Finn Harps are back in Premier Division after magnificent 2-0 win in play-off in Limerick

Harps win 3-0 on aggregate

Diarmaid Doherty


Diarmaid Doherty

Finn Harps are back in Premier Division after magnificent 2-0 win in play-off in Limerick

Mark Timlin . . . goal for Harps on stroke of half-time

A goal from Mark Timlin in the first minute of added time at the end of the first half put Finn Harps on their way back to Premier Division football as they ended up 2-0 winners against Limerick at the Market’s Field.

Limerick  . . . . . 0

Finn Harps . . . 2

(Harps won 3-0 on aggregate)

It was a magnificent display from the Finn Park side as they dominated the game. It was probably one of their best performances of the season and what a time to produce it. It was a night to remember and they were able to enjoy it even better when Nathan Boyle added the second on 79 minutes.

Harps arrived in Limerick with a 1-0 advantage following Monday night’s home leg in Ballybofey.

With several players still missing through injury and suspension, Ollie Horgan’s patched-up side showed just one change from the 1st leg. Mark Timlin, who has had his fair share of injury trouble of late, came in for Jesse Devers.

Limerick goalkeeper Tommy Holland who was stretchered off in the second half in Ballybofey on Monday night, was named on the bench with Jack Brady starting in goal. Former Harps striker Danny Morrissey was also included in place of Karl O’Sullivan.

The visitors started brightly but they were dealt an early blow when Paddy McCourt was forced to come off with what appeared a groin injury.

Niall Logue came on in his place and Jacob Borg was pushed up into midfield.

The substitution didn’t really impact on the pattern of the game as the First Division side, with the aid of a strong breeze, continued to play the better football.

Limerick had a half chance when a Cian Coleman header from a corner was headed clear. But within minutes at the other end, Harps should have been in front but after finding room inside the box, Mark Timlin’s left-footed effort came back off the base of the post.

It was a lucky escape for Limerick who try as they might, just couldn’t penetrate the visiting defence in which Keith Cowan and Sam Todd were so commanding.

In contrast, the Limerick backline struggled at times to deal with the Harps runners from deep and that’s exactly what happened as the game entered injury time at the end of the first half. Timlin was able to ghost into the area and receive a pass from Nathan Boyle and he smashed the ball past ‘keeper Brady.

With the strong wind at their backs, Limerick went on all out attack at the start of the second half but the Harps defence stood tall.

Finn Harps had a great chance to add a second just after the hour mark when Nathan Boyle drilled the ball across goal and Mikey Place slid in but somehow managed to put it over the bar.

Sam Todd had a chance from a corner as Harps controlled the game with some very good play.

Limerick did create a chance from a corner and Shane Tracy had a great effort headed out for another corner on 75 minutes but Finn Harps were magnificent in defence.

If there was any doubt about the result, it ended on 79  minutes as John Kavanagh played in Nathan Boyle and he finished in style.

Danny Morrissey clipped the Finn Harps’ crossbar but they never threatened as much as they did on Monday night in the first leg in Ballybofey.

LIMERICK: Jack Brady, Shaun Kelly, Shane Tracy, Killian Cantwell, Killian Brouder, Cian Coleman, Billy Dennehy, Shane Duggan, Conor Ellis (William Fitzgerald 57), Barry Maguire (Darren Murphy 57), Danny Morrissey.

FINN HARPS: Peter Burke, John Kavanagh, Ciaran Coll, Keith Cowan, Sam Todd, Jacob Borg, Gareth Harkin,  Paddy McCourt (Niall Logue 15), Mikey Place, Nathan Boyle (John O’Flynn 88), Mark Timlin (Jesse Devers 82).

REFEREE: Graham Kelly.