Ryan Curran said he had no hesitation in stepping up to hit the all-important penalty which gave Harps victory against Longford on Friday night.

Finn Harps 1

Longford Town 0

The striker kept his nerve to stroke his penalty in past Longford keeper Paul Skinner in the early stages of the second half.

It was enough to give his team a well deserved win and rounded off a good opening month of the season for the Donegal club.

It was Harps' second win of the campaign and as was the case in the victory over Derry City, Curran was on the mark with a vital goal.

“I didn’t want to come up here and just make up the numbers this season,” Curran said.

“Scoring a penalty is a funny one because you’ve just got to step up and do your job.

“But the rest of the boys were excellent tonight. I don’t want to take too many of the plaudits because I thought from back to front, we were excellent tonight, from Richard Brush right through, the team put in a great shift.”

The win lifts Harps well clear of the drop zone and they stay seventh in the Premier Division table, clear of Bohs, Longford, Bray, Sligo and Wexford Youths.

“It's a massive result,” Curran added.

“Obviously Longford are a team that are likely to be down around us at the end of the year, so it’s a great three points.

“On the back of the Dundalk, Shamrock Rovers and Sligo results, we knew this was a game we had to win. If you look back, the win against Derry was a massive result too. We’ve managed now to scrape together a few points and hopefully we can keep that run going.”

Curran's goal 13 minutes into the second half was just rewards for a Harps side who were well on top in the periods before and after half time.

The penalty was awarded after Ethan Boyle's fine run into the area saw him hauled down by defender on the by-line.

With regular penalty taker, Kevin McHugh on the bench, Curran took on responsibility and beat from the spot.

Up until that goal, Longford had rarely troubled Harps - aside from a couple of decent openings early in the game.

But once Harps got their noses in front, they allowed Longford come at them. The visitors almost struck a wonderful equaliser when Kealan Dillon's strike from outside the area fizzed past Richard Brush's right hand post.

But for all their effort and possession in the closing stages, Longford were unable to find a way to goal and Harps, for whom Brush and the central defensive pairing of Packie Mailey and Keith Cowan, were against excellent, stood firm.

Longford were without several first team regulars through injury and suspension but they almost went in front after only seven minutes only for Brust to save from Josh O'Hanlon.

It was a big moment and the wake-up call for Harps who quickly went down the other end and almost scored themselves.

Tony McNamee slipped Curran in on goal and while his shot beat Skinner, Jamie Mulhall got back to scramble the ball off the line.

After that, Harps were the better side and they had chances through Mailey and Dave Scully before Ethan Boyle fired just over.

Immediately after the restart, Harps pushed Longford back again with Scully and Cowan both going close before the goal eventually arrived.

“Ollie asked me to take the penalties and I said yeh,” Curran said of his goal.

“ If Kevin’s on the pitch he’ll take them, but I’ve always hit penalties with whatever club I’ve played with. I’ll always step up to hit them.”

It was a first win in nine games for Harps over their opponents - a victory that was long overdue and on this occasion, thoroughly deserved.

FINN HARPS: Richard Brush, Damien McNulty, Ciaran Coll, Packie Mailey, Keith Cowan, Gareth Harkin, Ryan Curran (Michael Funston 89), Ethan Boyle, Tony McNamee (Raymond Foy 83), Dave Scully (Kevin McHugh 79), Adam Hanlon.

LONGFORD TOWN: Paul Skinner, Mark Hughes, Jamie Mulhall, Noel Haverty, Daniel O'Reilly, Peter McGlynn (Karl Chambers 73), Philip Gannon, Kealan Dillon (John McKeown 85), Kaleem Salmon, Josh O'Hanlon, David O'Sullivan.