A Tony McNamee goal five minutes into the second half was enough to secure Finn Harps a vital win in their away trip to Cobh Ramblers on Saturday night.
Cobh Ramblers 0
Finn Harps 1
The win, coupled with UCD being beaten at home by table toppers Wexford Youths means that Harps are now five points clear of the Students in second place in the table with just three games remaining.
Wexford’s win, their second victory over UCD in a week, means they are seven points clear at the top and in an almost unassailable lead. However, they do have to come to Finn Park for the final league game of the season.
Much more important for Finn Harps will be their next league game on Friday night next when they host UCD in Finn Park. A win in that game would guarantee a play-off position for promotion.
The win on Saturday night means that Harps have taken all 12 points from their four games with Cobh Ramblers this season.
The first half remained scoreless at St. Colman’s Park despite chances for both sides. Ciaran Gallagher was called on early on while Kevin McHugh and Wilfred Tagbo had a couple of half chances for Harps.
However, Harps did not have long to wait as on the 50th minute McNamee, who was a constant threat throughout, cut in from the wing and hit a powerful shot to the corner of net.
Harps had much more of the chances in the second half but they had no clear cut chances to add to their tally. There was a notable debut near the end when 17 year old BJ Banda made his first appearance for the seniors.
Cobh Ramblers: David Browne; Graham McCarthy, James Furlong, Brendan Frahill, Anthony O’Donnell; Stephen Christopher (Christopher McCarthy 79), Jason Abbott, David Curran (Adam O’Sullivan 62), Jacob Buris (Bobbi Donoghue 62); Ryan Goldsmith; Shane O’Connor.
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; Josh Mailey, Packie Mailey, Matt Crossan, Ciaran Coll; Nathan Boyle (Kieran McDaid 88), Gareth Harkin, Michael Funston, Tony McNamee; Kevin McHugh (B. J Banda 94), Wilfred Tagbo (Rob Waters 66).
Referee: Marc Lynch.
FIRST DIVISION TABLE
Pos. Team P W D L F A +/- Pts.
1 Wexford Youths 25 18 1 6 55 27 28 55
2 Finn Harps 25 14 6 5 34 21 13 48
3 UCD 25 12 7 6 49 24 25 43
4 Shelbourne 25 11 6 8 31 30 1 39
5 Cobh Ramblers 25 8 6 11 27 40 -13 30
6 Athlone Town 25 8 5 12 32 37 -5 29
7 Waterford United 25 4 6 15 23 47 -24 18
8 Cabinteely 25 4 5 16 21 46 -25 17