Relegations fears deepen for Harps
Finn Harps 0-2 Dundalk
Second half Dundalk goals from Brian Gartland and Jamie McGrath on Saturday evening leaves Finn Harps with an incredibly difficult task now to stay in the League of Ireland Premier Division with just three games remaining. As it stands Ollie Horgan’s outfit is now four points from safety as Harps remain second from bottom of the table.
The Sligo Rovers win over Bohemians has taken the Bit O’Red out of the bottom three and for now it leaves Galway Utd as the other team in the biggest danger of relegation along with Harps. Drogheda Utd fate of playing First Division football had already been confirmed last week.
Horgan took a chance on the fitness of Ethan Boyle, Paddy McCourt and Sean Houston for the Dundalk game but apart from the latter the other players had to come off with a re-occurrence of the injuries that had made them a doubt in the build-up to the match. Meanwhile, Stephen Kenny rotated his squad with the FAI Cup semi-final replay on the horizon.
The hosts performed quite well in the first half and should have taken the lead on 23 minutes after a defensive mix-up left Eddie Dsane with an open goal but somehow he dragged his shot wide of the mark on the very heavy Finn Park surface.
Prior to that Dundalk keeper Gary Rogers had to be quick off his line to save at Dsane’s feet after a clever through ball from Sean Houston .
At the other end Robbie Benson came close with a glancing header and home keeper Ciaran Gallagher denied Thomas Stewart with a super save. Just after the break Gallagher stopped a Sean Gannon strike at the second attempt . Dundalk took the lead in the 61st minute when big central defender Gartland headed home a corner.
Horgan made changes in a bid to get back on level terms with strikers B.J. Banda and Ibrahim Keita being introduced. The closest the hosts came to an equalizer was a Kilian Cantwell header that had Rogers scampering to divert the ball out for a corner. Gallagher pulled off another top drawer save getting a hand to sub Michael Duffy’s effort but it was the reigning Premier Division champions who had the final when Jamie McGrath produced a delightful finish by lifting the ball over the Harps keeper in the fifth minute of injury time.
Finn Harps – Ciaran Gallagher; Damien McNulty, Kilian Cantwell, Ciaran Coll, Gareth Harkin; Ethan Boyle (Ibrahim Keita 80), Sean Houston, Tommy McBride, Mark Timlin; Paddy McCourt (Caolan McAleer 57); Eddie Dsane (BJ Banda 74). Not used: Peter Burke (Gk), Shane Blaney, Jonny Bonner, Danny Morrissey.
Dundalk – Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland, Sean Hoare, Shane Grimes; Robbie Benson, Jamie McGrath; Dylan Connolly (Michael Duffy 81), Jake O’Connor (Stephen O’Donnell 61), Carlton Ubaezuonu (David McMillan 56); Thomas Stewart.
Ref: Paul Tuite (Dublin)
Finn Harps FC is delighted to be working with the Donegal Sports Partnership on their Soccer for Peace programme, who are sponsoring this game.
Soccer for Peace is a community based sports programme, which is supported by the International Fund for Ireland managed by Donegal Sports Partnership, with the support of Finn Harps FC Schools Programme, Institute Football Club, the Football Association of Ireland and the Irish Football Association. The programme will see the development and delivery of coach education and leadership training for young adults across three regions in the North West of Ireland as well as opportunities for children between the ages of 7 and 13 years of age to participate in community, school and cross border soccer based events. The programme will run until 2019.
Further information on the programme will be proved here in the coming weeks.
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