Sunday 29 January 2023 Dublin: 6°C
Morgan Treacy; ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy/INPHO Ciaran O'Connor, seen here scoring against Bray Wanderers earlier this season, was on the mark again tonight.
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Five-goal thriller in Ballybofey as 10-man Finn Harps make it two home wins in a week
The Shannonsiders scored a second with just a few minutes left to make things interesting but the hosts held on.

Finn Harps 3

Limerick 2

Alan Foley reports from Finn Park.

FINN HARPS MADE it two home wins in a week when a competent performance saw off Limerick FC at Finn Park this evening.

The Donegal club, who overcame St Patrick’s Athletic on Monday on a 3-1 scoreline, saw Ciaran O’Connor, Danny Morrissey and Caolan McAleer all score first half goals. Lee-J Lynch had equalised for Limerick to make it 1-1 and Paul O’Conor pulled on back late on.

Morrissey then saw red for a bad tackle on O’Conor but the points stayed in the north-west.

It was a lively start by the River Finn.

O’Connor tucked home the opening goal after only six minutes; finding the net after an attempted overhead kick from Morrissey as Ethan Boyle had planted a header back into the mix to supplement a Paddy McCourt corner.

Two minutes later, though, Limerick were on terms in somewhat fortunate circumstances. Lynch, on the left touchline maybe 30 yards from goal, whipped the ball into the penalty area but there was no touch as everyone stood still and it ended up nestling in Ciaran Gallagher’s net having snuck just inside the post.

However, Harps were certainly the better of the teams in the first half and on 21 minutes has re-established their advantage thanks a well-crafted and finished goal. Ciaran Coll, the Harps left-back steered a ball towards McAleer, whose cushioned centre was steered home by Morrissey.

Michael Barker with Caolan McAleer Morgan Treacy; ©INPHO / Morgan Treacy/INPHO Caolan McAleer was involved quite a lot for Harps. Morgan Treacy; ©INPHO / Morgan Treacy/INPHO / Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Then, on 41 minutes, Harps made it 3-1 with another great goal. This time it was McAleer – from the angle of the penalty area – who cut inside on the right flank and steered into the top corner with the aid of the crossbar with his left foot.

There was little or no action in front of goal for the most part in the second half till O’Conor pulled one back for Limerick on 86 minutes when he drilled into the bottom corner when Gallagher had punched clear a Robson corner.

Another Limerick sub, Dean Clarke, was narrowly wide with a headed chance from a Lynch cross in the 95th minute.

Michael Funston Morgan Treacy; ©INPHO / Morgan Treacy/INPHO Michael Funston - seen here in action last year - came on for a final appearance at Finn Park. Morgan Treacy; ©INPHO / Morgan Treacy/INPHO / Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Michael Funston, who this week announced he will leave the Ballybofey club having made his debut away back in 2004, came on for the last 16 minutes for a last run out at Finn Park – his 334th Harps appearance.

Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; Ethan Boyle, Kilian Cantwell, Packie Mailey, Ciaran Coll; Caolan McAleer (Michael Funston 74), Gareth Harkin, Paddy McCourt (Jonny Bonner 70), Sean Houston; Danny Morrissey, Ciaran O’Connor.

Limerick FC: Freddy Hall;  Shaun Kelly, Tony Whitehead (Dean Clarke 82), Robbie Williams, Tommy Robson; Lee-J Lynch, Bastien Hery, Shane Duggan (Paul O’Conor, half-time), Chiedozie Ogbene; Chris Mulhall (Ian Turner 56), Rodrigo Tosi.

Referee: Keith Kennedy (IFA).

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