SD Galway 2 - 0 Finn HarpsSun, Oct 07 2012
SD Galway maintained their strong finish to the season with a 2-0 win over Finn Harps in their final home game of the campaign at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday night.
Brian Gaffney gave the hosts a half-time lead before Enda Curran grabbed his third goal in two games ten minutes from time to hand Tony Mannion’s side their second win on the bounce.
Conversely, it was the second time in a week Harps tasted defeat following their 2-1 reversal at the hands of Waterford United at Finn Park last Saturday and, following Wexford’s win over Athlone, Peter Hutton’s side are now all but certain to finish fifth in the First Division standings.
The result is sure to come as something of a blow to the manager who had targeted a fourth place finish as a vindication for all the hard work they had put into their ten-game unbeaten run in recent weeks.
Experienced campaigner Shaun McGowan was re-instated to the Harps midfield in place of Tommy Bonnar as the visitors made three changes to the side that lost weekend. Two of those were enforced, with Matt Harkin and Ciaran Coll missing out through suspension, being replaced by Adam Clarke and Paul McVeigh.
Harps, who appeared to outnumber the home support on a ratio of 5:1, got off to a positive start and McVeigh showed his attacking intent with an effort in the opening ten minutes which drifted narrowly wide.
The home side eventually came out of their shell after twenty minutes and Jakub Tomanica and Colm Horgan both fired off target for the basement boys, who suffered three defeats in their three previous meetings with their counterparts from Donegal this season.
Curran, who scored twice in the 2-1 win at Longford Town last week, then went on a mazy run, dribbling past three would-be Harps defenders, before being denied by goalkeeper Ciaran Gallagher.
The home side’s endeavour was then rewarded when Gaffney broke the deadlock ten minutes from time and the forward almost doubled his side’s lead with a thunderbolt moments later, only for it be hooked clear off the line.
The home side continued to dominate the closing stages of the first half as Tomanica also had an effort blocked on the line as Harps scrambled to the break with a one-goal deficit.
The visitors were forced into an early change at the start of the second half as Gary Merritt, who has missed the last number of games because of a groin strain, was called into the action in place of the injured Adam Clarke.
Undeterred, the Finn Park outfit almost restored parity seven minutes after the restart only for Keith Cowan’s looping header to come off the top of the crossbar and away to safety.
Hutton’s side continued to press hard in search of the equaliser but were perennially thwarted by a stubborn Galway rearguard, marshalled fantastically by custodian James Keane.
The home goalkeeper pulled off save after save to keep his side’s narrow lead intact, with Merritt denied a leveller eleven minutes from time after cutting in off the flank.
And the hosts doubled their lead and made the points safe when Curran fired beyond Gallagher seven minutes from time as Harps slumped to a second defeat in a row.
SD Galway: James Keane; Colm Horgan, Brian Geraghty, Cian Fadden, Nicky Curran (Eugene Greaney 59); Mike Harty, Willie Enubele, Enda Curran; Jakub Tomanica, Brian Gaffney, Gerry Dolan (Ronan Conlon 72).
Subs not used: Cormac Rafferty, Jason Murphy, David Meehan.
Booked: E Curran (27), Geraghty (27), Enubele (90).
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; James Doherty, Aaron O’Hagan, Keith Cowan, Thomas McMonagle; Michael Funston (Thomas Bonner 88), Thomas McBride (Jordan Duffy 88), Shaun McGowan, Adam Clarke (Gary Merritt 47); Paul McVeigh, Kevin McHugh.
Subs not used: Ryan Curran.
Referee: Kevin O’Regan.