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FAI Cup exit for Harps

Shamrock Rovers 1-0 Finn Harps

A 22nd minute Dan Carr goal proved enough for Shamrock Rovers to get the better of Finn Harps on Friday night at the Tallaght Stadium to secure the Hoops a place in the second round of the Extra.ie FAI Senior Cup. The hosts, who had defeated Harps three times in the league, were the better side and deserved their victory. Ollie Horgan’s men went into the game as clear underdogs and the manager will have at least been pleased that his side managed to keep their high flying opponents to just the one goal on the night.

MATCH REPORT BY DECLAN KERR, FINN HARPS MEDIA OFFICER

Harps, who had conceded seven goals in the previous three meetings this season with the Hoops, gave a debut to new central defender Josh Smith as the visitors setup defensively to try and frustrate Stephen Bradley’s star studded outfit. Ollie Horgan had no complaints with the final score, despite his side making a big push in the final 10 minutes to get an equaliser.

“It was disappointing to concede the goal relatively early in the game and that was always going to be difficult for us to go chasing the game against a team of the calibre of Shamrock Rovers. To be fair the lads didn’t concede a second and that gave us a chance late in the game. We did pin them back in the final ten minutes and had a couple of chances to get an equaliser and there were a couple of penalty calls as well. In saying that they could have been ahead before Dan Carr got that goal. And then in the second half Aaron Greene had two one-on-ones that would have ended the game as a contest. But, maybe you make your on luck and we were still in the game right up to the end. Moral victories are no good to us. Our focus now is on a hugely difficult game away to the top team in the country, Dundalk next Friday night. The important thing for us is to stay grounded. A month ago some people thought it was the end of the road when we lost in the league to UCD at Belfield. The results have improved since but there will be twists and turns between now and the end of the season and we have a huge amount of work to do yet to be with a chance of staying in the Premier Division” Horgan said.

Republic of Ireland senior international Graham Burke who just re-signed on loan for the Hoops last week, had two chances to open the scoring early on while a Ronan Finn effort came back off the crossbar. The closest Harps came was when Raff Cretaro shot wide. The hosts deservedly broke the deadlock on 22 minutes thanks to a fine Carr finish after Ronan Finn provided the assist.

The visitors had to thank Mark Anthony McGinley for a couple of excellent stops to deny Finn.  After the break Cretato and Harry Ascroft both had shots charged down. Sub Nathan Boyle had Harps best equalising chance but keeper Alan Mannus was equal to the Derry man’s attempt. Hoops sub Aaron Greene should have ended the game as a contest. The striker had two one-on-ones in quick succession with McGinley saving his first shot while the second effort went over the crossbar.

Shamrock Rovers - Alan Mannus; Ethan Boyle (Aaron Greene 46), Roberto Lopes, Lee Grace, Sean Kavanagh; Gary O’Neill, Aaron McEneff, Sam Byrne; Ronan Finn, Dan Carr (Graham Cummins 84), Graham Burke (Dylan Watts 65).

Finn Harps - Mark Anthony McGinley; Daniel O’Reilly, Colm Deasy, Josh Smith, Sam Todd, Mark Russell; Gareth Harkin, Harry Ascroft, Ruairi Harkin (Tony McNamee 80); Mark Timlin (Nathan Boyle 70), Raffaele Cretaro (Place 80). Not used: Peter Burke (Gk), Jacob Borg, Liam Walsh, Shaun Doherty.

Ref: Paul Tuite (Dublin).