Harps debut ends in defeat but had plenty of positives for the future

ACHL Division 4

Loughbeg Harps 2-8 Belfast Saints 2-13

Following on from a previous attempt in 2021 that didn’t quite get off the ground, back in October 2022 Colm Scullin, Peter Timoney & David Slevin reached out to a few lads about a potential hurling senior team based in Moneyglass.

Tuesday night social hurling was set up, numbers started off not so bad and word got around which encouraged a lot more men to join. The thesis was anyone who wanted to play hurling no matter their background or skill level.

Over the winter months numbers were rising to about 20 or so a session and the watsapp group that was created had around 50 names in it. So the question was asked, if we enter a team in division 4 Antrim next year will everyone want to play. The answer was a resounding yes which put the gears in motion. The 3 men got cracking on the paper work under the name Loughbeg Harps.

They knew they wanted the club to be a Moneyglass club but also knew that they couldn’t do it on their own and would need a large pull of fellas from other clubs in and around the area. This is why a separate entity was formed and the name Loughbeg Harps was chosen.

Roll forward several months and a lot of 9-10 o clock at night sessions the numbers at training were still great and there was a hunger. So the team were officially entered in Division 4 and finally got to play their first game on Sunday. It didn’t go the way they wanted but for only our 2nd ever match, (1st on a grass pitch there were a lot of positives to take away.

So today began which will hopefully be a long and successful period for Loughbeg Harps. The club would like to thank everyone for attending their debut game and look forward to hopefully seeing the same as well as new people come out and watch a bit of hurling.

New boys, Loughbeg Harps made their division 4 debut against Belfast Saints and Magherafelt Leisure Centre on Sunday and while they lost by five points they will be fairly satisfied with the performance against a very experienced Belfast Saints.

Indeed the Duneane side got off to a good start and were full value for their 2-6 to 1-6 half time lead with Brian McManus and Conall Prenter getting the goals and Prenter weighing in with five of his side’s six first half points (4 frees) and the other point coming from Ronan Carey.

Belfast Saints kept within touching distance however with their own number 11, Phil Maguire getting their goal and weighing in with three pointed frees and James Halleron, Declan McLarnon and Niall McGettigan completed their first half scoring to leave a goal between the sides at the break.

The greater experience of the Belfast side began to tell in the second half with centre-half Mark Caldwell firing home his side’s second goal on the restart to bring matters all square and slowly the ‘Saints’ started to get on top.

And once again it was veteran centre-half-forward, Phillip Maguire who led the way with a fine exhibition of point taking, adding five to his first half total to bring his scoring for the day to 1-8 but a couple of points from Brian McManus and the lively Prenter had it back to one with six minutes remaining.

Belfast Saints finished strongly however with Caldwell’s goal in the 59th minute and Declan McLarnon’s late point ensuring there would be no fairy tale ending for the Loughbeg men to their league opener but they certainly look to have plenty to build on.

Loughbeg Harps: 1 Brendan Prenter, 2 Gary Maybin, 3 Sean Carey, 4 Hugh Mulholland, 5 Diarmuid Scullin, 6 Gary Murray, 7 Francis Berry, 8 Callum McStocker, 9 Ronan Carey, 10 Paul McChrystal, 11 Brian McManus, 12 Aidan McErlain, 13 Mark Walsh, 14 Conall Prenter, 15 Kevin McCann, 16 Rory Taggart, 23 Paul Quinn

Belfast Saints: 1 Ciaran Mooney, 2 Matt Carlin, 3 Stephen Carey, 4 Philip Glennon, 5 Daniel McGuigan, 6 Mark Caldwell, 7 Brian Keatings, 8 Conor O‘Rawe, 9 James Halleron, 10 Niall McGettigan, 11 Phil Maguire, 12 Jason Kennedy, 13 Paul McClenaghan, 14 Declan McLarnon, 15 Ryan Brammold

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