A FIRST-HALF hat-trick from BJ Banda fired Finn Harps Under-19s to a stunning win over Cork City in the National Under-19 Elite quarter-final at Bishopstown.
Cork City 1 Finn Harps 3
Banda, Harps’ hero from last season’s promotion campaign, netted a treble in the first half to shoot Joe Boyle’s team to an unexpected win.
Banda and goalkeeper Lee McCarron traveled to Cork, via an overnight stay in Dublin, having been a part of the senior panel for last night’s win over Bray Wanderers.[adrotate group=”50″]
Banda showed no travel sickness as his first-half hat-trick saw Harps bag a landmark win and earn a home semi-final against UCD. Cork pulled a goal back from a late penalty, but Banda had the damage done by that stage.
Cork’s Under-19s hadn’t lost in 13 months and recently drew away to HJK Helsinki in the UEFA Youth League.
Mark Coyle and Simon McGlynn were missing from the Harps line-up because of suspension while Luke Nelis missed out due to injury and Jeaic Mac Ceallabhuí’s involvement with the Ulster Schools panel in Dublin meant that he, too, was unavailable.
But Harps, spurred by Banda’s magic, made light of the absentees for a huge win over the Rebels. Harps had Daire Ó Baoill sent off late on.
Finn Harps: Lee McCarron, Paul Ferry, Ciaran Kelly, Daire Ó Baoill, Liam Doherty, Gareth Doherty, Oisin Hassett. Kealan McDermott, Declan Sharkey, Dylan McCroary, BJ Banda. Subs used: Nathan Clifford, Alex Carolan, Aaron McCready, Niall McGinley