LEAGUE OF IRELAND

Harps hold out for first point of the season

Dominant Galway held by Horgan's men

Diarmaid Doherty

Reporter:

Diarmaid Doherty

Email:

sport@donegaldemocrat.com

Finn Harps v Galway United

Ethan Boyle of Finn Harps gets a challenge in on his man during Friday night's game. Photo: Brian McDaid.

It's a first point of the season for both of these sides, but given their dominance in the second half, this should have been a first win of the campaign for Galway.

Finn Harps . . . 1

Galway United . . . 1

As it was, Harps managed to hold out for the draw on a night when Galway struck the woodwork no less than three times.

From that end, Ollie Horgan will be happy with the point and while his team were second best from half time on, there was enough in the first half to suggest that Harps might be moving in the right direction.

The loss of Paddy McCourt to injury on the hour was a telling factor. The former Celtic man was so influential in the first half and at times he ran the show in midfield.  

He was among three players to come into the starting eleven as Horgan made changes from the side that lost last weekend down in Bray.

Packie Mailey made his first appearance of the season at centre half while new signing Eddie Dsane was included wide on the left.

McCourt was the real stand-out player of the opening half and it was from his pin-point pass that Sean Houston was able to work an opening inside the Galway area before firing low past Conor Winn in the visiting goal.

The goal came as Harps were enjoying their best spell in the game and just beforehand, Caolan McAleer saw his shot saved by Winn.

Galway too, had chances in an entertaining first half. Stephen Folan was unlucky to see his header drift over the crossbar following a Marc Ludden free kick. Then just after Houston's opener, Kevin Devaney was denied an equaliser when his shot struck the angle of the crossbar and post.

Right before half time, Galway were in again, but Vinny Faherty could only steer his effort wide of the post when he should have found the net.

But Galway eventually drew level just a minute after the restart when Devaney's delightful touch got him away from Ethan Boyle and he produced a brilliant finish to beat Gallagher.

Two minutes later, Devaney got the better of Boyle again only to shoot wide and then Gavan Holohan wasted a chance after Harps failed to deal with a long throw.

Harps lost the influential McCourt to injury on the hour. Gareth Harkin came on in midfield and Danny Morrissey replaced Ciaran O'Connor up top.

But still Galway bossed the game and they struck the woodwork for the second time when Ronan Murray's effort came back off the post with Gallagher beaten.

Eddie Dsane had a rare chance for Harps on 68 but after running onto a through ball, his shot was saved by the legs of Winn.

But the majority of the danger came at the other end and the Galway players were holding their heads in their hands again on 77 minutes when Faherty saw a looping header clip the bar and drop over.

Then close to the end, and almost with his first touch, substitute Padraic Cunningham's mis-timed effort failed to find the target when Galway were presented with yet another great opportunity in front of goal.

Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher, Ethan Boyle, Ciaran Coll, Killian Cantwell, Packie Mailey, Barry Molloy, Paddy McCourt (Gareth Harkin 60), Sean Houston, Ciaran O'Connor (Danny Morrissey 60), Eddie Dsane (Jonny Bonner 70), Caolan McAleer. 

Galway United: Conor Winn, Colm Horgan, Marc Ludden, Lee Grace, Alex Byrne, Gavan Holohan, David Cawley, Vinny Faherty (Padraic Cunningham 80), Kevin Devaney (Gary Shanahan 89), Ronan Murray (Conor Melody 84), Stephen Folan.

Referee: Paul Tuite.