OLLIE Horgan has regularly name-checked Danny Furlong as being one of the First Division’s best – and this is why.
WEXFORD YOUTHS 2 FINN HARPS 0
Furlong’s deadly double in the first half sees Wexford Youths leapfrog Horgan’s Finn Harps at the top of the pile.
In taking his tally for the season onto 19 goals, Furlong has given Shane Keegan’s side a real shot in the arm as the season turns into its final quarter.
Photo caption: Thomas McMonagle in action for Finn Harps at Ferrycarrig Park against Wexford Youths in the SSE Airtricity League Division One. Photo: Gary Foy
Youths have a game less played than Harps and must now be fancied to kick on and win the title after Furlong’s quick-fire brace blasted them to a win, which moves them two points clear at the top.
On a night when Harps gave a debut to former Cobh Ramblers striker Rob Waters, it was the Wexford hitman who took the headlines.
Furlong capitalised on an miscued clearance by Ciaran Gallagher, the Harps goalkeeper, in the 18th minute and, before the Donegal side even had a chance to shake their heads clear, he nodded home a second.
Without Damien McNulty and Packie Mailey from their rearguard, not to mention Josh Mailey – who appears more often than not in defence – Harps were without some of their more battle-hardened campaigners.
They fell behind after 18 minutes when Gallagher’s attempted header on the edge of his box fell perfectly for Furlong, who made no mistake with a crisp finish.
Five minutes later, Furlong doubled the lead. It was a goal made by the mesmerising Andy Mulligan, whose delicate cross was perfect for Furlong to glance home from six yards.
In between times, it took a fine save from Gallagher to turn over Furlong’s free-kick with Wexford almost rampant.
On the half-hour, Wexford almost went three up, but not by their own designs.
Craig McCabe’s booming long throw-ins had been causing consternation for the Harps rearguard for much of the early stages and it was from one of his darts that the visitors very nearly drew the plans for their own downfall.
A skewed clearance rebounded off Willie Tyrell and flew just over the angle of post and crossbar with Gallagher able to breath a sigh of relief.
Rocked by the concessions, Harps went close to pulling one back, but Graham Doyle turned away Matthew Crossan’s daisy-cutter with Thomas McMonagle nodding the subsequent corner narrowly off target.
Waters, signed by Horgan last week after the Harps boss drove to Cork to meet with the player, was thrown straight into the starting XI, but it wasn’t a night he’ll remember with much fondness.
Waters was booked for a foul on Peter Higgins after 26 minutes and, six minutes into the second half, saw a hopeful effort from the centre circle drift wide with Doyle well off his line.
It had been a pretty attack-minded line-up deployed by Horgan, who introduced Tony McNamee and Kevin McHugh in an attempt to add a touch of refinement that had been lacking.
Wexford, though, were in no mood to gift wrap Harps any presents and the home defence held firm for a win that had the home singing ‘going up, going up, going up’ as David Keeler gave the last, long shrill of his whistle.
WEXFORD YOUTHS: Graham Doyle; Craig McCabe, Gary Delaney, Lee Grace (Ryan Delaney ’53), Willie Tyrell; Eric Molloy (John Pere ’86), Craig Wall, Peter Higgins, Andy Mulligan; Shane Dunne (Chris Kenny ’77); Danny Furlong.
FINN HARPS: Ciaran Gallagher; Michael Funston (Kieran McDaid ’79), Keith Cowan, Thomas McMonagle, Ciaran Coll; Nathan Boyle, Raymond Foy, Matthew Crossan, Gareth Harkin (Kevin McHugh ’65); Rob Waters, Wilfried Tagbo (Tony McNamee ’62).
REFEREE: David Keeler.Tags: