Finn Harps v UCD AFC

Finn Harps v Dundalk

Finn Harps v Shelbourne

Finn Harps v Sligo Rovers

Finn Harps v Drogheda United

LOI PD Report: Finn Harps v Drogheda United

A penalty from Filip Mihaljevic and Eric McWood’s brace helped Finn Harps surge to a pivotal win in the relegation battle as they defeated Drogheda United 3-0.  The victory lifts them back above UCD into ninth place.

This was a huge game for the Ballybofey outfit as they came into it winless in seven and needing at least a point to overtake UCD following Drogheda’s draw with them on Monday.

The first half was a massively entertaining, end-to-end affair. Finn Harps were the better side in open play as McWoods, Mihaljevic and the workaholic Barry McNamee posed problems from the first whistle.

Yet defensive naivety threatened to undo this as the hosts were repeatedly undone by Drogheda’s rapid counterattacks, especially through Darragh Rooney down the left.

Colin McCabe had already been forced into two sharp saves and the home side’s pressure bore fruit in the twenty-third minute. Andrew Quinn hacked down McWoods after the American had sped into the box.  Mihaljevic converted a pinpoint penalty beyond McCabe and into the bottom corner.

Drogheda responded by applying fierce pressure of their own yet they themselves were, ironically given their main threat up to then, undone by a swift counterattack.

Conor Tourish originated it with a crunching but fair tackle to regain possession. Mihaljevic picked the run of McWoods and he was calmness personified, tucking the chance away ruthlessly.

Despite Ryan Brennan and Dean Williams being introduced, Finn Harps quelled Drogheda’s second half threat with relative comfort.

McWoods made the game safe with a flying header from Regan Donelon’s, typically dangerous, ball in. 3-0 ensured Finn Park, perhaps even all Ballybofey, was bouncing with upbeat buoyancy.

To their credit, the vusitors continued to make a game of it but Harps stood firm. McNamee and home keeper James McKeown were superb, calming figures.

Tonight, was a fine redemption for McKeown after an error-strewn debut in the FAI Cup last week. The goalkeeper was commanding and even better, a handy shot-stopper.

This victory will send Ollie Horgan’s men to the UCD Bowl, for next Friday’s relegation six-pointer, full of optimism as their winless run comes to an end. Drogheda host Shelbourne and will be keen for points to ensure they are not drawn into an increasingly engrossing relegation scrap.

Finn Harps v Bohemian FC

Bohemians bid to return to the Aviva lives after win at Finn Harps

Bohemians advanced to the second round of the FAI Cup tonight defeating Finn Harps 3-1 in an action-packed match at Finn Park. Goals from Declan McDaid, Josh Kerr and Junior were enough to see Bohs through despite Harps scoring through Eric McWoods.

The visitors, runners-up in this competition last year, were hoping to again go far. Finn Harps were seeking a cup run to buoy themselves in their battle to avoid relegation.

It was a frenetic opening period as Harps began energetically, feeding off the Ballybofey backing at Finn Park. After a few professional fouls apiece, the opening goal arrived.

Liam Burt shimmied by the booked Ethan Boyle, this allowed new signing James Clarke, on debut, the time and space to get into the area where his cutback was rifled into the net by Declan McDaid.

After a series of corners which come to nought, Harps were hit by a sucker punch. Burt’s ball back into the mixer was spilt by new home keeper James McKeown and Josh Kerr couldn’t believe his luck, the defender tapping home to double the Bohemians lead.

Yet the hosts bit back immediately, Boyle playing the perfect pass for Eric Woods to scamper in one-on-one with Tadgh Ryan. The American coolly rounded him and made it 2-1.

However, any momentum Finn Harps manager, Ollie Horgan, hoped to gain from McWoods’ strike was undone early in the second half. McDaid jinked inside, chipping a teasing cross in. McKeown could only parry it onto the head of the onrushing Junior and Bohs two-goal advantage was restored.

