Harps Veteran Match Report

HARPS’ VETERANS’ MATCH GOES DOWN TO THE WIRE!

Saturday October 27th saw a hardy 27 Harps veterans take to the field for an exhibition match before a good crowd of curious onlookers. The proceeds from the gate are being donated to Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Some of the excuses for no-shows were the same as in the seventies and eighties (“Putting out slurry” “Farming on the Barrs” “Gone to Bundoran”), but nonetheless, organisers Donal Corrigan and Michael Glynn managed to put together two well balanced sides, and managed to pick them very evenly to give a good game. 

The first half saw Glynn’s Yellowbellies having the lion’s share of possession, but failing to convert their chances, as purple defenders Aidy McGovern and Niall Smyth, plus keeper Gerald Greene held them at bay somehow. Mick himself had a particularly good miss from two yards, but at least it was a point. His strong runs for possession were giving his marker Gavin Duffy serious bother, but thankfully Big Sean’s deliveries in to him from midfield were so wayward that this avenue was not as heavily exploited as it might have been. Francie Ward was also scampering about inside the twenty one and he managed to nick a point or two. Garry Smyth and Gerard ‘Boots’ Maguire were also causing problems with their mobility, if not their shooting. At the other end, Donal Corrigan’s ‘Twin Towers’ strategy of Dermot Burns and Tony Gallagher were struggling to get away from the tough marking Anthony Murphy and Eamonn Greene, who were helped a lot by the Yellows taking the scandalous decision to play Peter Jones as a sweeper in the early stages. (I mean, it’s nice to win, but come on!). Paul Greene, Donal Corrigan and Dermot Gaffney managed to bring the purples down the field a few times, and this was added to by scores from Declan Greene and Mickey Corrigan. As the half wore on, (and he grew more and more tired), Paul Greene’s cries of: “What about the extra man?” grew louder and louder, but this was nothing compared to how bad it would get in the second half as his man Martin Hamilton arrowed over a fine score from forty yards. Half Time: Purples 0-6 Yellows 0-5.

The Purples came out for the second half like men possessed, and quickly added on points from Peter Jones (swopped sides when Tony Gallagher had to go home to milk the cows, and Dermot Burns had left the action) and John Maguire, but Damien Mc Govern and ‘Boots’ Maguire were on target at the other end, and Donal Cox’s tough no nonsense tackling and hefty clearances were tightening things at the back for the Yellows. Corrigan and his teammate Niall Smyth continually managed to kick the ball away to the Yellow’s Patsy Burns, or Karl Lacey figure Eoghan Cassidy, but the Purples were somehow still a point or two ahead coming into the last ten. (This lack of clarity regarding just what ‘a point or two’ actually consists of was to prove a significant later on). Finally, Francie Ward grabbed the game changer, a fine goal from two yards on the rebound, added to by points from Ward again, Boots Maguire, Glynn and Garry Smyth. They then dropped back Mc Govern and Flanagan to completely fill up the danger zone as the Purples seemed to have run out of diesel completely. However Big Sean’s gloating, blocking of runs and off the ball verbals seemed to inspire the Purples (it has to be said, Damy was a very willing partner in this aspect of his team’s play), and Brendy Rasdale managed to create a goal out of nothing, a wonder strike from twenty yards into the left corner, followed by Aidy Leonard in the Yellow goal inexplicably slicing a clearance into his own net, as he dreamed of the Dublin Marathon. The drama continued to the last seconds, when Hugh Kelly correctly awarded a free in to the Purples after Rasdale was viciously hacked down, giving them a glorious opportunity to level things up. Donal Corrigan was entrusted with the task, and Kelly, sensing his loyal Grounds and Development Chairman’s lack of conviction, moved the free in to fourteen yards in case he might miss. He missed it.  The final whistle was sounded by ref Hughie, who had a good hour, just blowing the whistle about four times.

Everybody shook hands and acknowledged each other’s efforts. The Purples told themselves that it was a draw, the Yellows seemed to think that they had won, but it was all very sociable and sporting until chief cheerleader Flanagan came into the delicious post match banquet waving a trophy in the air, followed by his teammates. This controversy looks like it will come before the Fermanagh CCC, known for their uncompromising approach to matters of a disciplinary nature, and they will doubtless rely heavily on the referee’s report in making a decision on the result. One phrase will doubtless be central to his report: “For f**ks sake ref, what about the spare man?!?!” 

Purples:Gerald Greene, Gavin Duffy, Aidy McGovern, John Maguire, Niall Smyth, Dermot Gaffney, Donal Corrigan, Paul Greene, Mickey Corrigan, Declan Greene, Brendan Rasdale, Tony Gallagher, Dermot Burns.

Yellows: Aidy Leonard, Eamonn Greene, Anthony Murphy, Donal Cox, Eoghan Cassidy, Patsy Burns, Garry Smyth, Big Sean, Gerard Maguire, Marty Hamilton, Peter Jones, Damien Mc Govern, Michael Glynn, Francie Ward.  

Ref: Hugh Kelly. Waterman: Johnny Elliott.