LEAGUE OF IRELAND

O'Connor wins it for Finn Harps with injury-time goal

Dramatic end to north west derby

Diarmaid Doherty

Reporter:

Diarmaid Doherty

Email:

sport@donegaldemocrat.com

O'Connor wins it for Finn Harps with injury-time goal

Finn Harps took all three points from Saturday night’s north west derby with Ciaran O’Connor scoring the winner deep into injury time at the finish.

Finn Harps . . . 2

Sligo Rovers . . .1

With time almost up O’Connor was bundled over in the box and while his penalty kick was saved, he followed up to force the rebound home.

It gave Harps a second win of the season, and stretches their unbeaten run out to four games.

Earlier, Killian Cantwell had hammered in the Harps equaliser  on 68 minutes, finding the net after Jonny Bonner’s delivery was headed back across goal by Ethan Boyle.

Sligo had taken the lead only nine minutes earlier when Raffaele Cretaro produced a neat finish to beat Ciaran Gallagher.

It was a typically close battle between two evenly matched sides and in the end, both teams might well be content with a share of the points.

Before the game, players, officials and supporters paid an emotional tribute to Ryan McBride wtih a minute’s applause. They applauded again on the fifth minute by which stage Sligo could have been in front but Cretaro’s effort was taken off the line by Ciaran Coll.

Cretaro and Jonah Ayunga threatened on a number of occasions for the visitors. Ayunga had a great chance to fire his team in front on 16 minutes but again Coll came to his team’s rescue with a wonderful saving tackle.

Harps had opportunities too with Gareth Harkin and Danny Morrissey both seeing goalbound efforts blocked

They missed the influence of the injured Paddy McCourt in midfield, although Jonny Bonner’s set piece deliveries caused plenty of problems for the visiting defence.

The same player produced a wonderful moment of magic shortly after half time when his turn and shot saw Schlingermann save. From the resulting corner, Ethan Boyle powered a header over the crossbar from close range when he really should have hit the target.

But it was Sligo who struck the opener on 59 minutes. John Russell played in Cretaro who kept his nerve to tuck the ball past Gallagher.

Harps however, levelled matters on 68 through Cantwell and while both teams had chances to nick a late winner, it ended with O’Connor having the final say just when it seemed both teams would have to settle for a draw

Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher, Ethan Boyle, Damien McNulty (Eddie Dsane 65), Ciaran Coll, Killian Cantwell, Gareth Harkin, Jonny Bonner, Sean Houston, Danny Morrissey (Michael Funston 90), Ciaran O’Connor, Caolan McAleer.

Sligo Rovers: Michael Schlingermann, Tobi Adebayo-Rowling, Michael Leahy, Kyle Callan-McFadden, Craig Roddan, Raffaele Cretaro (Mikey Place 85) , Ciaran Sadlier, Chris Kenny, John Russell, Jonah Ayunga (Matty Stevens 70), Liam Martin.

Referee: Arnold Hunter.