Keith Cowan

Athlone Town 1-3 Finn Harps

With just three league games now remaining Finn Harps are in a great position to make the promotion play-offs after coming from behind to defeat Athlone Town at Lisswoolen on Friday night. Harps manager Ollie Horgan warned that Athlone would be no soft touch despite being bottom of the League of Ireland First Division. And his observations were borne out as the hosts took an early lead and while Nathan Boyle got Harps back on level terms just past the half-hour mark the midlanders were still well in the game until the 51st minute. That’s when Boyle put the visitors in front and there was still  a fear of an equaliser until a stunning third goal from Keith Cowan ensure that the Donegal outfit extended their unbeaten league run to seven games.
The result means Horgan’s side remain second in the table, two points ahead of Shelbourne. The next league game for Harps is home to Galway Utd on Friday week. That will be another huge game as the Tribesmen will have to win at Finn Park to have any chance of getting into the play-offs. The win on Fridaynight means the Ballybofey men have taken seven out of a possible nine points from the three league games against Athlone this season. But at the end of March they could only manage a 1-1 draw at Lissywoolen.
The hosts took the lead in the lead in the 9th minute when Nika Kalandarishvili glanced a header past Ciaran Gallagher from Shane Stokes well placed free-kick. Kalandarishvili was then denied a second goal by Gallagher.
Harps got back into the game and deservedly equalised in the 34th when Nathan Boyle scored his third goal since rejoining Harps from Derry City at the beginning of July. Boyle made it 2-1 on 51 minutes with a fine finish after displaying great ball control in the build-up.
The visitors were the superior side in the second half with Mark Coyle forcing keeper Fogarty into a decent save. The killer third goal came with seven minutes remaining when Keith Cowan showed composure to fire into the top corner of the net following a corner.
Athlone Town – Michael Fogarty; Aaron Brilly, Victor Edanem (Ciaran Byrne 64), Ian Fletcher, Jamie Broderick, Ciaran Grogan, Josh Hogan, Shane Stokes (Craig Canty 82), Nika Kalandarishvili, Rory McCollough, George Mukete (Ollie Hamzat 76).
Finn Harps – Ciaran Gallagher; Jacob Borg, Keith Cowan, Sam Todd, Ciaran Coll (Mark Timlin 85), Gareth Harkin, Mick Coyle, Mikey Place (Jesse Devers 78), Nathan Boyle (John O’Flynn 89), John Kavanagh, Oluwatunmise Sobowale. Not used: Peter Burke (Gk), Paddy McCourt, Aidan Friel, Niall Logue.
Ref: John McLoughlin

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