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Harps draw some comfort in Cork

Cork City 1-1 Finn Harps

Keith Cowan’s 76th minute goal secured Finn Harps a valuable point against Cork City on Monday night at Turners Cross. While, Ollie Horgan’s side remain bottom of the Premier Division table, the draws against Sligo Rovers and Cork now sets them up for a huge match against second from bottom UCD this Friday night at Finn Park (kick-off 8.00). A Harps win would see them close the gap on the Students to just three points.

On Monday night captain Cowan’s equaliser was his second goal of the season after the veteran defender also scored in the 1-1 draw against Dundalk in Ballybofey back in February. Struggling Cork had taken the lead thanks to a free kick from Kevin O’Connor at the beginning of the second half. John Caufield’s men were on top in the early stages and the visitors were fortunate not to have conceded during this spell of dominance from the Leesiders. Experienced front man Karl Sheppard should have tested Peter Burke but instead short narrowly wide.

Then in the 11th minute, Sheppard missed another gilt edged chance before Horgan’s outfit edged their way into the contest. A Mark Russell free kick went just over Mark McNulty’s crossbar while Sean Boyd should have done better with a header from Jacob Borg’s cross. At the other end Burke produced a super save to tip a Graham Cummins’ dipping header away for a corner. Harps survived a nervous ending to the half as Cummins’ was again denied by Burke and there was relief when Sheppard skied the rebound over the bar.

Cork did take the lead at the start of the second half when Kevin O’Connor’s free kick arrowed into the top right corner of the net. Harps, weren’t rattled and took the game to the hosts as McNulty was forced into a save from Niall Logue’s header following a Caolan McAleer free-kick. Michael Gallagher, making his first Premier League start, then delivered a fine cross that saw Jacob Borg’s header agonisingly come back off a post.

Finn Harps equalised on 76 minutes from a short corner which was played to sub Tony McNamee whose cross was hammered into the roof of the net by Cowan. Conor McCarthy did come close to a winner for Cork late on but Ollie Horgan’s side deservedly held out for the draw ahead of the long journey back to Donegal with the players only getting home 4 a.m.

Cork City - Mark McNulty; Colm Horgan (Alan Bennett 75 mins mins), Sean McLoughlin, Conor McCarthy, Shane Griffin; Kevin O’Connor (Daire O’Connor 70 mins),  Garry Buckley, Karl Sheppard, James Tilley, Pierce Philips (Darragh Rainsford 79 mins), Graham Cummins. Finn Harps - Peter Burke, Michael Gallagher, Keith Cowan, Sam Todd, Niall Logue, Mark Russell; Caolan McAleer (Raff Cretaro 73 mins), Jacob Borg (Tony McNamee 73 mins), Mark Coyle; Nathan Boyle (Harry Ascroft 88 mins)  Sean Boyd. Not used: Joe Boyle (Gk), Stephen Doherty, Liam Walsh, Mikey Place.

Referee: Robert Hennessy.