Paul McVeigh scored his first senior goals as Harps got the better of Mervue United in an entertaining clash at Finn Park last night.
Finn Harps 3
Mervue United 2
Report: Diarmaid Doherty
Photos: Conor McGonagle
The former Fanad United player was the Harps hero - but his team made hard work of it in the end, having thrown away a two goal lead before McVeigh’s headed winner midway through the second half.
It was a welcome win for the Donegal side who had won just once in their previous nine league games. Mind you, their preparations for this game weren’t helped by the news that international clearance failed to arrive in time for Mark Scoltock and Michael Funston – the two new signings who were both expected to start last night.
But their absence didn’t seem to affect Peter Hutton’s side who bossed the game in the opening stages and were in front after only nine mwinutes.
Gary Merritt, who had a super game on the left flank, delivered a telling cross which found Kevin McHugh unmarked at the back post and the Harps captain fired the ball into the bottom corner past keeper, Conor Gleeson.
From their first attack two minutes later, Mervue almost drew level but Shane Keogh’s sublime long range strike rocketed back off a post.
Harps played some delightful football in the first half and Merritt and Adam Clarke were creating plenty of options out wide. But it was McHugh who set up the second on 29 minutes, stealing possession from a defender and combining intelligently with McVeigh who produced a wonderful finish from close range. It was the Fanad man’s first senior goal and one he will no doubt cherish.
Mervue had their moments in an entertaining first half and they also produced some good passages of play. They dragged themselves back into the game three minutes before half time when Alan Murphy punished Ciaran Gallagher’s mistimed punch to stroke the loose ball into the empty net.
If the Harps boss was angry at the manner of that goal, he was fuming at the decision which led to Mervue’s second. Just three minutes after the restart, match referee, Rhona Daly chose to award a penalty for what she interpreted as a foul by Keith Cowan on Stephen Walsh. Cowan had volleyed the ball clear but Walsh, in an attempt to head the ball, was caught by Cowan and Ms. Daly punished Cowan by pointing to the spot when at worst, an indirect free kick might have been another option. Murphy beat Gallagher from the spot for his and his team’s second.
The second half failed to deliver anything near the quality of football as the first and neither side looked like scoring a third. That was until Harps won a corner on the left on 67 minutes and Merritt’s perfect delivery to the near post was headed in by McVeigh.
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher, Thomas Bonner, Ciaran Coll, Thomas McMonagle, Keith Cowan, Shaun McGowan, Adam Clarke (Matthew Harkin 75), Aaron O’Hagan, Paul McVeigh, Kevin McHugh, Gary Merritt.
Mervue United: Conor Gleeson, Noel Varley, Marc Ludden, Mike Elwood, Gary Kelly, Jason Molloy, Shane Keogh, Stephen Walsh, Alan Murphy (Jean Biansumpa 79) , Ethan Nkololo (Brian Connolly 85).
Referee: Ms. Rhona Daly.