Boyle brace gives Harps a lift

Finn Harps 2-0 Sligo Rovers

Two goals from striker Nathan Boyle helped Finn Harps to a a very welcome win over Sligo Rovers in Ballybofey on Friday night. The result lifts Ollie Horgan’s side of the the bottom of the League of Ireland Premier Division and three points above UCD who lost to St. Patrick’s Athletic on Friday night. However, the Students do have three games in hand.

Photos and report by Declan Kerr

On Friday night the hosts had to thank goalkeeper Mark Anthony McGinley for a fine early save as he clawed away a well struck Sam Warde free-kick. After that Harps had the lions share of the first half possession. Daniel O’Reilly twice had efforts blocked following a corner before the home side should have went in front on seven minutes. The lively Raffaele Cretaro got in a pinpoint cross from the left but the unmarked Nathan Boyle’s header came back off the crossbar from only six yards when the he really should have scored at the Town End.

Kenny Harkin, on behalf of Match Sponsor Arena 7 Letterkenny presenting the cheque to first team player Niall Logue

Harps thought they had taken the lead on 13 minutes when the industrious Cretaro won possession just inside the opposition half and the ex-Sligo man took a couple of steps forward before unleashing a powerful shot that went through the hands of keeper Ed McGinty who made a desperate effort to redeem himself by reaching back to get his hands on a ball  that had clearly crossed the line. However, after looking to the linesman, referee Tomas Connolly waved play on.

The home side deservedly took the lead on 28 minutes when Cretaro laid the ball of to Mark Russell and his cross from the left was swept home low past McGinty by Boyle coming in at the back post.  Liam Buckley’s outfit did have two decent openings to draw level either side of half-time. Sam Warde shot just wide of McGinley’s on 38 minutes and then just after the break David Cawley should have tested McGinley after a good move but instead the experienced midfielder dragged his attempt just the wrong side of the upright.

The Harps Girls team that emerged as plate winners at the Antrim Rovers Summer Football Festival

Kris Twardek headed a Cawley corner over the bar midway through the second half before the home side effectively sealed the three points in the 78th minute. Harps doggedly won possession in midfield, allowing the industrious Cretaro to run at the Sligo defence. The veteran attacker then timed a perfect pass to Boyle who squeezed the ball past McGinty at the river end goal. Boyle almost had a hat-trick but his shot was cleared almost off the line at the expense of a corner. And substitute Tony McNamee did have the ball in the back of the net but he was deemed to have been in an off-side position by the referee’s assistant. Harps are back in action on this Monday night at Finn Park where Cork City will provide the opposition for Horgan’s men.

Finn Harps - Mark Anthony McGinley; Daniel O'Reilly, Keith Cowan, Sam Todd; Jacob Borg, Mark Russell; Mark Coyle, Gareth Harkin; Raff Cretaro (Tony McNamee 83 mins), Caolan McAleer (Harry Ascroft 73 mins); Nathan Boyle (Mikey Place 88 mins). Not used; Peter Burke (Gk), Colm Deasy, Sean Boyd, Mark Timlin.  

Sligo Rovers - Ed McGinty; Johnny Dunleavy, John Mahon, Dante Leverock, Lewis Banks; Kyle Callan-McFadden (John Russell h-t); Sam Warde; David Cawley (Jack Keaney 71 mins), Kris Twardek; Ronan Murray, Romeo Parkes.

Ref:Tomas Connolly.

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