Finn Harps goalkeeper Mark Anthony McGinley beaten by an early strike at the Belfield Bowl
Finn Harps may have been fancied to overcome bottom of the table UCD at the UCD Bowl on Friday night but they produced one of their worst performances of the season as they slumped to what could be a hugely costly defeat.
UCD . . . 1
Finn Harps . . . 0
This result means that the Students close to within one point of the Donegal club, and the Dubliners have three games in hand.
UCD went into this game having lost 11 league games on the spin, and in the past fortnight have effectively seen half their first team regulars leaving.
But they took the lead after just seven minutes with Yoyo Mahdy finding Jason McClelland who fired past Mark McGinley.
Harps’ never really got going and their first chance of note fell to Nathan Boyle on 21 minutes but his shot was saved by the advancing Conor Kearns.
Twice Mahdy went close to doubling the lead. Firstly, he had a goal-bound shot blocked after a fine build-up, and then Madhy forced McGinley to go full stretch to make a fine save after 39 minutes after Harps had lost possession.
Harps finished the half on a stronger note with Raffaele Cretaro being denied by Kearns while Boyle fired across the face of goal and wide.
On 69 minutes Harps almost equalised through Daniel O’Reilly had a close-range header somehow scooped away by the alert Kearns.
Harps had to throw caution to the wind in an exciting final ten minutes as they pushed hard to get back on level terms but the home side held on for victory.
Finn Harps: McGinley; Todd, Cowan, O’Reilly; Coyle, Harkin, Russell; Cretaro; Boyle, McAleer. Subs: McNamee for Borg (45 mins), Timlin for Cretaro (62 mins), Place for Harkin (70 mins).
UCD: Kearns; Tobin, Farrell, McEvoy, Boore; O’Farrell, Doyle, McClelland, Dignam; Mahdy, Kinsella-Bishop.
Referee: R. Rogers (Dublin).