Paul McVeigh scored three minutes after coming on as a substitute to rescue a point for Finn Harps against 10-man Galway FC on Saturday night.
Finn Harps 1
Galway FC 1
The Portsalon native scored his first goal of the season on 71 minutes - to preserve his side’s unbeaten start to the campaign - when the ball broke his way in the penalty area and he finished neatly from 15 yards.
Vinny Faherty had given Galway FC the lead with the first goal in the Corribsiders’ latest guise.
However, that came after Derek O’Brien’s sending off, which put a straight-jacket on whatever attacking notions the away team might’ve had later in the game.
There’s a tailor in Galway city that promised the first goalscorer for the newly-formed Galway FC a suit to mark the occasion.
But having failed to hit the target in their first three outings in the SSE Airtricity League Division One, perhaps the generous individual’s tailorship was being questioned.
However, 36 minutes into Tommy Dunne’s side’s visit to Finn Park, it was Faherty who booked himself in for a Monday morning fitting.
It was the first goal Harps had conceded in the league this season.
The former Dundalk and St Patrick’s Athletic striker turned inside the area to curl a delightful shot past Conor Winn following Marc Ludden’s throw-in.
A tepid contest sprung into life in the 27th minute when O’Brien was given a straight red card for a heavy-ish challenge on James Doherty.
Referee John McLaughlin dismissed the Galway FC winger for dissent. O’Brien was only to receive a yellow card, which was in McLaughlin’s hand, before giving Doherty some verbal afters .
It was the visitors who created the first meaningful chance nine minutes in. Ryan Connolly played in Stephen Walsh but Harps goalkeeper Winn raced from his penalty area to slide clear.
The ball rolled to Paul Sinnott, who tried his luck from 35 yards only for Winn to make the save.
From the free-kick after O’Brien walked, by Carel Tiofak, Ruairí Keating glanced a header past the outrushing Conor Gleeson only for Martin Conneely to clear off the line.
Harps weren’t the best dressed at that stage but kicked into life in the last minute of the half when Conor Gleeson in the Galway goal made an instinctive point-blank stop to deny Keating’s first-time effort from a whipped cross from Tiofak.
Galway’s starting XI was minus the services of Ryan Manning, who had played for Harps manager Ollie Horgan’s Irish Schoolboys in their 3-3 draw with England in the Centenary Shield 24 hours earlier at Bristol City’s Ashton Gate.
Dunne resisted throwing on his talisman as the emphasis was on holding what they had in the second half.
Harps, who played with the wind after the break weren’t at their most fluent. Ciaran Coll tried in vain to get on the end of a Doherty cross but couldn’t wrap his foot around the ball.
Horgan pressed the gamble button by throwing the more attack-minded McVeigh on for Doherty.
When the substitute steered home the leveller and Galway having already appeared to have set out their stall, the home supporters urged their team on for a winner. Harps, though, hadn’t created much all night and had to be content with the draw.
Finn Harps: Conor Winn; Damien McNulty, Keith Cowan, Packie Mailey; James Doherty (Paul McVeigh 71), Michael Funston, Pat McCann, Tommy Bonnar (Josh Mailey 61), Ciaran Coll; Carel Tiofak (Johnny Bonner 88), Ruairí Keating.
Galway FC: Conor Gleeson; Colm Horgan, Cian Fadden, Martin Conneely, Marc Ludden; Jason Molloy (Marty Owens 72), Paul Sinnot, Ryan Connolly, Derek O’Brien; Stephen Walsh, Vinny Faherty (Jake Keegan 79).
Referee: John McLaughlin.