Point from the league but Harps exit the cup.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

DESPITE enjoying long spells of domination Finn Harps had to settle for a share of the spoils away to Athlone Town last Friday night.

Athlone Town ...1
Finn Harps ...1

This was the home side's first point of the SSE Airtricity League Division One campaign after losing their opening four games of the campaign. Michael O'Connor's 78th minute equalizer gave Harps a chance to push on for a winner but it wasn't to be at the Athlone Stadium.

Early on Mark Coyle saw a half-volley go narrowly wide as the visitors were pretty much camped in the opposition half.

Then an Aidan Friel cross dipped over the head of Athlone keeper Nathan Murphy and hit the crossbar. Harps had a great chance to take the lead in the 32nd minute but John O'Flynn's header was cleared off the line by Ger Smith.

Athlone were better after the break and took the lead in the 55th minute when superb long range strike from Shane Stokes gave Ciaran Gallagher no chance. The visitors assumed control again but rarely tested Murphy. In the 74th sub B.J. Banda was most unlucky to see his header rebound off the inside of the post.

However, Harps did equalized on 78 minutes when Lee Toland's cross was headed home by Michael O'Connor. Despite plenty of endevour from Ollie Horg an's men there was failure to create a clear match winning chance so Harps had to settle for the draw in the end.

The side face a big test this coming Friday night, April 6, with an important home tie agaionst a fancied Galway United side. Kick off is at 8pm.

Athlone Town - Nathan Murphy; Craig Shortt, Robert O'Leary, Daniel O'Donovan , Shane Stokes, Ger Smyth, Jake O'Connor, Rory McCullough, Josh Hogan, Ian Fletcher, Martin Walshe.

Subs: Ollie Hamzat for McCullough; Aaron Brilly for Stokes; Cormac Raftery for O'Leary.

Finn Harps - Ciaran Gallagher, Aidan Friel, Ciaran Coll, Lee Toland, Mark Coyle, Paddy McCourt, Ciaran O'Connor, Mark Timlin, Sam Todd, Michael O'Connor, John O'Flynn.

Subs: Adam Duffy and BJ Banda for Ciaran O'Connor and John O'Flynn.

Not used: Jesse Deevers, Tommy McBride, Eric Whelan, Mark Hannon, Peter Burke (Gk).

Ref: Eoghan O'Shea.



Finn Harps ...1
Derry City ...2

Finn Harps made their exit from this season's EA Sports League Cup following their second round clash with a robust Derry City side at Finn Park in Ballybofey on Easter Monday.

The home team chopped and changed personnel from the team that drew with Athlone while Derry made two changes from their last game with St. Patrick's Athletic with David Hopkirk in for his first start and Nicky Low was also in from the start.

The derby got off to a great start as captain, Ciaran Coll, fired Harps ahead after just 11 minutes.

It was just reward for their dominance in the opening period.

The goal was created by a good run by Mark Timlin, who drove into the box and his pass was hammered home by Coll off a post.

However, Derry were back on terms just before the half hour with Aaron McEneff converting from the penalty spot. McEneff was clipped by Mark Hannon in the box as he was moving away from goal.

Finn Harps were really up for the contest on a cold and wet Bank Holiday evening. The Finn Park surface was showing the effects of the weather and was a major change for the visitors who are used to playing on an astro turf.

Rory Patterson was introduced by Derry after 59 minutes and he was just four minutes on the pitch when he put the Candystripes ahead for the first time. Patterson first timed a cross from Ronan Curtis. Prior to that McEneff had a shot saved by Burke and Patterson hat the ball in the net but it was ruled offside.

Derry, with a very strong line up, were in control for much of the second half and proved strong enough to emerge winners.

Finn Harps: Peter Burke; Aidan Friel, Ciaran Coll, Keith Cowan, Jesse Devers, Tommy McBride, Mark Timlin (Lee Toland 56), Mark Coyle (Adam Duffy 69), Mark Hannon, Sam Todd, Michael O'Connor (John O'Flynn ht).

Derry City: Gerard Doherty; Conor McDermott, Aaron McEneff, Rory Hale, Ronan Curtis, Eoin Toal, Darren Cole, Ronan Hale (Jamie McDonagh 81), David Hopkirk (Rory Patterson 59), Jack Doyle (Ben Doherty 78), Nicky Low.

Referee: John McLaughlin.


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