The remainder of the match emphasised the contrast between the two goalkeepers. Where Ryan was commanding and vocal in claiming crosses, McKeown was indecisive and on two occasions, it proved costly for Finn Harps FAI Cup ambitions.

Harps must regroup and pick themselves up for a home league game against Drogheda United next week, one they will see as winnable. Bohs travel to European adventurers Sligo safe in the knowledge of their progression to the Cup’s second round.

Finn Harps v Derry City

Derry go second with stoppage time Akintunde winner against Finn Harps

Derry City went second in the Premier Division as James Akintunde bagged an injury time winner in the Northwest Derby.

Trailing to Robert Jones’s first half header, the Candystripes transformed the game as two substitutes scored. Ryan Graydon levelled with ten minutes left before Akintunde forced the ball home to cue pandemonium amongst the away fans at Finn Park.

Both teams were desperate for three points tonight, yet the first quarter was uneventful, a Matty Smith zinger the nearest thing to a goal.

When a goal did come, it came via a set piece. Regan Donelon delivered and Robert Jones, bizarrely left unmarked by Derry, thundered a header past Brian Maher to send Finn Park wild.

Ruaidhri Higgins made a double change at half time including the introduction of new signing, Sadou Diallo. Yet as Harps dropped deeper and Derry monopolised possession, the Candystripes still trailed.

Ryan Graydon, another summer signing, had an immediate impact on his arrival but mis controlled the ball at the key moment. Graydon’s pace against a robust Harps defence saw all the home defenders collect bookings.

As Ollie Horgan’s side became more and more reliant on superb individual, last-gasp tackles, Derry were in complete control and finally equalised.

Ironically, it came via the direct style. Cameron Dummigan’s hoof up field went uncontested and Graydon gleefully nipped in, stooping low to head past Mark McGinley, his first goal for the club.

McGinley was keeping the hosts in it as moments ago he had brilliantly repelled Patrick McEleney’s long-range rasper.

Having levelled, Higgin’s troops continued to push forward. And they got their rewards in injury time. Will Patching floated the ball into the mix and Akintunde, making a menace of himself in the box, reacted instinctively to prod past McGinley and cue bedlam in the away end.

Having also denied Harps victory in injury time at the Brandywell, the Northwest Derby bragging rights rest, for now, with Higgin’s team.

A huge win for Derry, they now sit a point above Dundalk in second place, have emphatically bounced back from their European elimination and this success is their third straight away win in the league. They host Sligo on Friday, in formidable form.

For Finn Harps, the contrast with Derry’s delight will be raw. UCD’s win at Sligo rubs salt in the wound and moves the bottom two teams’ level on points. They have another tough test next, travelling to Dundalk.

Things are certainly heating up in the Premier Division this summer.

Finn Harps v Shamrock Rovers

Gaffney screamer ensures win for Shamrock Rovers

A 25-yard screamer from Rory Gaffney on the cusp of half-time sealed a 1-0 victory for Shamrock Rovers over Finn Harps in the League of Ireland Premier Division this evening.

It was a quiet start to the affair with Finn Harps more than happy to sit back and let Shamrock Rovers dominate possession. The hosts struggled to retain possession when clearing their lines with lone striker Eric McWoods finding himself constantly isolated against Shamrock Rovers’ back three.

The first big chance of the game came midway through the second half when a Rob Slevin slipped, allowing Dylan Watts to race through on goal. Thankfully for Finn Harps, Ryan Mulreany was equal to Watts’ effort and the game remained scoreless.

The league leaders felt hard done by when Gaffney went down under the challenge of Mulreany on the edge of the box with the Ballybofey outfit’s goalkeeper seeming to go straight through the back of the Rovers’ man. The referee waved play on and Finn Harps survived.

Barry McNamee had his side’s best chance of the half just after the 35th minute when a bouncing ball fell nicely into his path. The Finn Harps’ skipper’s strike was saved well by Alan Mannus.

