Finn Harps opened their League of Ireland U-19 Nothern Section campaign with a narrow win over Fanad United on Saturday.
Finn Harps 1
Fanad United 0
It was a close run thing as it appeared as though the contest would be petering out in a scoreless draw until Cathal McDaid’s winner.
The award of the penalty certainly irked the visitors, who felt as though referee Vincent McLoughlin was too quick to blow a foul by Gerard Patton on McDaid.
Substitute Patton was only on the field three minutes at that point and it was easy to hold an element of sympathy for Fanad in the way they lost the match.
McDaid dusted himself down and drove past Sean Daffon in the Fanad goal.
Moments after the goal, Fanad had a penalty call themselves when Daire McDaid went down in the box but McLoughlin was perhaps right not to balance the books.
Before those late talking points, there were few. Both sides set themselves up in a reasonably solid fashion with the priority not to give much away. It’s a commonly used practice for many a team on the opening day of the season.
Fanad’s McDaid’s fizzing shot went just over Shaun Patton’s crossbar in a quiet first half, while Harps could’ve went ahead when Dylan Quinn was unmarked at the back post but headed Cathal McDaid’s corner wide.
It was Harps’ first match since in the Northern Section since topping the division the season before last. Tommy Canning took charge for the first time , while Ollie Horgan was the Fanad manager.
After the break, there were scant few openings. Dean McConnell, the Harps striker, drew a routine save from Daffon.
Fanad had a double chance when McDaid’s shot was saved by Patton and then Oisin Hasset’s follow-up was blocked off in a crowded penalty area.
Finn Harps: Shaun Patton; Adrian Kenny, Dylan Quinn, Jonathan Carlin, Cathal McDaid; Peter McGlynn, Patrick Diver, Christopher Flanagan, Joe McIntyre; Darragh Black, Dean McConnell (Adam Molyneux 60)
Fanad United: Sean Daffon; Oisin Shiels (Gerard Patton 83), Glenn McNulty, Kevin Murray, Daire, McDaid; Conor Matthewson (Ronan Sweeney 75), James McCahill, Oisin Hassett, Jordan McBride (Michael Patton 62); Aidan Sweeney, David Edwards.
Referee: Vincent McLoughlin.