Paddy McCourt

Wexford FC 1-1 Finn Harps

Finn Harps missed the chance to pull closer to the top of the League of Ireland First Division table after only managing a draw against Wexford at Ferrycarraig Park. Ollie Horgan’s outfit was the better side for most of the match but again a failure in the final third to finish off some promising attacks was to prove costly.

It was Dean Kelly’s goal with ten minutes remaining that effectively denied the visitors the three points after Harps had gone in front courtesy of Paddy McCourt’s 67th minute penalty. McCourt and Keith Cowan returned to the starting 11 but Horgan was minus the suspended midfielders Mark Coyle and Tommy McBride while Lee Toland, Mark Timlin and John O’Flynn were missing due to injury. New signing Mikey Place was introduced as a second half sub while youngsters Mark Hannon and Niall McGinley both started in midfield.

Horgan also brought on young Dylan McCroary and Jamie Browne who was making his senior debut for the final few minutes of the game. Harps came close to an early breakthrough on 11 minutes when Ciaran O’Connor’s strike came back off the crossbar. Right full-back Aidan Friel then saw his shot diverted over the bar by keeper Keelan Gaffney. McCourt’s delivery from that corner found the head of Cowan but somehow the hosts cleared the ball off the line.

The visitors were dominant with young McGinley testing Gaffney on 32 minutes. Wexford were a bit better before the break with a Dean George shot forcing Ciaran Gallagher to concede a corner while Aaron Dobbs was just inches wide with a header.

Ciaran O’Connor, Niall McGinley and Michael O’Connor all had efforts on goal as Harps pushed hard for a goal in the second half. The deadlock was finally broken on 67 minutes when Ciaran O’Connor was pushed in the box and up stepped McCourt who made no mistake from the resultant penalty. The hosts were fortunate not to go to 2-0 down shortly afterwards when Gaffney reacted smartly to prevent Thomas Croke scoring an own goal.

However, all Harps good work was undone on 80 minutes when Gallagher initially did well to save from Croke but Dean Kelly steered the rebound into the back of the net from close range. To their credit the visitors remained positive and went in search of a winner with the best chance falling to Ciaran O’Connor but again Gaffney was equal to the task.

Wexford – Kealan Gaffney, Shane Barnes, Conor Sutton, Thomas Croke (Ryan Nolan 82), Owen McCormack, Dean George, Dean Kelly, Sean Kelly, Liam McCartan, Danny Doyle (Owen Wall 73), Aaron Dobbs (Mark Slater 78).

Finn Harps – Ciaran Gallagher, Aidan Friel, Keith Cowan, Sam Todd, Ciaran Coll; Mark Hannon, Jesse Devers, Paddy McCourt, Niall McGinley (Dylan McGrory 87), Michael O’Connor (Mickey Place 69), Ciaran O’Connor (Jamie Browne 90). Not used: Peter Burke (Gk), Gareth Doherty, Ryan Finn, B.J. Banda.

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