Sean Boyd was the hero for 10-man Finn Harps as his late brace of goals snatched a 3-3 draw with Dundalk, and a lifeline in the FAI Cup this evening.
The sides will meet again next week in a replay following a thrilling contest at Finn Park.
Dundalk looked to be in absolute cruise control coming into the latter stages of the contest but Harps late rally spearheaded by Boyd has ensured their conquest for a semi-final is still intact.
The hosts were in a buyout mood and took the game to Dundalk as Babatunde Owolabi looked to get his name early on the scoresheet with a series of chances. On his third attempt on the Dundalk goal he hit the mark, Barry McNamee gave a clever little pass to Owolabi in the area who picked up the ball and with a first time shot slammed it under Cherrie who had was left with no chance. The lead would only last four minutes and the momentum would shift for the way of the Lilywhites.
Pat Hoban struck a low effort that Mark McGinley pushed away and Sean Murray was on for the follow-up effort but his low effort was blocked on the line by Jordan Mustoe with the ball striking his arm.
The referee felt he had no option but to give the red card and a penalty. Hoban despatched the penalty with ease and it was Dundalk who began to up the tempo. They got their just rewards for their increased pressure as Sean Murray struck his tenth goal for the club as he received the ball in the middle of the park and he hit a low effort, it seemed to have caused McGinley to sidestep the wrong way and the ball evaded his outstretched hand.
Dundalk looked to have put the contest to bed as Patrick Hoban grabbed his second goal of the game as he headed past McGinley to give Dundalk a commanding two-goal advantage. But there would be late drama as Sean Boyd who came on midway through the second half for the Harps would have a big say in this tie.
Boyd struck two late goals, with his first seeing him tower over Peter Cherrie to head past the Dundalk keeper to reduce the deficit to one as the sides headed into added-on time and with the final kick of the game, he struck a low effort past a sea of Dundalk players to equalise and send Finn Park into hysterics.
In a fleeting moment, the momentum swung away from Dundalk and back to Finn Harps as the sides will meet again next week to see who will progress to the semi-final, who that will be is anyone's guess at this point.
Two first half goals from Promise Omochere and Georgie Kelly, from the penalty spot; for Bohemians were enough for the Dublin side to take all three points against Finn Harps in a wet Ballybofey.
Ryan Rainey's 80th minute goal for Harps was not enough, in a game marred by multiple injuries.
Both teams started well with a number of attacks in the opening quarter hour, Dawson Devoy and Ali Coote hassling the Harps defence while Will Seymore, and former Shamrock Rovers pair Sean Boyd and Ethan Boyle coming close for the home side.
It wasn’t until Ali Coote picked up an injury in the 17th minute and was soon after replaced by Promise Omochere when there was finally some real danger in either box, The pacey midfielder giving a lift to both sides.
It wasn’t long before the intense work rate of Promise paid off, as the ball Ping ponged around the Harps box Georgie Kelly found him with a header, Promise himself flicked the ball past Ger Doherty in the goal. Calls for offside went unheard as referee Paul McLoughlin spotted the downed Will Seymore who played the goal scorer onside. This happened to be Seymore's last action as he was also subbed off due to injury,
Bohs gained control of the game after the opener with Ross Tierney driving into the box with five minutes to play in the first half, Kosovar Sadiki clashing with the midfielder and conceding a penalty for his troubles. Donegal native, Georgie Kelly stepped up and expectedly smashes the back of the net.
The half almost petered out without incident until versatile Johnny Dunleavey, made a challenge on promise to stop an attack, however the hometown star came off the worse, leaving the field in the third minute of added time with his arm in a sling.
After the break both sides struggled to get a foothold on the game with few chances coming and nothing to trouble either goalkeeper, Rainey on 66 and Promise in the 72nd minute being the best of the chances, the Dublin sides midfielder catching Doherty with a stray boot and picking up a yellow for his efforts while the former hit the side netting.
It was in fact Rainey who ensured a nervy ending for The Gypsies as he latched onto a Webster cross beating Irish International Talbot with 10 minutes remaining.
Calls for a goal came in added time as Harps fans and players alike felt the ball crossed Talbot's line but neither the referee nor linesman were convinced.
A dramatic ending in Ballybofey was always on the cards as Bohemians raced forward in search of a third but Karl O’Sullivan ensured there would be no grandstand ending pulling down the attacker on the halfway line.
Next up for hard as they entertain Dundalk in the FAI Cup next weekend before they make the trip to Dalymount to test Bohemians once again in the League, Bohemians host Maynooth University in the FAI Cup and Derry City in the league prior to that meeting as they catch up on postponed games due to their extended run in the Europa Conference League.
