Mikey Place heads in past Cabinteely goalkeeper Jack Menton to put Harps 1-0 in front on Saturday night. Picture: Thomas Gallagher
Finn Harps delivered their biggest league win for some time with an emphatic victory over Cabinteely at Finn Park on Saturday night.
Finn Harps . . . 7
Cabinteely FC . . . . 1
Mikey Place scored twice and there were five other scorers, among them Paddy McCourt, as Harps romped to another win.
The Derry man has been plagued by injury for much of this season. But his return to action could well prove very timely as Harps turn their attentions to the play-offs next month.
Against Cabinteely, he produced yet another outstanding individual display, dictating the game from midfield and showing some wonderful moments of skill that were worth the entrance fee alone. He might have only been on the field for 51 minutes, but in that time, he showed that he must surely have a big part to play in the end of season play-offs.
He had a role in all three of his team’s goals in the first half - the second of which he scored himself, and it was another magic run and finish from a player who even after all these years continues to delight.
Cabinteely did pull a goal back shortly after the break, but the home side kicked on and scored another four to ensure a convincing victory.
Harps had gone into this game aiming to stretch their unbeaten run in the league out to ten games - a run that started way back in June when they beat Cabinteely 1-0 in Dublin.
Horgan rested a few of his regulars for this game with keeper Ciaran Gallagher, Keith Cowan and Gareth Harkin among those kept in reserve.
Gallagher’s deputy Peter Burke was called into action very early in this contest, producing a wonderful point black save to deny Paul Fox the opening goal on nine minutes.
The visitors were to rue that missed opportunity because within two minutes, their keeper Jack Menton was picking the ball from his net after McCourt and Jesse Devers combined to set up Mikey Place who headed in the opener.
Almost immediately, Harps were fortunate not to concede an equaliser when the lively Marty Waters cracked a long range effort off the crossbar.
And as the chances continued, the home side struck again on 15 minutes. This time McCourt picked up possession wide on the left and as the home supporters sensed something special, the midfielder ghosted his way into the area, weaving past several challenges before sliding the ball into the bottom corner.
He was at it again two minutes later, collecting the ball in midfield and after running forward, he released Devers in on goal and the Mayo-man produced another tidy finish to make it 3-0.
Devers shot across the face of goal as Harps pushed for a fourth and McCourt’s well struck free kick drew a fine diving save from keeper Menton just before the break.
Both teams made changes at the break - Timmy Sobowale coming on in place of Tommy McBride in midfield for Horgan’s team.
And then McCourt left the field to a warm ovation from the home supporters when he was replaced six minutes in by Nathan Boyle.
Peter Burke had the fans on their feet again soon after with another wonderful save which kept out a Waters header. But the Cabinteely No. 10 eventually did beat the Harps keeper on 55, clipping the ball home from close range.
Harps however, hit back with a fourth and it came from an unlikely source. Aidan Friel played a lovely give and go on the edge of the box, and after he was played in by Devers’ clever back heel, Friel nicked the ball past the keeper and inside the post.
Place scored his second, and Harps’ fifth on 75, finding room on the edge of the box and firing left-footed, into the bottom corner.
Two goals in the space of a minute from substitute Nathan Boyle and Jacob Borg ensured it was a sorry end to the campaign for Cabinteely.
And for Harps it’s on to the play-offs, and a semi-final meeting next month against either Shelbourne or Drogheda United.
Finn Harps: Peter Burke, Aidan Friel, Ciaran Coll, Niall Logue, Sam Todd, John Kavanagh, Jessie Devers (John O’Flynn 73), Jacob Borg, Mikey Place, Tommy McBride (Timmy Sobawale 46), Paddy McCourt (Nathan Boyle 51).
Cabinteely FC: Jack Menton, Keith Dalton (Adam Doyle 86) , Dan Blackbyrne, Jack Tuite, Sean Fitzpatrick (Alex Aspil 86), Paul Fox, Andrew O’Reilly (Adam Maher 46), Jack Hudson, Joseph Doyle, Marty Waters, Dean Casey.
Referee: Marc Lynch.