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Dundalk slump to second successive draw at Finn Harps as frustrating start to the season continues

John Gill’s side are without a win in the Premier Division after another 1-1 draw.

Dundalk were held to a second successive 1-1 draw on Friday night against Finn Harps.
Dundalk were held to a second successive 1-1 draw on Friday night against Finn Harps.
Image: Evan Logan/INPHO

Finn Harps 1

Dunalk 1

Alan Foley reports from Finn Park

DUNDALK HIT THE woodwork twice as the champions were held for the second week in succession in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.

Following their 1-1 draw last Friday against Sligo Rovers, manager John Gill saw his team produce the same scoreline on their visit to blustery Ballybofey to take on Finn Harps.

There were a few comings together after the final whistle with players and officials from both teams voicing their opinions after a committed encounter before peace resumed.

Having been second best for almost the entirety of the opening half, somehow the team managed by Ollie Horgan went in at the break a goal to the good.

Gill must’ve been scratching his head over the half-time cuppa.

Finn Harps celebrates their sides first goal Finn Harps celebrate after Keith Cowan gives the home side the lead. Source: Evan Logan/INPHO

Keith Cowan, four minutes before the interval, headed home from a Raff Cretaro corner after the former Sligo Rovers midfielder had battled gamely to lift the siege and win the set piece.

Harps steadied in the second half only to concede an equaliser on 70 minutes when Brian Gartland showed just why he’s club captain with a header of his own. Again it was from a corner, with Michael Duffy the provider.

In the end, it was a point apiece and the Donegal outfit are off the mark having lost 1-0 at Bohemians last week.

Dundalk were the dominant force in the first half. The first shot on target came from Duffy, who swivelled at the edge of the penalty area to volley goalward only for Peter Burke in the Harps goal to get down low at his near post and turn the ball away.

Pat Hoban was similarly inventive and also out of luck on 21 minutes, flashing a volley wide when located by a headed pass from Sean Murray.

Dundalk, even at that early stage, were almost monopolising possession and the home support braced itself for a long night.

Those feelings were cemented when the goal frame came to the rescue of the hosts. Dane Massey’s free-kick was curled over the defensive wall only to strike the top of the Harps crossbar.

Vinny Perth Dundalk's Vinny Perth watched his concede first for the second week in a row. Source: Evan Logan/INPHO

After Cowan netted, Sean Hoare headed just wide late in the half from Duffy’s corner meaning the Ballybofey side went in with an unlikely 1-0 lead.

That advantage was still intact well into the second half and Dundalk hadn’t it anywhere near as much their own way in part two as they had beforehand.

However, Gartland got them back on terms and then almost put the Co Louth team in front. He saw his effort cleared off the line by Gaerth Harkin and from the follow-up, Hoare struck the post from inches.

Hoare was certainly in the thick of the action, as, on 80 minutes he made a top-class last ditch tackle to prevent Niall McGinley from getting a shot off in front of Gary Rogers’ goal.

FINN HARPS: Peter Burke; John Kavanagh, Jacob Borg, Keith Cowan, Sam Todd, Daniel O’Reilly; Nathan Boyle (Caolan McAleer ’85), Gareth Harkin, Mark Coyle, Raffaele Cretaro (Niall McGinley ’74); Sean Boyd (Mikey Place ’66).

DUNDALK: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland, Sean Hoare, Dane Massey; John Mountney (Daniel Kelly ’65), Dean Jarvis (Jordan Flores ’77), Chris Shields, Michel Duffy; Sean Murray (Cameron Dummigan ’84), Pat Hoban.

Referee: Robert Rogers.

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Alan Foley

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