A late Tunde Owolabi header, helped Finn Harps take all three points in a tough and tactical contest, at Finn Park in Ballybofey, as Finn Harps extend their unbeaten run, with a 2-1 win over Shamrock Rovers
Jordan Mustoe put his side ahead in the 56th minute, the left back coming up with miles of space, finishing well to wrong foot Alan Mannus. A sucker punch for the home side later in the half, as forward Adam Foley ended up putting a Dylan Watts cross past Mark McGinley, in the Harps goal. But it was Owolabi who proved the difference again
The Donegal side looked the stronger of the two sides, Shamrock Rovers suffering their first league loss, since defeat to rivals Bohemians, a run that stretches six games. A big three points for The Harps, it sees them remain in seventh place, but stay three ahead of Waterford.
It was a tight game, where both defences became crucial for their sides safety, the opening chance for the home side, Adam Foley getting in behind the defence, as he tried to chip the on rushing Alan Mannus, but he could not loft the ball over the keeper.
It took until the 35th minute of the half, for The Hoops to register a chance, Dylan Watts on the end of some great link up play, but his shot failed to hit the target.
The second half was a lot more open, as both sides started to tire, Jordan Mustoe grabbing the opener, as Harps stretched the Rovers defence, the left back came up and was on hand to finish, as Ryan Rainey played the defender in.
It remained all Harps until the visitors managed to get the leveller, after some great play in the build up, Dylan Watts played a dangerous ball into the box, the ball met by Adam Foley, but the forward inadvertently put the ball into his own net.
With the game tied at 1-1, both sides were looking to get the all important winner, it was Owolabi again, getting the winner for Finn Harps, the forward in the area to head home as Karl O’Sullivan cross, as the Donegal side go four games unbeaten in the league.
A Tunde Owolabi penalty on home turf ensured Finn Harps grabbed their first ever win over Derry City in the FAI Cup, and with it a spot in the third round.
In a keenly contested affair, Owolabi's 74th minute place-kick was the difference, as Harps came away 1-0 winners over Derry City in the North-West Derby in Ballybofey.
The first half was a very dull affair with both sides struggling to test either ‘keeper. The defences were on top which makes sense considering the excellent performances that the two teams have been putting in at the back recently.
Towards the end of the first period, the visitors began to take control with multiple passages of possession. However, they could not cause Gerald Doherty any problems in the Harps net.
The hosts began to find their feet around ten minutes into the second half. A wild effort from Dave Webster was followed by two excellent strikes from Adam Foley, one of which skimmed the crossbar on the way over and the other which forced Nathan Gartside into a wonderful diving save.
Harps looked to have taken control of possession while Derry were lucky to still be level.
The Ballybofey side finally took the lead after a clumsy tackle from Ciaron Harkin on Ryan Rainey was given as a penalty by the referee. Tunde Owolabi stepped up and slotted the ball into the top left corner.
The Candystripes began to cause some trouble for their opponents going into the closing moments. Doherty was called upon and made three vital saves ensuring his side's progression into the next round of the cup.
A disappointing result for Derry who have seen their streak of wins come to an end against their local rivals.
For Finn Harps, their run continues and who knows how far they could go in the cup this year.
A Babatunde Owolabi hat-trick, was enough to give Finn Harps a 3-1 win over St Patrick’s Athletic at Finn Park tonight.
A brace in the opening half, was followed up by a strike in the 54th minute of the second half, the win giving Harps, only their third home win of the season.
In truth it was a game Harps did not deserve to lose, the home side taking their chances well in attack, while the backline did well to hold out, to come out 3-1 winners.
The opening exchanges looked cagey, as St Pats had the better of the chances, Matty Smith and Nahum Melvin-Lambert combined well, with the latter had an effort toward goal but he could only hit the side netting.
Against the run of play, Harps found themselves 1-0 ahead, Babatunde Owolabi breaking the offside trap, running in behind the Pats defence after a long through ball, the forward cutting back inside, to finish well to the net.
The lead would only last less than 60 seconds however, as Melvin-Lambert was deemed to be fouled in the area, Chris Forrester stepping up and firing home past Mark McGinley, despite the keeper guessing the right way.
After the goal, the game started to settle down, with the rain and wind making their presence known. St Pats failing to convert any chances against the Donegal side.
Just before the break, Owolabi got his second goal of the night, the forward getting in behind again breaking the offside trap, he skipped inside past the defensive challenges, before a wonderful finish to the net.
Less than ten minutes after the restart, Owolabi got his hat-trick, a massive call for offside on this one, the forward in again behind the visitors defence, the forward running into the area before rounding the on rushing Vitezslav Jaros, and finishing to the net.
Owolabi and Barry McNamee both forced saves from Jaros later on in the half, the Saints looking flat in front of goal, substitute Kyrian Nwoko with their best chance of the night, free in the area but his effort came crashing off the post.