League Report: Kerry 2 - 0 Finn Harps

Kerry snapped their winless streak in style as Ryan Kelliher and former, Finn Harps man, Daniel Okwute struck in the second half to damage the Donegal side’s promotion bid.

The sides’ first meeting this season, up in Finn Park ended goal-less and although Harps entered this one having scored three goals in successive games, the first half action was more reminiscent of Ballybofey’s scoreless stalemate.

Valerii Dolia was the ace up Kerry’s sleeve with the Ukrainian sliding former Finn Harps man, Okwute in down the left. The winger cut inside of Jamie Watson with his low shot forcing goalkeeper, Conor Walsh into an alert stop down to his right.

Kerry, with Kelliher also lively, nearly had Okwute through one-on-one only for recovering, defender, Luke O’Brien to intervene with an immaculate last-gasp tackle.

Okwute was proving a handful on the astro turf as demonstrated in his creation of the game’s clearest chance five minutes before the break.

Sean McGrath and Kelliher combined to put Okwute into space on the right. Advancing into the box, Okwute’s chipped cross was thundered towards goal by Kelliher’s header, the forward unfortunate to see the ball bounce off the crossbar and back into a grateful Walsh’s grasp.

For Harps, Patrick Ferry battled hard in midfield but saw Kerry captain, Andy Spain expertly guide his cross to safety. Then the in-form Success Edogun tried his luck but shot straight at Antonio Tuta, another old Harps player.

Struggling to get their attackers involved, Sean O’Connell’s form on namesake O’Donnell left the travelling support hoping for a second half of renewed firepower.

If the Mounthawk Park crowd were eagerly anticipating better fare early after the interval, they were left underwhelmed by an initial spell of scrappiness.

However, the hosts were cheering loud and proud fifty-five minutes in.

McGrath’s silky dribble down the left forced Noe Baba to concede a corner.

Harps, collectively, fell asleep at the set piece as a dozing defence allowed Kelliher to wander in unmarked with the Kerry number nine sending a bullet header into the far top right corner from O’Connell’s wicked delivery.

Displeased, away manager, Darren Murphy immediately sent his substitutes down the touchline to warm up. Whilst, on the pitch, Edogun was denied a penalty by referee, Mark Moynihan after clashing with Spain.

On the hour, Okwute should have doubled Kerry’s lead but blazed high when well-placed inside the area.

The winger, though, did come back to haunt Harps just moments later.

Dolia drove purposefully through a parting midfield, stripped of Tony McNamee’s leadership and David Cawley’s nous, releasing an overlapping McGrath on the left.

O’Brien and Baba both desperately tried to hack clear but succeeded only in propping the ball up for Okwute to thrash home from a yard out.

Walsh then kept his side in it with a brilliant one-on-save to prevent McGrath making it three.

Murphy threw fifteen-year-old, Gavin McAteer into the furnace. Despite the defeat, a first team debut that the teenager will cherish!

Both teams travel to face Cobh Ramblers on their next away game but before that for Harps come a home double-header against Wexford and Athlone Town.


Kerry: Antonio Tuta; Kevin Williams, Ethan Kos, Andy Spain ©, Sean O’Connell (Samuel Aladesanusi 71), Daire McCarthy, Sean McGrath (Nathan Gleeson 82), Kennedy Amechi, Valerii Dolia, Ryan Kelliher, Daniel Okwute (Finn Barrett 90+2).

Subs not used: Aaron O’Sullivan (gk), Steven Healy, Cian Brosnan, Victor Udeze, Graham O’Reilly, Evison Rramani.

Booked: Sean O’Connell (45).


Finn Harps: Conor Walsh; Jamie Watson, Shane McMonagle, Noe Baba, Luke O’Brien, Ryan Rainey ©, Patrick Ferry (Aaron McLaughlin 64), Stephen Doherty (Chris Lotefa 64), Max Johnston (Gavin McAteer 78), Success Edogun, Sean O’Donnell (Darragh Coyle 64).

Subs not used: Tim Heimer.

Booked: Ryan Rainey (84).


Referee: Mark Moynihan.

Attendance: 420.

extratime.com Player of the Match: Ryan Kelliher (Kerry FC).