AT LEAST TONIGHT, they were boos of a different kind at Finn Park, though there was no less frustration in the air as Finn Harps were beaten by Cork City.
Finn Harps 0 Cork City 1
Here, the anger was directed at the referee, Paul Tuite, and his assistant on the stand side, Damien McGrath, who awarded Cork the 69th minute penalty from which Sean Maguire scored the only goal of the game.
Josh Mailey was adjudged to have unfairly impeded Garry Buckley and Tuite pointed to the spot for a penalty that certainly goes down as soft.[adrotate group=”38″]
Maguire confidently tucked home past Ciaran Gallagher to give John Caulfield’s team a hard-earned win on a night when Harps were much-improved, although they still fell to an eighth defeat on the bounce.
Cork were reduced to ten men 11 minutes from the end when Steven Beattie was sent off for a second bookable offence and a challenge that saw Harps midfielder Adam Hanlon carried off.
Harps had renewed endeavour here and had chances to level it, Sean Houston shooting over with their best move late on, although their wait for a goal is now standing at over 12 hours, or 762 minutes.[adrotate group=”37″]
Yet here was a side that rediscovered itself and belied the 31 points of a difference between them in the standings.
Olloie Horgan showed five changes to his Harps selection from the team deployed for Friday’s 1-0 loss against Longford; a result that has sucked Harps very much into the survival battle, mere weeks after they’d appeared within touching distance of survival.
A week on from a Man of the Match display against Dundalk, Ciaran Gallagher – deposed for Friday’s fixture – was restored to the team, while Michael Funston, Barry Molloy, Ruairi Keating and Dave Scully also came in.[adrotate group=”50″]
Stung by the recent criticism levelled their way and with the boos of Friday night still gonging in their ears, there was certainly a greater urgency fight about Harps here.
They hassled and harried much more like the early-season Harps – a side that proved a tough nut for teams to crack.
Somewhere in recent weeks, Harps had lost their way, but they appeared re-energised here and certainly played with a spring in their step that hadn’t been seen for much of the last two months.
Gallagher did well to save a swerving effort from Gearoid Morrissey in Cork’s first purposeful venture after 20 minutes and The Rebels were kept at distance by Harps in the opening period.[adrotate group=”80″]
By contrast, Harps themselves had some decent probes.
Sean Houston fired wide from the edge of the box and Ethan Boyle could get neither power or precision in a header that was easily gathered by Mark McNulty, the Cork goalkeeper.
After Scully poked wide in a crowded penalty area from a corner, Hanlon warmed the palms of McNulty from distance.
Cork struggled to turn possession into chance but, eight minutes into the second half, Gallagher did well to turn over the crossbar after Garry Buckley’s shot took a deflection.[adrotate group=”70″]
Keating whipped in a cross-cum-shot on the hour that whizzed over and drew gasps from what was an appreciative Finn Park crowd, who saw Houston, Scully and sub Tony McNamee all draw saves from McNulty.
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; Ethan Boyle, Keith Cowan, Josh Mailey, Ciaran Coll; Adam Hanlon (Tony McNamee 79), Michael Funston (Ryan Curran 74), Barry Molloy (Gareth Harkin 56), Sean Houston; Dave Scully, Ruairi Keating.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Steven Beattie, Dave Mulcahy, Alan Bennett, Kevin O’Connor; Greg Bolger, Gearóid Morrissey (Mark O’Sullivan 90); Karl Sheppard (Danny Morrissey 58), Gary Buckley, Stephen Dooley (Michael McSweeney 80); Sean Maguire.
Referee: Paul Tuite (Dublin)Tags: