Date Time League Season
30 April 2021 7:45 pm Premier Division 2021

Match Report

McGinley mistake costs Harps

Shamrock Rovers comfortably beat Finn Harps to keep up with St. Pat’s at the top of the Premier Division. It was a game of very few chances at Finn Park.

The home side hardly had a sniff at goal throughout the 90, as the Hoops dominated the ball.

A spilled cross by Mark McGinley fell at the feet of Rory Gaffney to gift Rovers the opening goal. This was then added to by a Sean Hoare header, to put the result beyond any doubt.

There was very little to report about the first half. The Hoops passed and passed and passed without a lot produced. Harps by contrast worked hard and got stuck in, whilst maintaining a sturdy defensive shape.

This form was called into question early on though. Graham Burke charged through on goal, after some poor play on the ball by Kosovar Sadiki let Rovers in. The number 10 went down, but referee Rob Hennessy was having none of it, and booked Burke for simulation.

After a rather dreary 65 minutes, in which neither side had greatly threatened the opposition goal, some changes mixed things up a little. Karl O’Sullivan bombed down the right and pulled a pass across the face of goal. Substitute Tunde Owolabi was inches away from sticking the ball in the net, a goal that could have changed the game.

With the match seemingly going nowhere, Dylan Watts put a floated cross into the box. Out came McGinley from the Harps net. He flapped at the ball, it dropped, and Gaffney wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity that good. It was a howler that would give any ‘keeper nightmares.

Stephen Bradley’s side continued to press and tried to find a second goal. Another Watts ball into the box caused chaos in the home side’s defence. Up rose Sean Hoare, heading the ball firmly into the net for two-nil.

Shamrock Rovers were in control for most of the game, and so had no trouble closing out the final minutes. This keeps them level with St Pat’s, and maintains their impressive unbeaten record.

For Ollie Horgan (who just so happened to be sent off) this was a disappointing performance, where his game plan of sit back and hit on the break, just didn’t work. It’s also another game without a win. Their great start to the season seems very far away now.

  • Full time: 2-0. Fully deserved win for Rovers, they dominated the ball, and stuck away the chances when they came. Harps were dogged and well organised, but didn't have any quality on the break.

  • 90'

    There's been a whole host of subs, but not a lot of action as Rovers have just tried to kill the game.

  • 81'

    Sean Hoare scores for Rovers! 2-0.

  • 74'

    Goal! Rory Gaffney sticks the ball into an empty net as Mark McGinley spills a floated cross. What a mistake to make.

  • 67'

    Great chance for Owolabi as he just misses an O'Sullivan cross.

  • 65'

    Aaron Greene is on for Rovers.

  • 65'

    Graham Burke is off for Rovers, he looks like he's picked up an injury.

  • 64'

    Stephen Doherty is off for Harps

  • 64'

    Adam Foley is off for Harps

  • 64'

    Mark Russell is on for Harps

  • 64'

    Tunde Owolabi is on for Harps

  • 63'

    Great chance as Barry McNamee find some space in the box, his first attempt is blocked, and his cross isn't met by anyone.

  • 62'

    Dave Webster picks up a yellow card as he tries to foul Graham Burke on the break.

  • 54'

    Dylan Watts drives forward from midfield, but his shot is scuffed and goes well wide out of play.

  • 51'

    Coyle has a driven shot from outside the area, but it's blocked by his own man. Looked like it was going wide though.

  • 48'

    Danny Mandriou with a lovely nutmeg on the right wing. Rovers can't finish off the move or create anything from it though.

  • 46'

    And we're back underway as Harps kick off.

  • Finn Harps have really frustrated Rovers with their midfield tenacity and organisation. This has led to a lot of backwards and sideways passing from the away side. Stephen Bradley will be wanting his team to get the ball moving a bit quicker in the second half.

  • 45'

    Half time: 0 - 0 It's been a match of very few chances so far. Someone needs to produce a moment of quality, it really has been a poor game.

  • 39'

    Barry McNamee is free on the left on the counter attack. His pass to set a teammate through on goal leaves a lot to be desired. A good chance wasted.

  • 38'

    A lengthy passing move comes to an end as Sadiki makes a fantastic tackle to take the ball away from Finn.

