Finn Harps are into the second round of the EA Sports League Cup after they just about got the better of Cockhill Celtic tonight in Ballybofey.
Finn Harps 3
Cockhill Celtic 2
Cockhill certainly played their part in an entertaining cup tie but they weren’t helped by the sending off of substitute James Bradley for dissent on 68 minutes. The Cockhill man had only been on the field 5 minutes when he was shown a straight red card for throwing the ball at the referee, Paul Duddy.
In fairness to Harps, they just about shaded this contest on a night when Horgan enjoyed his first victory since taking over as manager.
Harps fielded a strong side with only four changes from the side that drew with Waterford on Friday night. They were in front after less than two minutes when Tommy Bonner and Pat McCann combined to set up Sean McCarron to score.
By the 14th minute it was 2-0, McCarron’s cross turned into his own net by Liam O’Donnell. At that stage it looked like Harps would dominate this game but Cockhill, to their credit, responded well.
They enjoyed some decent spells of possession and had two good opportunities to pull a goal back. Gerard McLaughlin saw a close range shot brilliantly saved by Conor Winn on 25 minutes and then just before half time, Conor Keddy’s cross was headed against the woodwork by Johnny Havlin.
In between those two chances, Pat McCann wasted a glorious chance to make it 3-0 when from barely 4 yards out he somehow turned his effort up and over the crossbar when it seemed easier to hit the target.
Cockhill got themselves back into the contest on 66 minutes when Malachy McDermott rose highest at the back post to power in a header from Gerry Gill’s corner.
But two minutes later Bradley was sent off and then on 73 minutes, Ruairi Keating rounded keeper, Gavin Cullen to score the all-important third.
But the ten men of Cockhill refused to give up and they scored a second when substitute Aidan O’Donnell beat Winn from close in on 84 minutes.
Fortunately for Harps, they had done just enough to progress.
Finn Harps: Conor Winn, James Doherty, Ciaran Coll, Keith Cowan, Packie Mailey, Pat McCann, Tommy Bonner (Mark Forker 76), Graham Fisher (Michael Funston 68), Ruairi Keating (Paul McVeigh 79), Sean McCarron, Johnny Bonner.
Cockhill Celtic: Gavin Cullen, Ciaran McLaughlin, Seanan McColgan, Johnny Havlin, Peter Doherty, Conort Keddy, Liam O’Donnell, Malachy McDermott, Gererd McLaughlin (James Bradley 63), Garvan Friel (Derek Doherty 83), Gerry Gill (Aidan O’Donnell 77).
Referee: Paul Duddy