FINN Harps claimed the local bragging rights in tonight’s Donegal derby in the Under-19 League.
Finn Harps Under-19s 2 Letterkenny Rovers Under-19s 0
Goals in either half by Darragh Black (pictured above) and BJ Banda gave Joe Boyle’s team the win in the season opener at Finn Park.
Harps were on the front foot with Black, Declan Sharkey and Oisin Hassett all going close early on, Hassett the nearest to the breakthrough from a header having connecteed to Banda’s crtoss.
Kennedy Boache-Ansam had Rovers’ first chance, but he was denied by Lee McCarron.
Noah Mailey’s intervention thwarted Banda, who turned provider for Mark Coyle, but his effort was off target with Gareth Doherty’s enterprising hit deflecting onto the crossbar.
After Sharkey riffled over, Harps took the lead on the stroke of half-time when Black finished from Banda’s cross.
There was still time for Oran Hilley to fashion an opening for Rovers, but he fired wide in injury time.
Harps lined out with several former Rovers players in their ranks and it was surely a surreal experience for those concerned.
One of the ex-Rovers men in the blue and white, Banda, had several chances in the second half.
After being teed up by the influential Sharkey, he squandered the chance while he was denied by Sean Friel after being put clear by Black.
It wasn’t all one way traffic with McCarron forced into a last-ditch save to keep Naoise Ó Baoill – whose cousin, Daire, playedfor Harps – at bay.
Sharkey cut in from the right only to be denied by Friel and Banda finally made it 2-0 when he made no mistake after excellent approach work by substitute Paddy Diver.
Friel was called into action again, this time by Doherty, and the Rovers ‘keeper turned away the underage international’s free-kick.
Late in the day, Gavin McDaid came close to giving Rovers hope but, after firing his first attempt wide, McCarron kept the sheet clean with a fine save.
Finn Harps Under-19s: Tommy Lee McCarron, Paul Ferry, Luke Nelis, Daire Ó Baoill, Ciaran Kelly, Gareth Doherty, Declan Sharkey, Oisin Hassett, Darragh Black, Mark Coyle, BJ Banda. Subs used: Paddy Diver, Simon McGlynn, Eoin Slevin.
Letterkenny Rovers Under-19s: Sean Friel, Ciaran Maloney, Conor Blaney, Tristan Ferris, Noah Mailey, Oran Hilley, Conor Matthewson, David Tyrell, Kennedy Boache-Ansam, Naoise Ó Baoill, Kevin O’Donnell. Subs used: Gavin McDaid, Oisin Roper, Joseph Quinn, Oliver Quinn, Marty Vance.