A GRIPPING FINALE last night at The Brandywell saw Derry City and Finn Harps play out a dramatic 2-2 draw.
Ryan Curran’s goal in the first half had Harps in front for a little over an hour, before two late goals by Josh Daniels and Rory Patterson had Derry in front, only for Sean Houston to pounce for an injury time equaliser for Harps.
Even then, there was still time for Nathan Boyle to squander a glorious chance with the last kick of the game.
- Harps show real character with late fightback
OLLIE Horgan has been at pains at various times in his tenure to commend the honest endeavour of his squad.
After an epic conclusion in Derry saw Sean Houston’s last-ditch header save a point for Harps at the home of their bitter rivals, the usually-conservative Horgan couldn’t put praise his team.
Few teams could summons such resolve in the face of what had been a tsunami of pressure from the Candystripes.
Harps showed their fight when Ciaran Coll’s cross was brilliantly headed home by Houston, a goal that sparked wild celebrations among the 400-or-so Harps supporters.
“We may not have the quality of players that they have, but we try to make up for that in other ways, as we showed with the equalising goal,” was how Horgan put it.
“We make up with it in work-rate, character and honesty. Those lads will never throw in the towel.”
Barry Molloy played a decade with Derry and knows well how intimidating the Brandywell can be made for visitors. Last night, he was in the opposing corner to his hometown club.
Molloy said: There aren’t many teams who could go 2-1 down here and go back to get a point. That showed the real character of the team. It’s a great point to get.”[adrotate group=”43″]
- Derby buzz outlines Premier importance
THESE are the nights that show the importance of Premier League football to Finn Harps.
That raw, emotional, red hot atmosphere – and that’s only off the pitch. Nights like last night are exactly why Finn Harps had to get out of the First Division.
From playing against the proverbial man and the dog, at times with the dog being trailed by its lead, for drab, dreary contests in Division One, Harps are mixing it with the top sides again.
The electrifying ending to the derby at the Brandywell was an outline of the passion and meaning stirred up by this fixture.
“The boys said last year they wanted to get promoted to play in these sort of games,” said Harps midfielder Barry Molloy.
Next up for Harps is Stephen Kenny’s Dundalk at Finn Park, as the double League champions roll into Ballybofey on Friday.
Ollie Horgan, the Harps manager said: “It’s great at the same time: Dundalk coming to Ballybofey is what we wanted.”[adrotate group=”50″]
- Harps can be impressive attackers
STEREOTYPING is a sometimes dangerous and often inaccurate practice.
Largely under Ollie Horgan, Finn Harps could be termed as ultra-defensive, content to protect what they have and it can sometimes seem as if their main objective is to ‘not lose’ rather than win a game.
It only tells part of the story and perhaps doesn’t quite do justice to the attacking potential of Harps.
At times last night, it was frustrating for the visiting fans to watch Ryan Curran break into the Derry half, only for few of his team-mates to lend support. The half-way line seemed like the force field for Harps.
But their two goals were works of art in their own right.
Ryan Curran applied a headed finish for the opener after Dave Scully hit the crossbar following an 11-pass move by Harps. The goal was described by Buzz.ie as ‘one of the most glorious team goals you’re ever likely to see’.
Harps were controlled and patient, too, in the build-up to their late equaliser. Having abandoned their set-up to go three-at-the-back, they dispayed a clinical edge as Sean Houston brilliantly headed home from Ciaran Coll’s left-wing cross.[adrotate group=”38″]
- Points will mean prizes for odds-defying Harps
HARPS just keep on defying those who tipped them as certainties to have their toes tagged for the Premier Division’s dumping ground.
In two games against Derry, they’ve taken four points and have been quite competitive in most of their games, perhaps with the exception of the 3-1 loss at Cork City.
Against Dundalk in Oriel Park, they were comfortably beaten 3-0 but they did frustrate Stephen Kenny’s team for long spells.
Over their 12 games to date, Harps have a goal difference of -5. Remove those defeats at Dundalk and Cork and, in the other 10 games, Harps’ goal difference is zero.
Having claimed 13 points to date and having moved seven clear of the automatic relegation spot and six away from the play-off spot, Ollie Horgan’s man are showing themselves to be up for the fight here.
With Sligo Rovers, Longford Town and Bray Wanderers all losing last night, it represents another point gained on their rivals in the lower half of the table.[adrotate group=”62″]
- Daniels goals stirs the emotions
ON DERBY night, the emotions always run high, but Josh Daniels’ goal in the 84th minute last night went beyond sport’s boundaries.
Just over seven weeks ago, the 20-year-old Derry City player lost five members of his family in the Buncrana pier tragedy.
His mother, Ruth and his sister Jodie Lee, along with three other family members, Ruth’s partner Sean McGrotty and his sons, Mark and Evan, perished when their Audi Q7 was submerged in Lough Foyle after sliding off the slipway at the Buncrana pier.
Daniels returned to action two weeks later as s substitute against Sligo Rovers, given a rousing ovation that night.
Last night, the Galliagh youngster came off the bench to scored Derry’s equaliser against Finn Harps. It was his first-ever goal for Derry and a moment that he and the Brandywell will remember for all sorts of reasons.[adrotate group=”51″] Tags: