Finn Harps had to be content with a share of the spoils in their penultimate pre-season outing against Cockhill Celtic on Friday night at Orchard Park in Convoy.
FINN HARPS 2
COCKHILL CELTIC 2
The Ulster Senior League side were awarded a contentious penalty two minutes from time when substitute Ciaran Greene was adjudged to have fouled Gerry Gill and Garbhan Friel slotted home his second goal of the day. Harps had led twice, on each occasion Blaine Curtis was thegoalscorer, only for Friel to level on each occasion.
As Harp director of football Felix Healy had promised after Barry O’Mahony’s goal saw off Dergview on Wednesday at LYIT, there was a youthful complexion to his side against Cockhill. They started brightly, with Curtis pivotal to all their early promise. He was within a whisker of flicking a cross from Adam Clarke past Cockhill’s
John Roulstone and also had a penalty shout when he thieved possession from ex-Harps player Johnny Havlin.
The deadlock was broken on 30 minutes when Curtis against pinched the pocket, this time from Oisin McColgan and as the ball bobbled free the Harps frontman unleashed a dipping volley from the edge of the area for a really well-taken goal.
It was almost 2-0 before the break when James Doherty and trialist Paul Simon Treacy linked well on the right, to square for Aaron O’Hagan. The Castlefin native drove well and Roulstone in the Cockhill goal saved well. Adam Clarke, cutting in from the left, then drew a save from the former Kildrum Tigers netminder before a spate of
substitutions from the Harps management team of Peter Hutton and Healy.
Despite Harps creating the majority of the scoring chances in the opening 45 minutes but three minutes after the restart the Buncrana based outfit were level. Friel chased what may assumed to be a lost cause but when Keith Cowan undercooked his backpass to replacement goalkeeper Shaun Patton the Cockhill substitute was on hand to tuck home.
The substitutions diluted to cohesion from those in blue, while Donal O’Brien, the former Harps player and current Cockhill manager, made just three changes over the course of the game. Whatever about the alterations, though, Curtis was a constant up front for Harps and intercepted a McColgan ball back to put the Ballybofey team back in front, 2-1, on 69 minutes.
That’s the way it looked like ending on a chilly night, only for referee Terence Moyne to award the Inishowen side a questionable spot kick. The fact the contest was pre-season muted the protestations and Friel, who this time last year was trying to earn a contract at Harps, squared things up a two apiece.
Harps will round-off their pre-season with a match against Buncrana Hearts today at 2pm, before the real business gets underway with a daunting trip to Jackman Park to face Airtricity League Division One favourites Limerick FC on Friday.
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher (Shaun Patton 46); James Doherty (Paul McVeigh 46), Keith Cowan, Thomas McMonagle (Calvin Bradley 46), Ciaran Coll (Ciaran Greene 46); Paul Simon Treacy (Gary Merritt 46), Thomas McBride (Shane McGinty 46), Aaron O’Hagan (Hugh Carlin 46), Adam Clarke; Jordan Duffy, Blaine Curtis.
Cockhill Celtic: John Roulstone; Ciaran McLaughlin, Johnny Havlin, William O’Connor, Oisin McColgan; Derek Doherty (Conor Keady 46), Malachy McDermott (Michael O’Connor 62), Jimmy Bradley, Gerry Gill; Mark Moran, Paul McKinney (Garbhan Friel 46).
Referee: Terence Moyne.