The Finn Harps U15s had to settle in the end for a draw 2-2 against Shelbourne at the AUL Complex on Saturday.
It was a disappointing finish as Kevin McHugh’s side had led 2-0 at a stage thanks to goals from Jack Dwyer and Drew McKinney, pictured below. It was Dwyer’s second goal in the space of a week for the Harps 15s who remain unbeaten in Group 1.
A couple of other missed chances to extend the lead against Shels came back to haunt the visitors. It was the hosts who were the happier side at the final whistle after scoring twice to secure a share of the spoils and keep themselves in contention for qualification for the knockout stages of the national competition.
Saturday’s game at the AUL Complex was an entertaining 80 minutes against the hosts. Harps started well and opened the scoring in just the second minute when Fionnan Coyle skipped in down the right before whipping an enticing cross to Jack Dwyer who provided the finish.
Harps were to dominate most of the early proceedings, and Jamie McDaid saw his chance saved moments later when he headed Caoimhan Wheeler’s cross.
Harps doubled their advantage with a stunning strike. Drew McKinney latched onto a blocked Dwyer cross, with his half volley looping delightfully over the Shelbourne keeper Sean Farrell, and into the top right hand corner.
Harps could have added a third midway through the first half when Luke McGlynn, making his Harps debut, delivered a free kick which Conor McDaid flicked on to Oran McGrath though his touch saw the ball come back off the post and fall harmlessly wide.
Shelbourne pulled a goal back ten minutes before the break when Franky Nwaokolo capitalised on hesitant Harps defending to make his way into the six-yard box before cutting the ball back to Zach Donohue who calmly fired low past Paddy McGarvey.
The goal spurred Shelbourne on and they had a chance to level the score just before half time when Donohue drifted inside to unleash a powerful right footed shot that McGarvey got his body behind to make the save.
The second half was a much more tentative affair as Shelbourne tried for an equaliser. Neat link up play from McDaid for Harps presented an opening for Joel Gorman but the midfielder fired his shot narrowly over the crossbar.
Shelbourne got their equaliser just two minutes later when they were awarded a free kick 25 yards out. Harrison McGrane stepped up for the home side and curled a perfect strike past McGarvey who had little chance of making a save.
Both sides had chances to win it in the final stages of the game, firstly Gorman forced a good save out of Sean Farrell after being teed up by Jack Dwyer, while on the counter attack Max Kelly couldn’t force the ball past McGarvey after a scramble in the box.
McHugh now turns his attention to a top of the table clash with St Patrick’s Athletic at Finn Park next Saturday.