FINN HARPS waited until they were three down before they found a spark to run Galway United agonisingly close at Eamonn Deacy Park.
Galway United 3 Finn Harps 2
Harps looked dead and buried as they trailed Galway 3-0 in the opening minute of the second half, but Harps found their scoring touch at last to make a game of it.
Ruairi Keating and Adam Hanlon found the net from Harps, but they’d left themselves with too much to do.
Keating’s goal, 13 minutes into the second half, was Harps’ first in 799 minutes of football, their first, in fact, since a 1-0 win over Galway in Ballybofey on July 8.
By the time Keating, after being slipped through by Sean Houston, slipped under Galway goalkeeper Kevin Horgan, for his first goal since his return to Harps colours, the game appeared well beyond them.
Early goals in the first half by Vinny Faherty and Enda Curran sent Galway on their way and Colm Horgan’s header in the opening minute of the second half helped condemn Harps to a ninth straight defeat.
Keating’s goal initially felt a consolation but, with 16 minutes to play, substitute Hanlon profited from a mistake by Colm Horgan and finished well from a tight angle.
But Harps were left to rue and curse their early generousness despite throwing the kitchen sink at Galway, who saw Marc Ludden sent off in added time at the end for a second booking.
Disaster struck for Harps when they fell behind after only six minutes. Faherty initially got a deft flick to divert a Ryan Connolly free goalwards.
Harps goalkeeper Ciaran Gallagher showed superb agility and awareness to save, but Faherty managed to tuck the rebound into the bottom corner.
Before Harps even had time to shake their heads clear, they were already staring into the abyss as Curran magnificently riffled beyond Gallagher from distance.
Curran could scarcely believe his luck with the time and space he was afforded when he picked up possession around 25 yards from goal and smashed straight to the bottom corner.
In between times, Curran forced Gallagher into turning away an inviting attempt with Galway rampant in the early exchanges.
Harps were rather fortunate to be only two in arrears. Faherty and Gary Shanahan both might have turned home from a Connolly cross, but Harps managed to survive what would’ve been a fatal blow.
The home side did have the ball in the net a third time, but Curran was deemed offside when he nodded home a fine cross by Faherty, who was then denied by the busy Gallagher.[adrotate group=”83″]
Harps did have fleeting moments, but Keating fired into the arms of Kevin Horgan, who replaced ex-Harps goalkeeper Conor Winn in the Galway team, and Sean Houston riffled over with a decent chance after Gareth Harkin’s free was only partially cleared.
Just before half-time, Tony McNamee hooked wide at the back post, but the frustration was evident as the sides parted ways at the break.
Harps had appeared to have gone for an attack-minded line-up for the trip west with BJ Banda in for his first start of the season.[adrotate group=”53″]
Banda’s inclusion was one of five changes made by Ollie Horgan, who served a touchline suspension this evening.
Damien McNulty returned from suspension and there were recalls for McNamee, Thomas McMonagle and Harkin, but the Donegal side found themselves drifting out of contention before they’d had time to get going.
The introduction of Hanlon and Michael Funston helped energise Harps, who were in with a real chances thanks to those goals.
Padraic Cunningham, following a good move down the left with Ludden, flashed narrowly wide with a chance to ease the creaking boards in the home floor.
Galway United: Kevin Horgan; Colm Horgan, Armin Aganovic, Stephen Folan, Stephen Walsh; Gary Shanahan, Paul Sinnott (Alex Byrne 63), Ryan Connolly, Marc Ludden; Vinny Faherty, Enda Curran (Padraic Cunningham 53).
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; Ethan Boyle, Keith Cowan, Thomas McMonagle (Dave Scully 75); Tony McNamee (Michael Funston 52), Damien McNulty Gareth Harkin, Ciaran Coll; BJ Banda (Adam Hanlon 52), Ruairi Keating.
Referee: Tomás Connolly (Dublin).Tags: