FINN HARPS’ hopes of claiming the SSE Airtricity League First Division live on – while a play-off spot is almost in the bag – as they defeated Cobh Ramblers by a solitary goal tonight in St Colman’s Park.
Cobh Ramblers 0-1 Finn Harps
Report by Stephen Walsh
Harps came into this game knowing that since Wexford Youths had defeated UCD 2-1 last night in Belfield Bowl that nothing less than a win was going to keep them in the hunt for league honours thanks to Tony McNamee’s goal.
It means that Ollie Horgan’s team need just one point to guarantee a top three finish.
This was never going to be an easy task as they had to rely on a late Raymond Foy goal to get the three pints winning 3-2 on May 16.
Either side of that game they had two home victories over the Cork side, 2-0 back in April when Cobh had no manager and then in July 2-1 over the same opposition.
Harps came into the game minus Keith Cowan, Thomas McMonagle and Foy through suspension while the home side were also minus Stephen Kenny and Kevin Mulcahy through suspension.
Cobh had the better opportunities during the opening 10 minutes with Shane O’Connor and Ryan Goldsmith both seeing shots blocked by the Harps rearguard and gathered by Ciaran Gallagher in the Harps goal.
The visitors to Colman’s Park were hitting a lot of ball up to the energetic front two of Wilfred Tagbo and Kevin McHugh but nothing was sticking in the opening 15 minutes.
Minutes later a nice short corner routine involving McNamee and McHugh lead to McHugh crossing to but the centre half could only head straight at David Browne from six yards.
On 20 minutes McNamee was involved in an incident with Graham McCarthy that required the Harps player to change to a number 22 shirt from his original 11.
As the half progressed nothing was really happening of note in the game save for a half shot from O’Connor for Cobh and McHugh for Harps.
On the stroke of half time with Harps having all the possession and doing most of the attacking lead through both wingers Nathan Boyle and McNamee they could have possible scored when McNamee’s shot from the edge of the box went straight to Browne just missing Tagbo’s outstretched boot.
The second half he was to get it perfect though on 49 minutes, when he received the ball out wide before cutting in and unleashing a powerful drive with his left foot low into the bottom left hand corner of the net to keep the championship race on and prevent Wexford Youths from opening the champagne.
Ciaran Coll tried to double the lead shortly afterwards but his shot went wide of the goal. Harps by now had the majority of the possession in the second half but despite a lot of huffing and puffing from the Harps team they were not to increase the lead in the period of time after the goal.
Seventeen-year-old BJ Banda made his first-team debut in the closing stages.
A moment of note on 66 minutes for the home support was Rob Waters returning to Colman’s Park for his first time since July 13th were he left the club following a 3-0 defeat to Wexford Youths.
Cobh Ramblers: David Browne; Graham McCarthy, James Furlong, Brendan Frahill, Anthony O’Donnell; Stephen Christopher (Christopher McCarthy 79), Jason Abbott, David Curran (Adam O’Sullivan 62), Jacob Buris (Bobbi Donoghue 62); Ryan Goldsmith; Shane O’Connor.
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; Josh Mailey, Packie Mailey, Matt Crossan, Ciaran Coll; Nathan Boyle (Kieran McDaid 88), Gareth Harkin, Michael Funston, Tony McNamee; Kevin McHugh (B. J Banda 94), Wilfred Tagbo (Rob Waters 66).
Referee: Marc Lynch.Tags: