Finn Harps may have returned to the top of the First Division with this win on Friday night, but Ollie Horgan insists there’s room for improvement.
Finn Harps 2
Cobh Ramblers 0
The Harps manager watched his team grind out a much needed victory over Cobh Ramblers at Finn Park.
But he warned that Harps will need to better their performances in the weeks ahead if they are to maintain their push for league honours.
“I think the 2-0 scoreline might have flattered us a bit with that goal in injury time at the end,” he said.
“We ran our luck at times. Ciaran Gallagher kept us in the game with a penalty save before half time.
“We weren’t particularly at our best and we haven’t been at our best in recent weeks. But we’re getting results and that’s really all that matters at the moment.”
“We grinded out a victory. I don’t think it was pretty.
“We need to kick on from this. We need to improve. We have UCD on Sunday week, should they go out of the Europa League on Thursday.
“We need to improve to stay with the likes of Wexford, UCD and Shelbourne. They have all improved. While our results have improved – which is the main thing – our performances are still lacking.”
What perhaps frustrated the manager most was the fact that his team had bossed this game in the early stages and in truth, Cobh never looked like troubling his team.
But with Harps leading 1-0 and looking very comfortable as half time approached, they hit the self-destruct button when Damien McNulty conceded a needless penalty following a clumsy tackle on Kynan Rocks.
Thankfully for Harps, Ciaran Gallagher was equal to Stephen Kenny’s spot-kick - diving to his left to not only save, but hold on to Kenny’s firmly hit penalty.
It was the game’s key moment and it ensured that Harps would lead at the break.
They’d opened the scoring on 29 minutes when Packie Mailey, back in the side for the absent Keith Cowan, headed home from close in after Tony McNamee’s long-throw into the area.
Tommy McMonagle should have added a second when he headed over soon after as Harps continued to press.
Worryingly however, the home side were unable to kick on in the second half and while they continued to enjoy most of the possession, they lacked a bit of creativity and that killer pass when it was needed.
The longer the game stayed at 1-0, the more Cobh began to believe that they could perhaps take something from this game.
Rocks was a constant menace coming forward and captain, Shane O’Connor also caught the eye. Harps weren’t exactly solid at the back, but they kept Cobh out for the most part and the most Gallagher had to deal with was a handful of long range efforts.
If anything it was Harps who looked the most likely to score a second with Nathan Boyle, Kevin McHugh and substitute Raymond Foy all having good efforts on goal.
Cobh defender Brendan Frahill was shown a red card for a two-footed lunge on substitute, Wilfried Tagbo, before eventually, the all-important second arrived three minutes into injury time .
Foy’s pass slipped in McHugh and while the striker’s shot was parried by keeper, Stephen Hickey, Tagbo, was on hand to score.
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher, Damien McNulty, Ciaran Coll, Packie Mailey, Tommy McMonagle, Tony McNamee, Michael Funston (Kieran McDaid 81), Josh Mailey (Raymond Foy 58), Nathan Boyle (Wilfried Tagbo 74), Kevin McHugh, Gareth Harkin.
Cobh Ramblers: S. Hickey, G. McCarthy, A. O’Donnell, B. Frahill, J. Fulong, J. Abbot, S. Kenny, C. McCarthy, D. Murphy, S. O’Connor, K. Rocks.
Referee: Adriano Reale.