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Dublin: 2 °C Wednesday 26 February, 2020

Finn Harps get season off to a flyer with win over Sligo Rovers

Ollie Horgan’s side didn’t win any of their first 15 games last season, but have gone one from one in 2020.

Harps boss Ollie Horgan.
Harps boss Ollie Horgan.
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Finn Harps 1

Sligo Rovers 0

Alan Foley reports from Ballybofey 

KARL O’SULLIVAN marked his first appearance for Finn Harps with the only goal of the game against Sligo Rovers on opening night in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.

The former Limerick FC striker bundled home from close range 11 minutes into the second half after David Webster had headed a clipped cross from Mark Coyle across the visitors’ goal.

Last season it took the team from Ballybofey some 16 outings before they managed to post a win so victory over their north-western rivals first time out certainly marked a welcome start.

The home side created the first couple of openings. Firstly, O’Sullivan flashed a shot wide of Ed McGinty’s goal and then a free into the penalty area from Raffaelle Cretaro had just too much juice on it for the outstretched head of Sam Todd.

Sligo’s first sight of goal came on 20 minutes when a Darragh Noone cross was met by Teemu Penninkangas, who couldn’t get sufficient purchase on the header and failed to trouble Mark Anthony McGinley in the Finn Harps goal. Ronan Coughlan then set Garry Buckley away and his attempted chip was gathered comfortably by the hosts’ netminder.

However, despite a reasonably lively opening, there was nothing to report in terms of chance creation in the entire second quarter. At half-time it was 0-0.

After O’Sullivan’s goal, Sligo needed a spark and Coughlan almost provided it on 65 minutes when he worked a yard of space at the edge of Harps penalty area only to drive recklessly over the crossbar.

Barry McNamee was introduced by Ollie Horgan 19 minutes from time. Last season’s Derry City captain was Harps’ sixth debutant of the night while Liam Buckley started with four new faces.

Tempers frayed as Coyle went on hard on Danny Kane and referee Damien McGrath felt a yellow card was sufficient punishment, much to the dismay of the Sligo players and supporters. St Valentine’s Day it might have been, but there wasn’t any romance in the air.

Sligo will be dismayed too by the fact they didn’t test McGinley when their needs turned to musts, until the 93rd minute when Ronan Murrray got into a pocket of space after David Cawley’s ball over the top. McGinley, though, stood firm and saved to keep his clean sheet intact.

FINN HARPS: Mark Anthony McGinley; Dave Webster, Kosovar Sadiki, Sam Todd; Shane McEleney; Karl O’Sullivan, Gareth Harkin, Mark Coyle (Ruairi Harkin 85), Mark Russell; Raffaele Cretaro (Barry McNamee 71), Ryan Connolly.

SLIGO ROVERS: Ed McGinty; Danny Kane, Will Seymore, Teemu Penninkangas; David Cawley, Kyle Callan-McFadden, Niall Morahan, Garry Buckley (Jesse Devers 77), Darragh Noone; Ronan Coughlan, Ronan Murray.

Referee: Damien McGrath

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Alan Foley

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