Place marked his home debut with a goal

Finn Harps 4-0 Athlone Town

After two disappointing results Finn Harps produced a very positive performance against bottom of the table Athlone Town in Ballybofey and in the process enjoyed their biggest win by far of the season. The result moves Ollie Horgan’s outfit up to fourth place ahead of their re-arranged fixture against Longford Town at Finn Park on Bank Holiday Monday.

Concerns about the disappointing goals return were firmly put to bed once Jesse Deevers put the hosts in front in the first minute of injury before the break.

Then two quick goals on the restart from Mickey Place who was making his full debut after coming on as a sub in Wexford and Ciaran O’Connor made sure of the three points for Harps. And young Niall McGinley who had come on as a sub got his first senior competitive goal for the club capping of a very good night for everyone genuinely behind the Finn Harps push to stay in promotion contention.

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Devers broke the deadlock after being setup by veteran playmaker Paddy McCourt. Horgan made three changes from the Wexford game with Place included in attack while Mark Coyle and Tommy McBride returned after serving respective one-match bans.

Athlone Town came into the game with no wins and only two draws all season. Harps were on top from early on with skipper Ciaran Coll and Coyle both having efforts blocked after some desperate defending from the visitors.

Vice-captain Keith Cowan came close with a header late in the half while Ciaran O’Connor had a goal disallowed for off-side.

Then a minute into injury-time Devers gave the hosts a massive psychological boost with that opening goal. Ciaran O’Connor doubled that advantage just after the restart, heading home a Coll cross.

It was 3-0 on 51 minutes when Place took advantage of a defensive error, carrying the ball forward before executing a super finish. Niall McGinley came off the bench to round of the scoring with his first senior goal on 79 minutes.

Finn Harps – Ciaran Gallagher, Aidan Friel, Keith Cowan, Sam Todd, Ciaran Coll (Michael O’Connor 75), Tommy McBride, Jesse Devers, Paddy McCourt (Niall McGinley 53), Ciaran O’Connor, Mickey Place (John O’Flynn 56), Mark Coyle. Not used: Peter Burke (Gk), Dylan McCroary, Gareth Harkin, Mark Hannon.

Athlone Town – Mick Fogarty, Cormac Raftery, Ger Smyth, Bashmil Nyakabili,Ian Fletcher, Bob O’Leary, Josh Hogan, Jake O’Connor (Steven Grogan h-t), Aaron Brilly, Shane Stokes (George Mukete 71), Ollie Hamzat (Brian Cabrally h-t). Ref: Keith Kennedy.

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