Finn Harps suffered their biggest defeat of the season with a 3-0 loss at the hands of Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght.
Shamrock Rovers 3 Finn Harps 0
One point from six against Bohemians and Dundalk had Stephen Bradley’s outfit in need of three points and they earned it with ease against a injury-stricken Finn Harps.
It was a bitterly disappointing night for Harps, which saw them add Gareth Harkin to the injury list in the first half, while Ollie Horgan felt the wrath of referee Ben Connolly as he was sent to the stands in the second.
Bradley’s reshaped Rovers side was full of energy and Harps discovered that time on the ball was at a premium in the first 45 minutes.
Any anxieties Horgan may have harboured about his team switching off were soon realised after eleven minutes.
The Ballybofey side frustrated Harry Kenny’s St Patrick’s Athletic in west Dublin last Monday but, following a deflection from a hoist cross, Roberto Lopes from himself in the right place at the right time and he made mistake from inside the box.
From there, it was an uphill battle for Harps and Rovers were soon rewarded a penalty when Harkin brought down Aaron McEneff midway through the first half.
However, as Rovers looked to double their lead, they failed as Dylan Watts blazed his effort from the spot over the bar.
As Harps regained their composure, Watts looked keen to make amends, and he soon did with a thumping effort from distance past Peter Burke to double Harps’ deficit.
The Donegal men were without the services of Mark Timlin and Sam Todd before the game and Horgan looks set to be without skipper Harkin for a prolonged spell following his injury just before the interval.
And if it couldn’t get much worse before the break for Harps, Rovers snatched their third after 44 minutes.
Sean Kavanagh’s deft pass to Aaron Greene was finished with a low angled left-foot shot across Burke and into the far corner.
Disaster for Harps, who found themselves with another 45 minutes in front of them.
In the second half, other chances presented themselves for Rovers but they failed to take them, as Harps stopped the bleeding to take their first heavy loss of the season.
The schedule for Horgan and Co doesn’t get any easier, with Cork City next to visit Navenny Street on Friday night.
Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Sam Bone (Joey O’Brien 66), Roberto Lopes, Lee Grace, Sean Kavanagh; Greg Bolger; Jack Byrne (Arhan Vojic 66), Dylan Watts, Aaron McEneff (Brandon Kavanagh h-t), Dan Carr; Aaron Greene.
Finn Harps: Peter Burke; John Kavanagh, Harry Ascroft (Colm Deasy 69), Keith Cowan, Daniel O’Reilly; Jacob Borg, Gareth Harkin (Tony McNamee 48+3); Caolan McAleer, Nathan Boyle (Mark Russell 58), Niall McGinley; Mikey Place.
Referee: Ben Connolly (Dublin).