FINN HARPS’ PREMIER DIVISION clash with Sligo Rovers was abandoned in the 87th minute after power failure at The Showgrounds.
Sligo Rovers 1 Finn Harps 1
Game abandoned after 87 minutes
Damien McNulty’s goal looked to have rescued a point for battling Harps against north-west rivals Sligo and it may yet to with League of Ireland chiefs to make a ruling.
Defender McNulty struck a brilliant equaliser eight minutes from time after Chris Lyons’ 11th minute opener looked to have sent Sligo on their way for a first win of the season.
There were 87 minutes gone when the lights in the stand and some of the floodlights flicked off.
Refereee Padraigh Sutton called the players in. After a delay of around 15 minutes Sutton blew the full-time whistle and has indicated that it ‘is for the League to decide’ on what will happen.
Harps bagged the leveller wuth eight minutes to go.
Sub Liam Flatley’s persistance won Harps a corner and after Ciaran Coll won back possession for the visitors, Tony McNamee’s cross from the right-hand side was flicked on by Packie Mailey.
McNulty had burst up from the back and his first-time volley was magnificent. A superbly-controlled effort flew past Michael Schlingermann, the Sligo goalkeeper.
The away fans in the 2,238 crowd were in raptures and Ollie Horgan was toasting a fighting point for his side, who held it together after going behind early on with former Sligo goalkeeper Richard Brush to thank for keeping his side in the game.
Picture caption: Finn Harps’ Adam Hanlon on the attack against Sligo Rovers at The Showgrounds. Picture by Gary Foy, newsandsportfiles
Harps were boosted with the news during the week with left-back Ciaran Coll given the all-clear to play. There had been real fears that the St Johnston man was set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after sustaining a knee injury in Dundalk last Friday, but an MRI scan came back clear.
Coll’s worth to the Harps cause was shown with a superb tackle to thwart Liam Martin in the seventh minute. Jimmy Keohane’s pass was inch perfect for Martin, but the Donegal town man – who had attracted interest from Horgan while he was with Ballinamallard – was denied by Coll.
The St Johnston man slid in with a wonderfully-timed challenge that kept Sligo at bay.
Four minutes later, Sligo had Harps on the back foot when the stole in for the lead goal.
Regan Donelon was with Harps for the first half of the 2015 season, but found game time hard to come by. It was Donelon who created the opener.
Donelon’s magnificent cross picked out Lyons at the far post and he ghosted in to direct his header across Brush and into the far corner.
It was a goal that will haunt Horgan and Gavin Dykes, their side usually so solid in those positions.
Harps had their moments with Dave Scully proving a useful outlet.
McNamee was on the end of a pass by the Dubliner, but Sligo goalkeeper Schlingermann got out to save at the feet of McNamee as he tried to go around the 2015 Goalkeeper of the Year.
Scully was provider again soon after, but Adam Hanlon’s shot was blocked by Gavin Peers.
Soon after, Peers thought he had doubled the Sligo lead. From Sadlier’s inviting free, Peeers directed a deft header goalwards but, somehow, Brush managed to fling himself across to make the save.
Brush won the League with Sligo in 2012, but made the move to Harps in January and he earned his corn in the early moments with fine saves to deny Sadlier – who launched a first-time shot when McNulty’s header dropped invitingly on the edge of the box – and Jordan Richards, who connected with another Donelon delivery.
Brush had a close shave early on when a Sadlier shot almost crept in, but was inches over while the busy Harps netminder denied the sme player late in the half from a free kick.
Peers did have Brush beaten in the 40th minute, but his header flew just past the far post.
Harps came into it more in the second half, but Ryan Curran steered over from a Hanlon free while Coll scuffed a shot after being played in by Kevin McHugh, just after the Killea man came on.
Sadlier teed up Keohane with another delicate free kick, but Keohane’s header sailed over.
With the home crowd urging Dave Robertson, their manager, to make changes, McNulty struck for Harps, but the premature end brought with it confusion, even if Harps believe the result will stand.
Sligo Rovers: Michael Schlingermann; Tobi Adebayo-Rowling, Gavin Peers, Tim Clancy, Regan Donelon; Jimmy Keohane, Craig Roddan, Jordan Richards, Liam Martin; Kieran Sadlier, Chris Lyons.
Finn Harps: Richard Brush; Ethan Boyle (Raymond Foy ‘75), Damien McNulty, Keith Cowan, Packie Mailey, Ciaran Coll; Adam Hanlon, Gareth Harkin (Kevin McHugh ’67), Dave Scully; Tony McNamee; Ryan Curran.
Referee: Padraigh Sutton (Clare).Tags: