The agony and the ecstasy

Thursday, 20 April 2017

The agony and the ecstasy thumbnailB J Banda celebrates the opener against Derry City in Buncrana last Friday night but was taken off injured during Monday night's defeat to Sligo Rovers.

THEY say a week is a long time in football ...well three days is even shorter but for SSE Airtricity Premier Division side, Finn Harps, it must seem like a lifetime!

The Ballybofey-based side experienced the agony and ecstasy of top flight football between Friday and Monday - trouncing arch-rivals Derry City 2-0 in the Premier League on Friday night at a match played at Derry's new temporary 'home' ground at Maginn Park in Buncrana but losing to a late goal against their other north-west neighbours, Sligo Rovers at Finn Park on Monday night in the EA Sports Cup. The visitors were managed for the night by former Harps goalkeeper, Declan McIntyre from Donegal Town.

But the agony and the ecstasy wasn't just confined to the supporters and all the emotions attached to playing these two teams spilled on to the field, especially during the Monday night match.

Harps lost no fewer than three players during the course of the game - B J Banda was injured after 27 minutes while goalkeeper Harry Doherty and defender, Packie Mailey collided in the 68th minute and clashed heads. This halted the game for some 25 minutes while two ambulances had to be called to take them away for treatment at Letterkenny University Hospital.

The crowd held its collective breath as the medical teams worked with the players and for a while things looked pretty serious. Eventually after treatment Mailey was able to walk to the clubhouse but Doherty had to be taken away via stretcher.

Needless to say football was secondary at this stage and Harps had to play the last 25 minutes with a man short having used up all their subs by this stage.

And to compound an already miserable night the Sligo winner came when Matthew Stevens got on the end of a Daniel Kearns cross to head home five minutes before the end of the second period of extra-time.

The only good thing from the three days was the fantastic win over Derry City. Harps brought on super subs Banda and Michael Funston who scored in either half to ensure Harps notched up their first ever 'away' win against the Candystripes - even though the match was technically played in Donegal!

All three players are out of danger but their injuries will leave a gap in the Harps panel when they line out in the league against Droghesda United this Friday night (8pm) nack in Ballybofey.


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