Finn Harps 1 - 0 Longford TownSat, Oct 13 2012
Finn Harps’ season concluded with a confidence building 1-0 win against promotion-chasing Longford Town at Finn Park on Saturday night.
Kevin McHugh scored the only goal of the game 17 minutes from time when he stubbed home a shot after a pull-back from James Doherty, who was set free down the right by Michael Funston
On a cold night, the result and some of the form shown by the Ballybofey side towards the season’s end will bring certain warmth. However, the 428 attendees saw Doherty dismissed on 82 minutes for picking up a second caution, which was given for diving over the challenge of Craig Walsh.
In a tepid first half, the closest either party came to scoring was when Doherty’s back pass almost deceived Ciaran Gallagher. The Harps goalkeeper scampered back, only to see the ball strike the base of the post before he managed to smother, doing well to make sure his momentum didn’t take him over the goal line.
Gallagher, two minutes before the interval, made the first real save of note in the first half when he got behind an Alan Kirby shot, after the forward had been set away by Darragh Reynor.
Craig Hyland in the Longford goal largely cut an isolated figure, although he was indebted to Alex Kenny for clearing the danger underneath the crossbar when Doherty’s centre was a taxing one. Other than that, McHugh swerved one marginally high and wide.
The side managed by Peter Hutton went into their final fixture with their fifth place finish in the table already cemented, while Tony Cousins’ visitors will play-off with Waterford United in a bid to face Dundalk for a Premier Division spot.
Both teams went into the fixture on the back of successive defeats. For Harps, those losses brought to an end a run of 10 matches two unbeaten and for the Longford, the reversals were a source of worry ahead of the play-offs.
The second half was equally pedestrian with Gallagher easily plucking a Tony Griffiths free-kick and the match appeared to be petering towards a draw, only for McHugh, as he has done so often before, to show his predatory instincts once more.
Ten minutes from time, and now free from their slumber, Harps came close to adding a second when Shaun McGowan, after a cross from Ciaran Coll on the left, forced Hyland to tip over the crossbar. Griffiths went close to a late equaliser two minutes before the end but his fizzing drive was blocked bravely by Thomas McMonagle.
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; James Doherty, Keith Cowan, Thomas McMonagle, Ciaran Coll; Michael Funston, Shaun McGowan, Thomas McBride (Matt Harkin 74), Cathal McDaid (Gary Merritt 61); Paul McVeigh (Thomas Bonner 87), Kevin McHugh.
Subs not used: Shaun Patton, Adam Clarke, Jordan Duffy, Peter Doherty.
Booked: Coll (33), Cowan (42), Doherty (73).
Sent Off: Doherty (83).
Longford Town: Craig Hyland; Noel Haverty (Aaron Brilly 76), Craig Walsh, Chris Deans, Gary Cronin (Austin Skelly 61); Alan Kirby, Robert Bayly, Mark Salmon, Darragh Reynor; Alex Kenny (Brian McNamara 85), Tony Griffiths.
Subs not used: Paul Hunt, Thomas Crawley, Dean Cosgrave.
Booked: Cronin (42).
Referee: Ray Matthews.