Paddy McCourt who scored his first Finn Harps goal against Shamrock Rovers.
Shamrock Rovers scored a last minute winner to deny Finn Harps a share of the spoils in a rip-roaring encounter at Tallaght Stadium on Friday night.
Shamrock Rovers . . . 3
Finn Harps . . . 2
In a game full of drama and incident, Rovers led 2-0 after 14 minutes but saw their lead wiped out after second half goals from Paddy McCourt and Caolan McAleer for Finn Harps.
However, Ollie Horgan’s side were denied what would have been a deserved draw when Simon Madden struck for the winner on 90 minutes.
The win was only Rovers’ their third victory of the season and it sees them leap-frog Harps in the table.
For Harps, it was a bitterly disappointing night when they they had done so well to get themselves back on level terms after such a poor start.
They looked to be in real trouble when they conceded two goals in the opening 14 minutes.
But the Donegal club have proven extremely difficult to beat in practically every game this season and their spirit and togetherness was all too evident again in this game as they came back from the death to almost deny Rovers.
The home side got off to the perfect start when with less than two minutes gone, David McAllister unleashed a super effort from 30 yards and the ball crashed into the net past Ciaran Gallagher off the underside of the bar.
For Harps, who had McCourt back in midfield, it was just the start they didn’t want.
By the 14th minute, Rovers had doubled their advantage when Ronan Finn’s long range effort went in off the post.
The Donegal side’s best chance early on came from a Sean Houston header from a McCourt cross. Then on 18 minutes, they had strong appeals for a penalty waved away when McAleer’s ball appeared to strike the arm of Sam Bone.
Midway through the half, Ciaran O’Connor, in such fine goalscoring form for Harps, was forced off injured and replaced by Barry Molloy.
At this stage of the contest, Rovers were enjoying the greater amount of possession but Harps were showing signs of a recovery with McAleer and Jonny Bonner both having efforts on goal.
The visitors improved in the second half and put the Rovers back three under a lot more pressure. Ronan Finn almost got caught out after giving the ball away close to his own goal.
And shortly after the introduction of Eddie Dsane for Danny Morrissey, Harps got themselves back into the game with McAleer scoring his first for the club on 71 minutes. Houston provided the pass and McAleer, one of Harps’ best performers, produced a neat finish.
Six minutes later, the sides were level after McCourt showed a touch of magic, curling the ball in past the wall and into the bottom corner from a free kick.
But Madden nicked a late, late inner, lobbing the ball to the net after good work down the left by substitute, Michael O’Connor.
Shamrock Rovers: Tomer Chencinski, Danny Devine, Trevor Clarke, Simon Madden, David Webster, Ronan Finn, Graham Burke, Sam Bone (Brandon Miele 67), Roberto Lopes, David McAllister, Dean Dillon (Michael O’Connor 68).
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher, Ethan Boyle, Gareth Harkin, Ciaran Coll, Killian Cantwell, Jonny Bonner, Paddy McCourt, Sean Houston, Ciaran O’Connor (Barry Molloy 23), Danny Morrissey (Eddie Dsane 68), Caolan McAleer.
Referee: Sean Grant.