Finn Harps moved up to fourth in the League of Ireland First Division table following an impressive win over fellow promotion contenders Galway Utd at Eamonn Deacy Park. An 11th minute Jesse Devers strike gave the visitors a great start and Mark Timlin doubled that advantage seven minutes after the break. The hosts did pull a goal back in the third minute of injury time but despite a few anxious moments Harps ran down the clock to secure their second win over the Tribesmen in just over a month.
Ollie Horgan has masterminded another impressive result for his side but he wasn’t getting carried away with that afterwards as he pointed out that Harps now need to focus immediately on getting something from the UCD game next Friday night ahead of the mid-season break.
Galway and Harps went into match level on points but the home side was a place ahead by virtue of a superior goal difference. And it now means that Horgan’s outfit leapfrog both Galway, and Longford Town who surprisingly lost to Cabinteely. Gareth Harkin returned to starting 11 for the first time since the beginning of the campaign while Mark Coyle came back in after missing the Longford game through injury along with Michael O’Connor. Tommy McBride was missing due to suspension while neither Paddy McCourt or Ciaran O’Connor were fit enough to start against Galway.
Devers, who got that late winner against the Tribesmen last time out at Finn Park, struck again on 11 minutes at Eamonn Deacy with a fine finish following some excellent build-up play. Central defender Sam Todd wasn’t far away with another effort.
Galway did grow into the game but failed to seriously test Ciaran Gallagher until a super Alan Murphy shot came off the crossbar just before the interval. The visitors got a crucial second goal seven minutes into the second half courtesy of a Mark Timlin free kick.
Harps defended reasonably well after that, although skipper Ciaran Coll did have to clear one goal bound attempt of the line in the closing stages of the match. Galway did give themselves a late lifeline in the third minute of injury time when Conor Barry steered the ball past Gallagher after Gary Shanahan’s strike rebounded of the crossbar. However, Horgan’s men held on for a morale boosting win ahead of the visit of leaders UCD to Ballybofey next Friday night.
Galway United – Conor Gleeson, Marc Ludden, Stephen Walsh, Alex Byrne (Carlton Ubaezuonu 69 mins), Robbie Williams (Aaron Conway h-t), Conor Melody (Stephen Kenny 81 mins), Ryan Connolly, Eoin McCormack, Conor Barry, Alan Murphy, Gary Shanahan.
Finn Harps – Ciaran Gallagher, Aidan Friel, Keith Cowan, Sam Todd, Ciaran Coll, Jesse Devers, Gareth Harkin, Mark Coyle (Paddy McCourt 57 mins), Mark Timlin, Mikey Place (John O’Flynn 93 mins), Michael O’Connor. Not used: Peter Burke (Gk), Dylan McCroary, Ciaran O’Connor, Niall McGinley, Mark Hannon.
Referee: John McLaughlin.
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