan. Subs: S King for Durkin (21), D Dunne for Haran (21), S Henry for S Dunne (39), N Egan for D Dunne (45), J Quinn for Marren (59).

REF -- M Duffy (Enniscrone-Kilglass)

Irish Independent

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