CAPTAIN OISIN HASSETT stepped up with a brilliant last-minute equaliser to stretch Finn Harps Under-19s’ unbeaten League run out to seven games.
Finn Harps Under-19s 1 Derry City Under-19s 1
Stephen Duffy’s 12th minute header had Derry – who had seven Donegal men in their starting eleven – ahead and heading for the win just when the small attendance were considering their exits when Hassett let fly and had them scurrying for their seats again.
It had been a disappointing display by Joe Boyle’s team, who were well below their par, but Hassett stepped up with a wonderful equaliser in the final minute of the 90.[adrotate group=”50″]
Derry backed off as Hassett seized possession around 25 yards from goal and the midfielder promptly smashed the ball to Dylan Doherty’s left corner to secure a share of the spoils for the hosts.
The Canydtripes hit the front when Adrian Delap’s tempting cross from the right was beautifully headed past Anthony O’Hagan by Duffy, younger brother of Michael Duffy, who has recently joined Dundee United on loan from Celtic.
Duffy arched his back and the guide was perfect, looping the header over the outstretched O’Hagan and into the far corner.
Derry had fashioned the game’s first chance with Todd heading wide from a delicious Rory Holden centre after four minutes.[adrotate group=”76″]
Harps did have their moments in the opening period, with Todd clearing from a dangerous left-wing cross by Luke Nelis.
Delap was on hand to block from Nelis after Liam Doherty’s deep ball in found its way to the Letterkenny man.
Harps went closer still when BJ Banda’s header dropped invitingly for Simon McGlynn, but he fired wide from 12 yards.
Harps were looking porous at times and they had a real let off when Ben Doherty broke free, but shot at the advancing O’Hagan when he’ll reflect on a chance that could have doubled his side’s lead.
Duffy might have had a second Derry goal early in the second half, but he headed wide when awkwardly positioned as Doherty picked him out.[adrotate group=”43″]
Harps rang the changes with Shane Blaney, Mark Coyle and Keelan McDermott all introduced at half-time.
Harps had entered the game unbeaten in their previous six League outings – although that sequence was punctured by the surrendering of a two-goal lead in a 3-2 Enda McGuill Cup loss to Galway – and knew that a win could take them to the summit.
Declan Sharkey was their match winner last week in a 1-0 win over St Patrick’s Athletic, Sharkey scoring straight from the kick-off at Richmond Park.
Sharkey connected here with a Banda cross, but slid wide before Banda’s free was saved at the second attempt by Derry goalkeeper Doherty.[adrotate group=”46″]
In the 78th minute, Harps were denied what would surely have been the equaliser when Ronan Wilson came from nowhere to put in a game-saving challenge on McGlynn.
Late in the game O’Hagan saved well at his near post after sub Sean Toland weaved his way through the compact space.
Just as Derry looked set for the win, Hassett rearranged the narrative utterly.[adrotate group=”38″]
Finn Harps Under-19s: Anthony O’Hagan; Liam Doherty, Daire Ó Baoill, Paul Ferry (Shane Blaney half-time), Nathan Clifford (Mark Coyle half-time); Simon McGlynn, Oisin Hassett, Gareth Doherty (Keelan McDermott half-time), Luke Nelis; BJ Banda, Declan Sharkey.
Derry City Under-19s: Dylan Doherty; Adrian Delap (Matt Doherty 68), Sam Todd, Jack Blake, Lee McColgan; Stephen Duffy (Paul Doherty 87), Rory Holden, Ben Doherty, Christy Fildara (Sean Toland 64); Ronan Wilson; Cathal Farren.
Referee: Marty McGarrigle.Tags: