FINN HARPS defeated Longford Town in Finn Park on Saturday night for their second win of the season.
- Curran’s penalty gives Harps a precious win …
WHEN Ryan Curran strode up to the penalty spot in the 57th minute, after Longford defender Daniel O’Reilly upended Ethan Boyle in the box, Finn Park fell silent.
Harps had battered Longford for much of the game, but hadn’t found a way of beating Paul Skinner, the Longford ‘keeper.
Curran had fired past Skinner in the 11th minute, only for Jamie Mulhall to clear from the goal line.
Curran, Dave Scully, Keith Cowan and Adam Hanlon all had chances before Curran was given his moment to shine.
The Derry native duly obliged – and later revealed that he has never missed a penalty.
“I won’t shy away from them,” said Curran. “This is a massive three points and we want to just keep building on that.
“There’s a huge difference between a win and a draw.”
- …but not before a sweat
ONE Harps player put it succinctly, if a little bluntly when observing in the clubhouse afterwards: ‘It’s a pity that we shit ourselves after the goal’.
It was certainly true that Harps were hanging on for dear life by the time Derek Tomney blew full-time.
Ollie Horgan noted that Harps’ display before Curran’s goal was ‘the best we’ve played all season’, but the remaining 33 minutes were ‘the worse we’ve played all season’.
It was hard to find fault with that assessment of Harps’ performance.
“We ran our luck at at the end, but we got away with it and it’s a good three points,” Horgan said.
“Longford are short a lot of players, but that didn’t show in the last half-an-hour. They pushed us back and we were very lucky to hang on.”
Harps created plenty of chances before Curran’s penalty finally put them in front and will want to add a little more refinement in front of goal given that they won’t always be so fortunate.
- Harps capable of turning on some style
HARPS don’t always have conform to type and line up with the regimental look that has become a stereotype of sorts for Ollie Horgan’s teams.
It can become lost and forgotten that his team possesses footballers of some substance and quality, too, as well as the blood and thunder.
The opening hour was Harps at their best for long spells – all they were missing, until Curran’s penalty, was the final touch.
Gareth Harkin found his form and Saturday’s was his best display yet of the season.
Ethan Boyle was a menace in midfield – it was also from his meandering run that Harps won the penalty – while Adam Hanlon and Ryan Curran gave a width rarely seen from Harps.
Dave Scully is fast becoming a fans’ favourite at Finn Park. The Dubliner’s never-give-in style has endeared him to the Navenny Street faithful, while Harps have in Tony McNamee a player who’s proof enough that Horgan’s squad has some style to match their substance.
“We can graft out results, but there is some quality there too,” Curran said afterwards.
“We’re playing some good stuff too. We can go and play teams too when it comes to it.”
- Ethan Boyle looks a real find by Harps
THERE were few around Finn Park who’d have heard of Ethan Boyle before Ollie Horgan managed to persuade the Wexford native to sign for Harps in the closed season.
Boyle lined out for Waterford United last season and faced Harps with The Blues, but his name still didn’t ring too many bells when he appeared as a half-time substitute in Harps’ pre-season game against Inishowen League in Buncrana.
Horgan capped Boyle with the Republic of Ireland Schoolboys team and Irish Under-19 manager Paul Doolin saw enough in the player to cap him at the end of last year.
Initially it appeared as if Boyle, comfortable in defence or in midfield, was in Ballybofey to provide cover, but it has quickly become apparent that Horgan has on his hands a player who looks set to make a place in the XI his own.
Last Tuesday Boyle scored his first Harps goal in the EA Sports Cup win over Cockhill Celtic and he followed that up with a further encouraging performance against Longford.
- Cousins defiant amid Longford’s poor run
LONGFORD Town haven’t won since an opening day 2-0 win over Wexford Youths, last year’s First Division champions.
The Midlanders shipped six against Cork City and Turner’s Cross and are looking every inch a squad that could become mired in the battle to avoid relegation come the season’s end.
Tony Cousins, the Longford manager, doesn’t quite have the demeanour of a manager feeling the heat, though – and is confident that his side can get on track.
“We had a lot of young lads in the team tonight. The problem we have at the moment is that we have seven players out,” Cousins said.
The likes of Mark Rossiter, Rhys Gorman, Pat Flynn and Kevin O’Connor and Conor Powell were all absent from Cousins’s roster.
The Longford manager said: “We have a load of players to come and I’m confident. I’m happy with the character and fight that my players showed out there. We have a lot of young lads finding their feet in the Premier Division.
“I’m not worried at all. We only conceded one goal here to a penalty and we created plenty of chances. Once we get these boys back we’ll be ok.”Tags: