Fintown Harps are celebrating a first Cup success this week following Saturday’s Downtown Cup final win over Erne Wanderers in the Hospital Field, Donegal Town.
Fintown Harps 2
Erne Wanderers 0
Aaron Thompson and Darragh Gallagher scored the goals as last year’s Saturday Legaue Division Two champions completely outplayed this season’s Division One Saturday champions.
Erne Wanderers, the hot favourites before the game, having already been crowned league champions, were bidding to round off the season with a league and Cup double.
But they had few complaints at the final whistle; the Downtown Cup was on its way to Fintown and rightly so. For most of the 90 minutes, Paddy Molloy’s men were the better outfit and enjoyed the greater share of possession and created the bulk of the scoring chances.
To their credit Wanderers did press at times in the second half and were a little unlucky not to score at least one goal. The loss of their main scoring threat Michael ‘Sticky’ Ward in the opening minutes of the second period did not help their cause. Top scorer Ward limped out of the game complaining of a hamstring two minutes into the new half. Wanderers also lost full-back Liam Reynolds to nasty gash on the side of the head at the half-time interval.
Thompson threatened from very early and had a number of chances to break the deadlock before he finally found a way past Karl O’Brien, who had made a number of good saves from the Fintown number ten.
That opening goal was on 21 minutes, when he capitalised on slack marking in the Erne goalmouth to coolly nod a Darragh Gallagher header inside O’Brien’s left hand post.
With John McFadden, Brian Delaney and Barry McMonagle pulling the strings in midfield, Fintown continued to do most of the pressing for the remainder of the half.
Thompson, Delaney, Sean McMullan and Gallagher all went close to adding a second before half-time. But with O’Brien on top of his game it remained 1-0 in favour of the Harps at the interval.
Erne’s best chances in the half fell to Mark Dorrian who twice blasted over from outside the box in the second quarter, having spurned a gilt edged opportunity on nine minutes after some fancy footwork from David Dolan. Dolan, after wrong footing his marker, played neat one two with Ward who crossed only for Dorrian to drive over with the goal gaping.
Erne did enjoy a good spell at the start of the second half but with goal machine Ward on the sideline, they were unable to unlock a well marshalled Harps defence. And 12 minutes into the new half they found themselves in bigger bother when Gallagher pounced for Fintown’s second. His power and pace had the Erne defence at sixes and sevens at the time and he drove home after his initial shot was parried by O’Brien.
Minutes earlier Dermot Slevin, from outside the box from a free was denied by an alert McHugh. Wanderers did score on 68 minutes only to have the goal ruled out for offside and with no way through the well marshalled Fintown back four the game wound to an inevitable conclusion and a first major trophy for Fintown.
With the clock ticking Thompson came within inches of making it 3-0 when his close range effort came back off the bottom of O’Brien’s right hand post.
Fintown Harps: Gary McHugh; John Molloy, Paddy McFadden (Tukasz Krawczynski,(88), Eugene Molloy, John Paul Breslin, John McFadden, Brian Delaney, Barry McMonagle (Eoin Waide, 64), Darragh Gallagher, Sean McMullan (Owen Boyle (90), Aaron Thompson.
Erne Wanderers: Karl O’Brien, Peter McGonagle, Ryan O’Brien, Liam Reynolds (Michael McNeely (h/t), Jamie Cassidy, Dermot Slevin, Mark Dorrian (Sean Toland, 87), Stephen Ward (Diarmaid Spratt, 48), David Dolan, Eamon Cleary.
Referee: Marty Quinn.