Finn Harps 3-4 Cork City
Finn Harps fell to a third successive defeat after a remarkable seven-goal thriller against Cork City in Ballybofey on Friday night. Harps led twice through Caolan McAleer and Mark Coyle in the first half but it was all square at the break as Conor McCarthy and Gearoid Morrissey found the back the net for the visitors. Morrissey’s super equaliser just before the interval was a key moment in the game as it gave John Caufield’s a momentum that saw them go 4-2 in front by the 69th minute. However, Ollie Horgan’s men didn’t throw in the towel and Raffaele Cretaro with his debut goal gave the hosts a lifeline with ten minutes of normal time remaining.
After going down against both Sligo Rovers and Shamrock Rovers on Monday night, Harps will be heartened by the performance on a heavy Finn Park pitch that was deemed playable following an inspection in the early afternoon. But as Horgan has said before ‘Moral Victories’ are of no use in this relentless series of Premier Division games.
Harps took the lead in the second minutes when McAleer raced clear to shoot past Mark McNulty with clinical precision.
McNulty was then tested by a Mark Coyle effort before the Leesider’s got back on level terms. Left-back Shane Griffin’s corner wasn’t dealt with the home defence allowing Conor McCarthy to head past Ciaran Gallagher who was making his first league appearance of the new season.
In an eventual first half, in sticky underfoot conditions, Horgan’s outfit regained the lead on 38 minutes when Mark Coyle popped up to head a McAleer cross into the bottom corner of the net.
But the Rebels roared back before the break as Morrissey racked up another contender for goal of the season.
Again from a corner, Harps were unable to clear their lines as the ball landed to Morrissey at the edge of the box.
With his back to goal, the former Irish underage international took one touch on his knee to control the ball, before spinning and unleashing a sumptuous volley which sailed over the helpless Gallagher.
The midfielder was at it again 12 minutes into the second half as Cork hit the lead for the first time.
Having bossed a Harps man off the ball 25 yards from the target, Morrissey blasted his thunderous drive straight into the top corner from the angle for a stunning brace.
The visitors extended their lead further on 69 as they tightened their grip on the tie.
Substitute Cummins rising highest to nod Griffin’s corner beyond Gallagher.
But a defiant Harps wouldn’t allow their opponents relax.
Cretaro pulling them back to within a goal with nine minutes to go when he found the inside of the post with McNulty caught stationary.
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; Jacob Borg, Keith Cowan, Sam Todd; Colm Deasy (Tony McNamee 73), Daniel O’Reilly; Mark Coyle, Raff Cretaro, Harry Ascroft; Caolan McAleer; Sean Boyd (Nathan Boyle 63).
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Colm Horgan, Dan Casey, Conor McCarthy, Shane Griffin; Gearoid Morrissey, Conor McCormack; Garry Buckley; Karl Sheppard (Gary Comerford 93), Dan Smith (Graham Cummins HT), Daire O’Connor (Darragh Rainsford 79).
Referee: Damien McGraith.