Galway come away with a draw thanks to Finn Harps old boy Devaney

Sean Houston had put the home side ahead at Finn Park.

Kevin Devaney.
Kevin Devaney.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Finn Harps 1
Galway United 1

Alan Foley reports from Finn Park

PADDY MCCOURT MADE his first start for Finn Harps but it was a player who used to represent the Ballybofey club who earned a point for Galway United at Finn Park tonight.

Kevin Devaney netted what was a well-deserved leveler for the Westerners in the first minute of the second half, cancelling out Sean Houston’s first half opener.

Shane Keegan’s Galway side were by far the most dominant and hit the woodwork on three occasions with Devaney, Ronan Murray and Vinny Faherty all left cursing their luck.

Galway had responded well to their concession and having passed up on a handful of openings, managed to make some hay as the sun was shining. Devaney found himself and steered past Ciaran Gallagher in the Harps goal.

However, that wasn’t enough for Galway, who continued to press and might’ve gone in front on 64 minutes when Ronan Murray, with the Harps defence at sixes and sevens and Devaney typically involved, hit the inside of the hosts’ post.

Former Derry City, Celtic and Barnsley legend McCourt played for almost an hour in a more withdrawn role. Although there was less of the wing wizardry that enabled the now 33-year-old to make his name, his ability to pick a pass was telling.

No more so than on 28 minutes when he picked up possession and laid off for Sean Houston, the Harps midfielder who netted seven times last season, to open his account for 2017 with a crisp shot into Conor Winn’s bottom corner.

That goal provided the spark that the contest – which was tepid at best until then – needed. Ollie Horgan’s team went in 1-0 in front, although Shane Keegan would’ve been ill at ease to work out just how.

After their concession, Galway were more impressive and should’ve at least got level only for spurning a couple of glorious chances.

Seven minutes after Houston’s goal, Galway’s Murray rounded Ciaran Gallagher in the Harps goal and seeing the angle was too narrow to shoot, played back for Devaney, whose arrowed shot crashed off the goalpost. From the rebound, Gallagher did enough to block from Gavan Holohan.

Galway then looked the proverbial gift house right in the mouth seconds before the break when Faherty found himself in a rare pocket of free space, only to see his shot trundle inches wide.

A goal down at the break, Galway continued their forward momentum in the second half and were duly rewarded while there were still folk queuing for tea.

This time Devaney made no mistake as he steered past Gallagher with aplomb following some indecision in the Harps defence.

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Murray then also hit the Harps goalframe but, from a rare attack at the other end, Eddie Dsane saw the whites in Winn’s eyes only for the Galway netminder to save.

The closest either team came to a winner was when Faherty headed off the Harps crossbar with 11 minutes to play after Marc Ludden had crossed.

FINN HARPS:  Ciaran Gallagher; Ethan Boyle, Packie Mailey, Kilian Cantwell, Ciaran Coll; Aidan McAleer, Sean Houston, Barry Molloy, Eddie Dsane (Jonny Bonner 66); Paddy McCourt (Gareth Harkin 59), Ciaran O’Connor (Danny Morrissey 59).

GALWAY UNITED:  Conor Winn; Colm Horgan, Lee Grace, Stephen Folan, Mark Ludden; Gavan Holohan, David Crawley, Alex Byrne, Kevin Devaney (Gary Shanahan 90); Ronan Murray (Conor Melody 85); Vinny Faherty (Padraic Cunningham 81)

Referee: Paul Tuite.

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About the author:

Alan Foley

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