Finn Harps player-boss Peter Hutton said his team had only themselves to blame after losing out to Cork City at Finn Park on Saturday night.
Finn Harps 0
Cork City 2
Hutton said the defeat was a reality check for Harps who conceded twice in the space of six second half minutes - the home side punished on each occasion after giving away possession. “I think it was a harsh lesson learn for ourselves, “ Hutton said. “I thought, particularly in the second half, we were fairly comfortable but then we hit ourselves with two sucker punches in conceding possession in our own half.
“It’s a reality check. We actually defeated ourselves tonight, by going back to old habits. We have to learn from that and move on. But we are trying to encourage the players to play. We want them to get on the ball and to express themselves but to do so in the right areas and in more advanced positions.
“Tonight though we got caught. We conceded possession too softly in dangerous areas.” Hutton was quick to admit that Cork had the better chances - especially in the first half during which they also missed an early penalty.
“If you’re handed a penalty you’d obviously like to think you’d take it. In saying that, the centre forward has admitted to our keeper and our defender that he wasn’t touched. So we thought the penalty was very harsh and we thought justice was done when he missed it.
“Yeh, we rode our luck in the first half a wee bit but in the second half we came out and did very well. We dominated without creating an awful lot but then we were the cause of our own undoing.” The penalty miss came on 17 minutes - Graham Cummins’ effort crashing off the inside of the post and away to safety after Ciaran Gallagher’s mis-timed challenge on Vinny Sullivan.
Five minutes later, Davin O’Neill was denied the opener when he rose well at the back post to meet a corner only for Mark Forker to scramble the ball off the line. Then right on the stroke of half time, O’Neill shot wastefully over after being set up by Sullivan who showed great awareness to pounce on a sloppy back pass from Aaron O’Hagan.
City were fortunate not to concede themselves shortly after half time. Blaine Curtis, who gave another quality performance in attack, twice went close only to be denied each time by keeper McNulty. But after losing Marc Brolly to injury, Harps lost their way a bit and Cork struck twice in quick succession. Midfielder Shane Duggan opened the scoring on 66 minutes with a cool finish after being set up by Cummins. And after Paddy McLauglin’s loose pass on half-way, Duggan curled home the second on 72 to complete the win.
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher, Paddy McLaughlin (Gary Merritt 78), Ciaran Coll, Keith Cowan, Aaran O’Hagan, Tommy Bonner, Mark Forker, Aaron McElwee, Kevin McHugh, Blaine Curtis, Marc Brolly (Gareth Harkin 51).
Cork City: Mark McNulty, Neil Horgan, Danny Murphy, Stephen Mulcahy, Kalen Spillane, Greg O’Halloran, Geroid Morrissey (Ian Turner 92), Shane Duggan, Graham Cummins, Vinny Sullivan (Vincent Escude-Candau 88), Derek O’Brien (Davin O’Neill 3).
Referee: Phil Caschera.