On the cusp of half-time, it was a moment of individual brilliance from Rory Gaffney that broke the deadlock.

Gaffney picked the ball up from the guts of 25 yards out and unleashed a rocket off his left foot into the bottom corner to open the scoring.  

Ryan Mulreany was called into action instantly after the restart when Dylan Watts’ deflected effort from distance looked destined for the back of the net, but Mulreany saved well.

Shamrock Rovers continued to dominate, and Richie Towell almost made an instant impact just seconds after arriving on the pitch.

Sean Gannon’s inch perfect ball found Rory Gaffney out wide. Gaffney’s cross fell to Richie Towell at the back post, but the midfielder couldn’t keep his effort on target.

Harps did try and push for an equaliser, but they were met with a resilient Shamrock Rovers back five and Rovers will travel home with all three points.

Finn Harps v St. Patrick’s Athletic

Late drama in Ballybofey

Late drama in Finn Park saw Finn Harps come back from 2-0 down to pick up a point through a 96th-minute Eoin Doyle header.

Pats looked on course for their third 2-0 victory after two Billy King goals either side of halftime but a Sam Curtis injury and a quadruple substitution turned the game on its head with just 10 minutes to go in the game.

The Dublin side will be livid that they let the points slip away from them as they controlled the game with ease for the majority of the game. 

The opening chance of the game fell to the away side. Eoin Doyle picked up the ball in midfield and played a delightful ball through to Darragh Burns whose effort at goal is saved well by Gavin Mulreany who started in the Harps net tonight. Sam Curtis saw his headed effort go over the crossbar from the resulting corner. 

After Sligo got two in the opening minutes in the North West Derby last weekend it was important for Finn Harps to start strong, and it could not have gone much worse. 

The opening goal of the game came after just 7 minutes. Mark Doyle picked up the ball on the byline, beating his man, and pulled his pass back across the box for Billy King who volleyed it low and hard underneath Mulreany into the Harps net, a goal which despite the game being only a few minutes old, had been coming. 

St Pats were inspired by the goal, holding the ball for the majority of the first half following but not creating too much by way of threatening chances. 

N’Zeyi was booked early for Harps and could’ve seen red after a late tackle in midfield with the ball already gone but it was not picked up by an official. 

It wasn’t until the 35th minute that we saw another big chance. Forrester played a long through ball to Doyle who was stopped by the onrushing Mulreany in the Harps net who saved with his legs. 

The Harps came into the game a little bit more before the break but nothing more than a couple of half-chances were created with no trouble to Anang in the Saints net. 

St Patricks Athletic took the narrow 1-0 lead into the interval. 

The Inchicore side continued their stranglehold on the game in the opening stages of the second half with Eoin Doyle forcing Mulreany into another save with his legs in the opening minutes. 

Billy King got his second goal of the game on the three-quarter mark, picking the ball up in midfield and with some nifty footwork, slipped passed N’Ziye and smashed with his left foot from outside the box into the bottom right corner, leaving Mulreany with no chance of saving.

The game flipped on its head after 80 minutes with defender Sam Curtis picking up a serious ankle injury that required a stretcher. A big blow for a young defender who was having a brilliant game. 

St Pats made four substitutions, which they believed would sure up the game but this was not to be.

Finn Harps got one back at the end of the game. A long hopeful ball into the box fell to the feet of Carrillo who poked home giving the Donegal side hope they could get a point late on. 

Drama followed into additional time. Harps threw the kitchen sink at Pat's sending everyone forward late on, and this would prove worthwhile as in the 96th minute Ethan Boyle headed in off the bar after a scramble that could not be cleared by the Pats defense. 

After a rather poor performance, the Donegal side will be delighted to come away with a point.

Full-time score in Finn Park, Finn Harps 2-2 St Patricks Athletic.

Finn Harps v Bohemian FC