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Harps slip as Sligo win at Finn Park

Finn Harps 1-2 Sligo Rovers

It was a second defeat in four games for Finn Harps who went down to neighbours Sligo Rovers in Ballybofey on Friday night. Manager Ollie Horgan will have been disappointed with the manner in which the two goals were conceded. The hosts fell behind on 29 minutes when Harps lost possession just on the half-way line allowing Kris Twardek to send Romeo Parkes clear and the big striker nudged the ball around the advancing Peter Burke before steering the ball low to the back of the net at the town end despite the desperate efforts of Keith Cowan.

Main image: JohnTinney, Conor Coyle and Patrick McBride from the Kernan Retail Group who were Match Sponsors for the Finn Harps/Sligo Rovers League of Ireland Premier Division game on Friday night at Finn Park with Harps player Harry Ascroft.

That’s way it stayed until the break but then with Harps needing a decent start to the second half the hosts conceded a second goal after just three minutes. Poor defending on the left side of the home defence let Ronan Murray in for a well struck shot that forced Burke to get down smartly to turn the ball around the post at the expense of a corner. And from that set-piece Twardek got the all important touch to double the visitors advantage.

Caolan McAleer in action

The introduction of former Sligo player Caolan McAleer gave Harps a boost and it was from his corner that Daniel O’Reilly drifted in at the back to head past to head past Mitchell Beeney who was a late replacement for Ballyshannon man Ed McGinty. Injury also prevented Ballybofey’s Johnny Dunleavy from starting for the ‘Bit O’Red’ and the third Donegal man in the Sligo squad Kyle Callan-McFadden from Ramelton was forced off after just 23 minutes after picking up a knock.

MatchBall Sponsor for the Finn Harps/Sligo Rovers League of Ireland Premier Division game on Friday night at Finn Park, James McCabe from Ferm Engineering, Donegal Town with Harps player Harry Ascroft.

Prior to the game a minute’s silence was observed in memory of the mother of Harps player Niall Logue who sadly passed away on Thursday. Horgan had to start without the injured Sam Todd which meant a debut for Mark Russell at left-back with Daniel O’Reilly moving into join Keith Cowan in the heart of the defence.

Both sides came into the game looking for their first wins of the season. Harps started well enough but couldn’t test Beeney. At the other Liam Kerrigan turned inside Jacob Borg but his effort whizzed over Burke’s crossbar. Parkes should have put the visitors ahead on 19 minutes but couldn’t direct his header on goal from a Murray set-piece.

At the other end Harps came close a minute later when Nathan Boyle capitalised on a defensive error but could only hook the ball over the bar with the massive frame of Beeney advancing.

Sligo then took the lead with that Parkes goal and made it 2-0 thanks to Twardek’s early in the second half. Parkes missed a great chance to make it 3-1 from a Murray free-kick on 78 minutes. The hosts did apply plenty of pressure in the closing stages, winning a couple of corners but Sligo were well organised defensively and Beeney apart from a couple of fetches from the set-pieces was not seriously tested.

Finn Harps - Peter Burke; Daniel O’Reilly, Jacob Borg, Keith Cowan; John Kavanagh, Mark Russell (Caolan McAleer 55); Gareth Harkin, Mark Coyle (Niall McGinley 83); Raff Cretaro; Nathan Boyle, Sean Boyd (Mikey Place 79). Not used: Colm Deasy, Tony McNamee, Liam Walsh, Ciaran Gallagher (Gk).

Sligo Rovers - Mitchell Beeney; Niall Morahan, John Mahon, Dante Leverock, Lewis Banks; Jack Keaney (David Cawley 87), Kyle Callan-McFadden (Sam Warde 23); Kris Twardek, Ronan Murray (Daryl Fordyce 93), Liam Kerrigan; Romeo Parkes.

Ref: Derek Tomney