FINN Harps and Waterford United played out a scoreless draw at Finn Park on Saturday night. Here are five things we learned.
- A wrong call that could prove so costly…
IT could prove to be quite an expensive offside flag that was hoisted by Alan Dunne in the 73rd minute on Saturday night.
When Damien McNulty emphatically planted a header from Tony McNamee’s excellently-delivered free-kick past a helpless Robert Birdsall in the Waterford goal, Finn Park erupted momentarily.
Then the realisation dawned. Dunne was stood with flag aloft and silence engulfed the old ground.
In real time, it is sometimes hard to gauge the accuracy of these decisions when the emotions take over.
Michael Grant was upstairs in the television gantry filming for Finn Harps and captured the incident perfectly. As he replayed the footage, it was quite clear that the official had erred.
Everyone was in agreement, bar the aforementioned Mr Dunne.
Given the tight nature of this Division, it would be a shame were the decision to prove fatal to Harps’ title hopes.
- …but have Harps developed a ‘reputation’?
THERE was another moment in the second half that was cursed as Finn Harps fans made their way into the night.
When Raymond Foy tumbled over the challenge of Shane Mackey, the Waterford United centre-back, both teams were lining up for a Harps free just outside the Waterford penalty area.
Strangely, though, referee Ray Matthews awarded a free out and booked Foy for simulation.
It’s not the first time it’s happened to the Harps midfielder this season either and it does raise the suggestion that officials have discussed these matters in detail, especially when you consider some of the decisions that have been witnessed this season and the pattern that has developed.
Picture caption: Raymond Foy goes down under Shane Mackey’s challenge. The referee, Ray Matthews, awarded a free-kick against Foy. Picture courtesy of Gary Foy
- Waters experiment must click soon
EYEBROWS were raised when Ollie Horgan captured the signing of Rob Waters last month.
The striker parted ways with Cobh Ramblers in July and with his search for a frontman proving fruitless closer to home, Horgan drove to Cork and got Waters’ ink on paper.
Waters has a decent record at this level, but the arrangement that sees him link-up with Harps only for games is hardly ideal and the lack of understanding between he and his team-mates was evident on Saturday night.
Waters is unable to get off work to travel to Ballybofey for Friday night fixtures meaning he’s likely to miss the huge game against UCD at the end of the month, but the final game of the season at home to Wexford is on a Staurday.
Waters hasn’t score in any of the three games he’s featured in so far.
He can’t be faulted for endeavour, but he could be doing with a goal to stave off the groans of discontent. His next game happens to be against Cobh, his previous employers.
- Tony McNamee now really flourishing
DURING his ill-fated tenure as the Derry City manager, Roddy Collins handed Tony McNamee his League of Ireland debut. Collins was a fan of the Ramelton man and had big things ear-marked.
Collins’ departure was also the beginning of the end for McNamee’s Derry career with the player leaving soon afterwards.
Last November, he signed for Harps and while it’s taken him a while to make the breakthrough to the first XI, he’s now really made a mark.
He started only two of his first ten Harps appearances, but he’s been pretty much an ever-present since.
On Saturday night, his prints were all over the good about the Harps display. He gave a performance of real energy down the left-hand side.
He and Ciaran Coll were Harps’ best two players on the night with McNamee at the hub of it all. Could and perhaps should have scored, but overall he was magnificent.
- Numbers outline Waterford’s plight
ONLY three substitutes stepped off the Waterford United team bus when it pulled up outside Finn Park.
The appointment of the charismatic and controversial Roddy Collins as the manager in May hasn’t had the desired effect and the Blues remain rooted to the First Division’s bottom spot.
When striker Daniel Pender was carted away on a stretcher in the 85th minute, Collins was forced to ask Matthew Connor, a goalkeeper, to plug the hole.
It was a switch that outlined the depth to which they’ve plunged and showcased the difficulties facing Collins and Waterford in the coming months.