Ten Man Blues Crash to Harps

Shuan Corcoran wins this ball for the Blues.

Shuan Corcoran wins this ball for the Blues.

League of Ireland First Division

Waterford United 0
Finn Harps 2

A soft goal conceded just before the interval and a red card early in the second half cost Waterford United dearly at the RSC on Friday night last.

Following a home draw with Athlone Town and an away win against Wexford Youths this was a battling display by the Blues but nevertheless poor discipline cost them dearly on this occasion.

Regan Donelon, who is on loan from Sligo Rovers, created the first opening of the game for the visitors after seven minutes when he tried his luck with a cracking right-footed shot from 25-yards but his effort just wide to left post of Blues keeper Matthew Connor.

Harps went close again on 20 minutes when they managed to work the ball into the feet of Gareth Harkin on the edge of the penalty area but his left-footed effort was deflected out at the expense of a fruitless corner kick by defender Shane Dineen.

The Blues carved open their first chance five minutes later when Anthony McAlavey sprayed a super ball out to the right channel for Glenn Hawe, who did superbly well to get the better of his marker Ciaran Coll but neither Willie John Kiely or Anthony O’Donnell could get onto the cross into the area.

Jack Doherty should have put the hosts in front with their next attack on 27 minutes when a brilliant run and pass from Blues captain Brian Nolan sent the winger into the clear on the left-side but his shot was kept out by the advancing Harps keeper Ciaran Gallagher.

Finn Harps struck for the breakthrough goal in the final minute of the half when referee David Keeler brought play back for a free kick after a foul on Raymond Foy.

Brian McGroary sent in the ball that saw Damien McNulty head past Matthew Connor from deep inside the penalty area.

Waterford were harshly reduced to ten men on 53 minutes when Shane Nolan, who came on at the start of the second half, picked up a straight red card from referee David Keeler for a tackle on Finn Harps’ Brian Mc Groary.

McAlavey did well to gain possession of the ball on the left side of the area on 64 minutes but the midfielder flashed a shot from 20-yards over the crossbar of Ciaran Gallagher as the Blues tried to get a foothold back into the contest.

The crossbar came to the rescue on 80 minutes when Anthony O’Donnell let fly with a spectacular left-footed effort from all of 35 yards that came thundering off the woodwork into the path of Shaun Corcoran but his effort was superbly kept out by a brilliant diving save from Harps netminder Gallagher.

Gareth Harkin sealed all three points for the visitors from Donegal in the second minute of added time when he raced from midfield as the Blues tried to force a late equaliser before slipping a low shot past a helpless Matthew Connor from the left side of the penalty area.

Waterford United: Matthew Connor; Dean Reidy, Shane Dineen, Patrick Fitzgerald, Shaun Corcoran; Glen Hawe (Shane Nolan ‘46),Anthony McAlavey, Brian Nolan,Anthony O’Donnell(Thomas Croke `80) ;Jack Doherty; Willie John Kiely (Greg Peel
‘71)

Finn Harps: Ciarn Gallagher, Keith Cowan, Ciaran Coll, Josh Mailey, Tommy McGonagle, Damien McNulty, Raymond Foy (Tony McNamee ‘66) Regan Donelon (McHugh ‘84), Gareth Harkin, Ruairi Keating, Brian McGroary (Funston ‘59)

Referee: David Keeler (Cork)

Matt Keane

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