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UCD facing almost certain relegation while Finn Harps look set for play-off spot after stalemate

Neither side managed to find the target in Ballybofey.

Ollie Horgan's side played out a scoreless draw at home.
Ollie Horgan's side played out a scoreless draw at home.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Finn Harps 0

UCD 0

Chris McNulty reports from Finn Park

A POINT IN Ballybofey was of little use to UCD as their attempt at the great escape now looks doomed.

With three games to go, UCD are six points adrift of Finn Harps, who look set to finish in the play-off position and get another crack at survival.

Harps had the better of the chances in this one, but just couldn’t get a breakthrough.

When Raffaele Cretaro, the veteran Harps attacker went to the turf, with UCD defender Evan Farrell breathing on his neck in the 52nd minute, the home support expectantly sighed in anticipation of a penalty.

The whistle never arrived, drawing angry howls from around the ground – and particularly from manager Ollie Horgan, who fumed from his vantage point in the press gantry.

jason-mcclelland-dejected-after-the-game UCD's Jason McClelland [file pic]. Source: Ciaran Culligan/INPHO

Young substitute Stephen Doherty saw a powerful drive beaten away by Conor Kearns, the UCD goalkeeper, after Mark Coyle and Tony McNamee combined to create the chance, while Mark Russell also forced a stop from Kearns.

Although UCD’s forays were few, the Students might have forced a breakthrough early in the second half, but former Belfield ‘keeper Mark Anthony McGinley beat away Yousef Mahdy’s stinging attempt.

Jack Keaney, whose home is just 25km through Barnesmore Gap in Donegal Town, tested McGinley with a header while Jason McClelland’s teasing effort flashed wide.

Harps had the better of the first half, without managing to break the duck.

Mark Coyle went closest when he drilled wide of the far post in the 21st minute, while Kearns palmed away from Mark Timlin.

Coyle looked set to pull the trigger after being picked out by Timlin, but his footing let him down at the vital moment.

Mahdy was eyeing up the bullseye late in the first half when Harry Ascroft and Keith Cowan stopped him in his tracks, allowing McGinley to smother the loose ball.

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Finn Harps: Mark Anthony McGinley; Harry Ascroft, Keith Cowan, Sam Todd; Jacob Borg, Ruairi Harkin (Stephen Doherty 64), Tony McNamee, Mark Timlin (Gareth Harkin 64), Mark Russell; Mark Coyle (Mikey Place 86), Raffaele Cretaro.

UCD: Conor Kearns; Evan Farrell, Harry McEvoy, Luke Boore, Mark Dignam; Liam Kerrigan (Richie O’Farrell 80), Jack Keaney, Paul Doyle, Jason McClelland (Dany Kinsella-Bishop 89); Dara Keane, Yousef Mahdy.

Referee: John McLoughlin

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