Date Time League Season
2 June 2023 8:00 pm LOI Men's First Division 2023

Match Report

Kerry pick up valuable point in Donegal

Kerry FC picked up a valuable point away from home this evening, as they held Finn Harps to a scoreless stalemate in Ballybofey this evening.

The second draw between the two sides in as many games, once again Harps will leave frustrated by Kerry as they pick up a rare clean sheet, their first of the season and indeed their history.

Harps peppered the Kerry goal but to no joy, they had efforts go every side of the goal but nothing to beat Aaron O’Sullivan, who was on hand to deal with any efforts, his backline also were a composed unit unchanged from their 6-0 drubbing last weekend.

It was a lively and frantic start to proceedings on a sundrenched Finn Park, the hosts looking in control early despite both having a lot of possession, the ever dangerous Filip Da Silva almost had a chance but a ball into the area just went past him.

Two minutes later Ryan Flood whipped a dangerous free kick into the Kerry box, he caused havoc from free kicks in Tralee and almost broke the deadlock as he found Noe Bana, but his header flew wide of the goal post.

Less than 60 seconds later, Harps penetrated the Kerry defence with a piercing through ball that Michael Harris raced onto, but strong defending from Rob Vasiu denied the Harps forward a sniff at goal as he was about to wind up a strike.

The end of the opening quarter was end to end stuff, both teams had chances at goal but Harps certainly had another chance that could have warranted a goal, Kevin Williams back to clear off the line as Aaron O'Sullivan raced out of his line to meet Sean O'Donnell but failed to clear it as O’Donnell nicked the ball clear, leaving Da Silva a wide open goal as the ball fell to his feet but Williams got his body on the line to deny him.

Up the other end some pinball gave Kerry half a chance, Ryan Kelliher played in Sean McGrath with a great cross in front of goal but the ball rebounded off Baba and Harps prevented a shot at goal.

Tim Heimer needed to be at full stretch to deny Nathan Gleeson a chance at goal in the 19th minute, Leo Gaxha swung a cross in which was volleyed by Nathan Gleeson on the edge of the area, Heimer stopped it well but the flag was up either way.

Chances were few and far between, Flood had another dangerous free kick crossed in after 33 minutes, Kerry defending well to head away the intended target of the free kick, but Keith Cowan rose at the back post but his header was collected by O’Sullivan.

Following that Harps laid siege to the Kerry goal with three back to back corners, we have seen this Kerry side outdone from set pieces this season but they held their shape well to keep the game scoreless.

They had chances late in the half to work a score, Vasiu had a shot deflected out for a corner, Samuel Aladesanusi headed just over the bar, Kerry were creating chances but Heimer was commanding his box and any ball in was gathered by the big German netminder, as we headed for the break still deadlocked after three minutes stoppage time.

Three minutes into the second half, Harps almost sprung an excellent counter attack from a Kerry free kick, Aladesanusi floated one from long range than Heimer gathered, he played it out with pace, attacking Kerry with intent Da Silva kept hold of the ball and found O’Donnell centrally in the box but his shot was wide of the Kerry goal.

Harps had their feet in the second half, Flood tried one from range on the hour mark, forcing yet more set piece pressure on Kerry, Aladesanusi committed a foul with Flood delivering the free kick into the area, Da Silva got a head to it which struck the post but O’Sullivan got down to smother the danger.

Three minutes later again Kerry had a massive let off as another Harps effort went wide, O’Donnell with some precise vision, finding Baba free inside the area, but his effort went to the right of the Kerry goal for a goal kick.

Kerry were still in the tie and did have their own chances in front of goal but were being limited, a chance would arrive after Baba’s kiss but Kelliher's close range shot was blocked for a corner, which came to nothing.

It was all the home side pressing late on, Shane McMonagle had a big chance but fired wide from inside the box, then Baba once again was in the area but could not find the target as his header flew wide.

Kerry had a late chance deep in stoppage time as the sharp shooter Kelliher took aim but Heimer produced a terrific save the last act of the game after he gathered the corner which followed.

Kerry will have to learn not to give away such unnecessary free kicks in the future, Harps time after time through Flood caused havoc, he did the same in Tralee but despite all the set pieces, they have learned to be a much better unit in locking down their defence, but will be without Matt Keane on Monday due to an accumulation of bookings.

Finn Harps

1Tim Heimer Goalkeeper
5Keith Cowan Defender
6Noe Baba Defender
7Ryan Flood Defender
8Katlego Mashigo 4 Midfielder
9Filip Da Silva Forward
10Michael Harris Forward
11Seamas Keogh Midfielder
15Kevin Jordan Defender
17Shane McMonagle Midfielder
20Sean O’Donnell Forward
25Oisin Cooney Goalkeeper
3Max Johnston Forward
4Daithi McCallion 8 Defender
16Brendan McLaughlin Forward
21Damian Duffy Midfielder
23Jamie McKinney Midfielder
24Sean O’Kane Midfielder

