Enda McGuill Cup semi-final: Finn Harps 1-3 St. Patrick’s Athletic
Pre-match favourites St. Patrick’s Athletic certainly lived up to that tag in Ballybofey on Tuesday night, ending the Finn Harps U19s dream of reaching the Enda McGuill Cup final. Goals in the 4th and 19th minutes for the visitors made it a massive uphill task for Joe Boyle’s side. Despite being third in the league, the Harps 19s were a significant eleven points adrift of leaders Pat’s.
The appeal by the manager for a big turnout of fans was a successful one and despite the concession of the early goals they were treated to a very entertaining game where the home side kept their heads up and played some excellent football.
The competition favourites took the lead in the fourth minute courtesy of an unfortunate own goal conceded by Harps defender Keenan Diver. The hosts responded well with a Niall McGinley’s header forcing a save from Pat’s netminder Brian Maher.
But the visitors doubled their advantage on 19 minutes through Mikey O’Kane.
Just past the half-hour mark, Harps were unlucky not to pull a goal back but McGinley’s effort was blocked after an assist from Zach Gorman. Just before half- time, Letterkenny lad Gorman also came close to what would have a morale boosting goal. Harps were then rocked by a third Pat’s goal four minutes after the restart when Neil Byrne steered the ball past Jamie Bell.
Slim hopes of a dramatic fightback came on 72 minutes when Kerrykeel’s Liam Walsh produced a fine finish to make it 3-1. The hosts never looked like pulling two more goals back and so the bid of two Finn Harps sides being in national cup finals won’t happen this season.
Finn Harps – Jamie Bell, Michael Gallagher, Ryan Finn, Keenan Diver, Pat Loughrey, Steven Doherty (Corrie Lee Bogan 64) , Jamie Browne, Niall McGinley, Mark McAteer Liam Walsh, Zach Gorman (Darren McElwaine 87 mins).
St. Patrick’s Athletic – Brian Maher, Ryan O’Shea, Joe Manley, Brien Givern, Paul Cleary, Aaron Towney, Jason Grouse (Jake Walker 59 mins), Ritchie O’Farrell (Mark Kelly 86 mins), Neil Byrne (Padraig Finnerty 91 mins), Cian Hughes, Mikey O’Kane (Conor Cowley 69 mins). Referee: Garvan Taggart.
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