LEAGUE OF IRELAND

Finn Harps battle for a share of the spoils at Shelbourne

Another decent result for Ollie Horgan's side

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Shelbourne v Finn Harps

Michael O'Connor of Finn Harps had a late chance for the visitors.

Their winning run might have come to an end, but Finn Harps will be content to have taken a point from Tolka Park on Friday night.


Shelbourne . . . 0

Finn Harps  . . . 0

Shelbourne, going well themselves in Division One, had the better chances in a close contest.

However, Harps, who lost the experienced Keith Cowan to injury shortly before half time, managed to hold out for a well earned point.

They could even have won it in injury time at the finish but Michael O’Connor shot over when presented with a great chance in front of goal.

With top side UCD losing at Galway United, the gap between Harps and the leaders is now down to five points - and Harps have a game in hand.

However, the win for Galway, and Drogheda’s victory at Athlone Town, means Harps have been joined level on points in second place by those two clubs.

After their Bank Holiday Monday win over Galway United, Harps welcomed Michael O’Connor and Sam Todd back from suspension while Paddy McCourt was included from the start.

There were changes in the defence however, as both Ciaran Coll and Aidan Friel were absent so Mark Coyle and Lee Toland played in the full back positions.

Shelbourne started well and had early chances when David O’Sullivan headed weakly wide and then James English was off target.

Ciaran O’Connor, who scored the winner the previous Friday night against Drogheda, had Harps’ opening chance after only seven minutes but he shot wide from a good position.

The first half was a close affair but Harps were dealt a significant blow on the half hour when they lost Cowan to injury. The big defender received lengthy treatment but was unable to continue and he was replaced by teenager Niall McGinley.

Soon after Shels had another decent chance when following a corner kick Prendergast is just unable to reach the loose ball at the back post.

At the other end, Ciaran O’Connor’s effort from distance was straight at Delaney while on the stroke of half time, the home keeper dived full length but McGinley’s effort from long range was just over.

Shelbourne started the second half much the brighter and seconds after the restart, Evans was just wide of the post.

Mark Hughes was also not far away from 25 yards as the home side searched for the opener.

But Harps continued to frustrate Shelbourne and they made their second change of the evening just before the hour when BJ Banda came on for John O’Flynn in attack.

Harps, who have been enjoying such a brilliant run of results recently, almost found themselves in on goal as the game entered the final 15 minutes but as Michael O’Connor ran through, his loose touch allowed Mulcahy to challenge and clear.

Minutes later at the other end, Shelbourne’s best chance up until then fell to English but as he met a cross from the left, he could only direct his header off target.

They went even closer on 86 when English passed to O’Sullivan but from close range, his shot struck a Harps defender and the ball screwed up over the bar.

Then at the death, Michael O’Connor had the chance to win it, but he could only shoot over from ten yards.

Shelbourne: Dean Delaney, James Browne, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Dave Mulcahy, Derek Prendergast, Alan Byrne, Mark Hughes, Cian Kavanagh (Dayle Rooney 72), James English, Alan Evans, David O’Sullivan.

Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher, Mark Coyle, Lee Toland, Sam Todd, Keith Cowan (Niall McGinley 32), Tommy McBride, Michael O’Connor, Paddy McCourt, Ciaran O’Connor, John O’Flynn (BJ Banda 58), Jesse Devers (Mark Hannon 90).

Referee: Adriano Reale.