Finn Harps 0-1 Shamrock Rovers
A super 85th minute strike from Greg Bolger saw Shamrock Rovers secure a win over Finn Harps in Ballybofey on Friday night that puts the Hoops seven points clear at the top of the League of Ireland Premier Division. For all their endeavour Harps ended up with nothing from the game which Assistant-Manager Paul Hegarty said afterwards was hard on the players who had given it their all. Ollie Horgan and Paul Hegarty now turn their attention to getting the team ready for the game against Waterford at the RSC next Friday night as the battle continues to record a first victory in the 2019 campaign.
Harps started brightly and came close to taking an early lead when Sam Todd’s glancing header went inches wide from a Caolan McAleer free. Then on 19 minutes McAleer took advantage of a defensive slip and tried to lob an advanced Allan Mannus but his effort just went the wrong side of the upright. The hosts would have been happy with the way they defended with Ciaran Gallagher really only being seriously tested once in the first half. That came when the Harps keeper had to turn a Dylan Watts strike away. Watts also shot over the bar before the break.
Gallagher did have let-off when he dropped a cross but Keith Cowan was on hand to clear the danger. Just before the game’s only arrived the home side had a great chance to take the lead themselves with the visitors defence stretched but Nathan Boyle delayed a pass to McAleer allowing the danger to be averted. The Hoops winner came with five minutes of normal time remaining. Harps just couldn’t get the ball away and it fell to Bolger who unleashed a super strike from the edge of the penalty area that gave Gallagher no chance.
Finn Harps - Ciaran Gallagher; Colm Deasy, Niall Logue, Keith Cowan, Sam Todd, Daniel O’Reilly; Mark Coyle, Jacob Borg (Raffaele Cretaro 69 mins), John Kavanagh; Caolan McAleer; Nathan Boyle (Mikey Place 82 mins). Not used: Peter Burke (Gk), Tony McNamee, Mark Russell, Liam Walsh.
Shamrock Rovers - Alan Mannus; Joey O’Brien, Lee Grace, Roberto Lopes, Sean Kavanagh; Greg Bolger; Dan Carr (Orhan Vojic 75), Aaron McEneff (Joel Coustrain 65), Ronan Finn, Dylan Watts; Aaron Greene (Sam Bone 87).
Ref: Derek Tomney.