Finn Harps consolidated their position at the top of the northern section of the Airtricity U-19 League but were denied the three points yesterday afternoon against Sligo Rovers because of a Donegal man.
Finn Harps 1
Sligo Rovers 1
Liam Martin, from Drimarone outside of Donegal Town, already has an FAI Cup winners’ medal for the seniors having been a substitute for the first team in November at the Aviva Stadium against St Patrick’s Athletic. And yesterday at the Finn Valley Centre in Stranorlar the IT Sligo student levelled matters 17 minutes into the second half when he tucked past Sean Patton from six yards after a centre from Colm Feeney.
Harps opened the scoring with a well-taken goal from Ryan Longeran. The midfielder joined the attack and after a neat build up the ball came back to him and he lifted it over Adam Murphy in the Sligo goal. Only five minutes had been played but Harps failed to build on that early advantage in a first half of few chances. As a result, Harps were punished when Martin levelled.
Martin enjoys the journeys to his home county as he was the scorer of a hat-trick in the first game of the season, against Harps at Finn Park in a 3-0 Rovers win. However, Sean McGowan’s side have considerably changed their fortunes since then, winning 3-0 away in Sligo and Dean McConnell’s last minute winner against Derry City a fortnight ago put them top of the table.
With that in mind, Harps pushed for a winner and substitute Shane McGinty’s dangerous ball hand to be hooked away from underneath his own crossbar by Jack Selby. Then, after McGinty played in Jordan Duffy, Murphy saved well. The Rovers goalkeeper had then to be brave to smother the danger at the feet of Ryan Curran.
While Harps had the majority of the late opportunities, they were served a warning when Hayden Cawley was completely unchallenged from a corner by David Brick, only to head wide, while Harps last chance of the day came when Gary Merritt tried to sneak a shot in at the near post only for Murphy to be alive to the situation and turn it around the post.
Finn Harps: Sean Patton; Calvin Bradley, Ryan Shields, Hugh McFadden, Peter Doherty; Dean McConnell, Ryan Curran, Ryan Longeran, Cathal McDaid (Shane McGinty 52); Jordan Duffy, Gary Merritt.
Sligo Rovers: Adam Murphy; Colm Callinan (David Brick 68), Jake Dykes, Ben McGarry, Jack Selby; Dylan Feeney, Colm Feeney, Hayden Cawley (Ben Spellman 82), Cian Brennan (James Donnelly 78); Liam Martin, Carlos Cascallinna.
Referee: Stephen Toner.