Shelbourne came from 2-0 down at half-time to secure a draw against Finn Harps in the FAI National U19 League this afternoon in Ballybofey.
Finn Harps U19s 2
Shelbourne U-19s 2
Joe Boyle’s side had the better of the first half and deservedly led thanks to goals from Simon McGlynn and Declan Sharkey as well as a penalty save from Harps keeper Lee McCarron. However, a dip in performance was to prove costly after the break as the visitors were back on level terms by the 72nd minute.
Harps did get on top in the closing stages and were most unlucky not to regain the lead with the woodwork saving Shels on two occasions. The hosts best early chance fell to wide midfielder Luke Nelis who saw a strike from the edge of the box pushed away at the expense of a corner. Against the run of play just before the half-hour mark the Dublin outfit were presented with the perfect opportunity to take the lead when referee Tommy Connolly pointed to the penalty spot for a push on Luke Doyle but McCarron got down well to his left to push out Dylan Rooney’s effort and the keeper also blocked from the rebound from Aaron Ralph.
Just after than on 30 minutes Harps took the lead when B.J. Banda’s flick-on released Simon McGlynn who still had a lot to do but the Raphoe man kept his balance and composure to slip the ball beyond the keeper. The impressive McGlynn was denied a second goal by the keeper while at the other end McCarron did brilliantly to block a close range effort from the visitors. The Buncrana lad also saved from a free-kick before Boyle’s side made it 2-0 on 43 mins when Banda took control on the half-way line before moving forward to release Declan Sharkey whose powerful right-foot strike flew into the top of the net.
A poor start to the second half was punished when Rooney latched onto a through ball to steer the ball past McCarron at the second attempt on 49 minutes. The Harps keeper was then forced to tip over a deflected free-kick from the same player. Sharkey had a great chance to make it 2-1 on 70 minutes but his close range effort from an excellent Gareth Doherty cross came back off the woodwork. Shels capitalized on that let-off to draw level just two minutes later when the home defence allowed Ralph to slip onto a David Harper cross. McCarron parried the first attempt but Ralph forced the ball over the line from the rebound.
Harps did go all out in search of a third goal with a sweetly struck Banda shot coming back off the crossbar while Blaney’s free was tipped over by Lyons. A good delivery from sub Paul Ferry forced a corner and with just three minutes of normal time Mark Coyle’s stinging drive was brilliantly pushed around the post by Lyons.
Finn Harps: Tommy Lee McCarron, Mark Coyle, Liam Doherty, Ciaran Kelly, Nathan Clifford Oisin Hassett, Simon McGlynn, Gareth Doherty, B.J. Banda, Declan Sharkey, Luke Nelis. Subs: Shane Blaney for Clifford 53 mins, Paul Ferry for Nelis 59 mins, Ryan Cunningham and Alex Carolan for Doherty and Banda 84 mins, Jeaic McKelvey for McGlynn 90 mins. Subs not used: Keelan McDermott, Anthony O’Hagan (GK).