Kerry FC

30Aaron O’Sullivan Goalkeeper
2Rob Vasiu Defender
7Seán McGrath 27 Forward
8Matt Keane 13 Midfielder 86'
9Ryan Kelliher Forward
10Leo Gaxha Forward
15Kevin Williams Defender 21'
17Nathan Gleeson Forward 32'
18Samuel Aladesanusi Defender
22Cian Barrett Midfielder
23Ronan Teahan Midfielder
16Callan Scully Goalkeeper
6Alex Ainscough Midfielder
13Togor Silong 8 Midfielder
27Graham O’Reilly 7 Midfielder
29Kennedy Amechi Forward
  • 94'

    All over in Ballybofey, a valuable point for Kerry and a first clean sheet this season

  • 92'

    Late change for Kerry as Keane limps off and Togor Silong is on

  • 90'

    Four minutes added time

  • 86'

    Matt Keane is the third Kerry name into the book, he will miss the next game due to picking up five yellow cards

  • 85'

    Five minutes left here in Finn Park

  • 76'

    Shane McMonagle has a big chance but fires wide

  • 66'

    Chance for Kerry but Ryan Kelliher's close range shot is well blocked for a corner

  • 65'

    Baba found in space in the area by O'Donnell but he drags his shot wide, another let off for Kerry

  • 64'

    Change for both teams as Daithi McCallion replaces Mashigo and Graham O'Reilly replaces McGrath

  • 62'

    Another Flood Free Kick once again causes unease in the box, but despite a host of bodies getting involved, O'Sullivan gathers

  • 60'

    Flood shoots from range but O'Sullivan is down well to save

  • 48'

    Harps press immediately after a Kerry free by Heimer, it ends up down the other end working it well O'Donnell has a chance inside the area after Da Silva does well to keep onto possession but he shoots wide

  • 46'

    Game back underway in Ballybofey

  • 48'

    Half time in Finn Park, fairly even so half

  • 45'

    Three minutes added on

  • 37'

    Harps but Kerry under pressure with three back to back corners but Kerry who have a poor track record with set pieces hold out

  • 33'

    Flood crosses the resulting free kick which eventually meets the head of Keith Cowan but lands into the hands of O'Sullivan

  • 32'

    Nathan Gleeson the next player into the book, a rash tackle from him and then some handbags follow from both sides

  • 21'

    A nasty tackle by Kevin Williams has him in the book

  • 15'

    What a save by Tim Heimer, the Harps keeper saves well from Nathan Gleeson on the edge of the area

  • 13'

    Up the other end some pinball gives Kerry half a chance, Kelliher plays in McGrath in front of goal but the ball rebounds off Baba and Harps prevent a shot at goal

  • 13'

    Close again for the Finn men, Kevin Williams needed to clear off the line as O'Sullivan raced out of his line to meet Sean O'Donnell but failed to clear it, leaving Da Silva a wide open goal but William denies him

  • 8'

    Harps almost get in through Michael Harris but Rob Vasiu makes a great tackle to prevent a shot

  • 7'

    Harps for the second time have the ball in the Kerry box, Flood whips in a free kick that Baba gets a touch but it goes wide

  • 5'

    A very uneventful opening five minutes as both teams exchange possession

  • 1'

    Harps get us underway this evening

  • The teams are out on the field, Finn Park looks splendid this evening

  • Kerry have the least potent attack and the leakiest defence in the league, but will take great encouragement from their showing at home earlier this season, they have shown in games that they have a tough defence, but have conceded 18 goals in their last five outings.

  • They are looking to avoid a third defeat in a row this evening hoping they can get good form underneath them and try and make wins more easy to come by having won their one and only game over Athlone just weeks ago.

  • For the Kerry club however, they are licking their wounds after a 6-0 defeat to Wexford in Tralee last week, their heaviest defeat on home soil and their worst performance on home soil.

  • Before that game however Harps lost four games in a row, but had the tide turned in their favour, they looked strong against Treaty but when they played Kerry earlier in the season they could only snatch a point in Tralee.

  • It has not been a smooth transition for Harps in their first season back in the second tier, just four wins from their 16 games this season has been a struggle for them to grind out wins, but last week's 3-0 win away to Treaty showed they can win games.

  • Harps have a 12 point gap between them and Kerry put they are more concerned by the gap above them, a win tonight would put them sixth ahead of Treaty, should they, Longford and Wexford not get three points this evening, that would then leave three points between them should Athlone topple Longford.

  • Kerry make one change from last weeks 6-0 drubbing to Wexford, Matt Keane replaces Togor Silong in midfield, Keane making his first start since the beginning of April, in Kerry's 2-0 loss to Longford in Bishopsgate, he has since made six appearances from the bench totalling 172 minutes, he returns but despite being club captain does not wear the armband this evening

  • Harps name an unchanged line up from their 3-0 win over Treaty last week, but they do welcome back Daithí McCallion and Brendan McLaughlin to the matchday squad.

  • A sunny summers evening on the banks of the Finn as Finn Harps host Kerry FC for the first time in their history, Harps are three points adrift of the play-offs so points now are a must for them, while Kerry remain at the foot of the table, looking for a second win on the road, my name is Diarmuid Kearney and I will update all of this evenings events.

Past Meetings

(Round 8)
1 - 1
LOI Men's First Division
Mounthawk Park

Kerry FC 1-1 Finn Harps FC


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

Diarmuid Kearney is a freelance Sports Journalist based in Co Kerry. He has more than 5 years experience covering domestic and international soccer for different media organisations, while also working for local and national print and digital organisations covering GAA.