Finn Harps got the result they needed to win the Dr Tony O’Neil U-19 Championship Northern Section against Longford Town at Finn Park on Sunday.
Finn Harps 2
Longford Town 0
A nervy affair saw Sean McGowan’s team overcome the side rooted to the bottom of the table thanks to Ryan Shields’ 56th minute goal and a late Shane McGinty free.
Shields joined the attack and following a cross from the right from Dean McConnell, Longford goalkeeper Conor Devlin punched the ball off the Harps midfielder and it flew into the empty net.
The second arrived in stoppage time when Shane McGinty’s free from the edge of the box deflected in off the defensive wall. The first half was an uneventful affair with very little in the form of goalmouth action.
In fact it took all of 41 minutes for a shot on goal and when it arrived, Ryan Lonergan warmed the hands of Devlin when shooting straight at the Longford goalkeeper. The visitors had little in the form of goalscoring opportunities but from one decent forage before the interval created the best chance of the half.
Dean Cosgrove chested down a diagonal pass from Pauric Gallagher to get in on goal and Shaun Patton in the hosts’ goal was a touch reluctant to come from his line. However the Harps goalkeeper, aided by central defender Hugh McFadden, did enough to clear the danger.
Beforehand the only real half-chances came from crosses by Harps winger Cathal McDaid. Firstly McFadden stretched to head straight at Devlin and then Martin Redmond’s header was off target.
Harps improved in the second half and Devlin was on hand to save from Jordan Duffy inside of three minutes at his near post. Redmond and McGinty were involved in the build up.
Then, three minutes later, McGinty broke the offside trap following a pass by McConnell but Devlin came from his line to block.
After getting the breakthrough, McGinty drew a good stop from Devlin after a Shields pullback.
Longford’s attacks were few and far between but the fact their deficit was the minimum was still a cause for concern for the home team.
Substitute Rory Dunleavy almost laid on the second six minutes from time. Longford dallied in clearing and Duffy’s smash as goal was saved once more by Devlin. Although the visiting goalkeeper was culpable for the opening goal, he made a string of fine stops - most notably from Ryan Curran as his shot was touched onto the angle of post and crossbar.
However, moments later Devlin was beaten as Harps and McGinty put the cherry on their title win.
Finn Harps: Shaun Patton; Martin Redmond, Hugh McFadden, Calvin Bradley, Stephen Rodden; Dean McConnell (Rory Dunleavy 79, Peter Doherty 90) Ryan Shields, Ryan Lonergan (Ryan Curran 65), Cathal McDaid; Jordan Duffy, Shane McGinty.
Longford Town: Conor Devlin; Sean Flannery, Shane O’Connell, Effen Siode, Cillian Glackin; Pauric Gallagher, Ciaran Fagan, Dean Cosgrove, Darren Curley (Tommy Cooney 70), Paddy Cheevers, Leo Grevgo.
Referee: Packie Coll.