  • 32'

    Ethan Boyle whips in a great cross, and it looks destined for the head of Johnny Dunleavy. But, he can't make a connection.

  • 30'

    The Hoops are upping the pressure in the Harps final third. There's a lot of passing without a great deal of purpose though.

  • 26'

    Sean Hoare heads a Watts corner far wide, one of the better chances in a game of few opportunities.

  • 25'

    Graham Burke wins a corner as his free kick deflects off the wall and out of play.

  • 24'

    O'Neill wins a free kick in a great position just outside the area.

  • 21'

    A hefty challenge from Barry McNamee, he's lucky to get away without a card.

  • 19'

    Not a lot of exciting action in this game so far. Rovers are dominating the ball, but there's not much end product.

  • 10'

    Dangerous free kick for Finn Harps, Barry McNamee puts it into the wall, and after a hooked cross, a shot sails over the bar.

  • 6'

    Harps are pressing hard early on, and it's making progression up the pitch hard for Rovers. There's been plenty of head tennis in the centre of the park, but not a lot of quality.

  • 3'

    Graham Burke is found guilty of simulation as he goes down while through on goal, after a poor Sadiki pass. A controversial decision from Rob Hennessy.

  • 1'

    Kick off. It's the Hoops that get us underway.

  • Shamrock Rovers team news: There's four changes to the side that beat Bohemians. Finn, O'Neill, Gaffney and O'Brien come in. Lopes, Greene, Gannon and McCann don't make the starting XI.

  • Finn Harps team news: Ollie Horgan makes three changes to the side that lost to St Pat's. Shanley, Folan and Russell are out. Foley, Doherty and Boyle are in.

  • Hello and welcome to Final Whistle's coverage of Finn Harps vs. Shamrock Rovers, in the League of Ireland Premier Division. I'm Jon Parkin, and I'll be covering the game this evening.

Finn Harps

1Mark McGinley Goalkeeper
4Kosovar Sadiki Defender
5Dave Webster Defender 62'
7Karl O’Sullivan 10 Forward
8Johnny Dunleavy Defender
11Barry McNamee 29 Midfielder
14Mark Coyle 18 Midfielder
19Adam Foley 45 Forward
21Stephen Doherty 17 Midfielder
24Ethan Boyle Defender
28Will Seymore Midfielder
16Luke McNicholas Goalkeeper
9Sean Boyd Forward
10Mark Timlin 7 Midfielder
17Mark Russell 21 Defender 90'
18Niall McGinley 14 Midfielder
22Ryan Rainey Midfielder
26Tony McNamee Midfielder
29Ryan Shanley 11 Forward
45Babatunde Owolabi 19 Forward

Shamrock Rovers

1Alan Mannus Goalkeeper
3Sean Hoare Defender 81'
5Lee Grace Defender
7Dylan Watts Midfielder
8Ronan Finn Midfielder
10Graham Burke 9 Forward 3'
14Daniel Mandriou 22 Midfielder
15Liam Scales Defender
16Gary O’Neill Midfielder 90'
20Rory Gaffney Forward 74'
28Joey O’Brien 2 Defender
25Leon Pohls Goalkeeper
2Sean Gannon 28 Defender
9Aaron Greene 10 Forward
19Dean Williams 14 Forward
22Darragh Nugent 14 Midfielder
24Max Murphy Midfielder
26Chris McCann Midfielder

Past Meetings

(Quarter Final)
2 - 3
Finn Park

Finn Harps v Shamrock Rovers

(Series 15)
0 - 2
Premier Division
Finn Park

Finn Harps v Shamrock Rovers

(Series 6)
3 - 1
Premier Division
Tallaght Stadium

Shamrock Rovers v Finn Harps


RefereeAssistantsFourth Official
Rob HennessyDarragh Keegan
Darren Corcoran
Damien MacGraith


Finn Park
Finn Park, Navenny Street, Stranorlar Electoral Division, Lifford-Stranorlar Municipal District, County Donegal, F93 Y27K, Ireland

A master's journalism student at Birmingham City University. Jon Parkin has done interviews with numerous people from across the English football pyramid. He has also written for website My Old Man Said for over a year and a half.