League Report: Finn Harps 1 - 1 UCD

Sean O'Donnell in action for Finn Harps

Sean O'Donnell in action for Finn Harps Credit: Clare McCahill (ETPhotos)

Success Edogun’s second-half strike salvaged a point for Finn Harps as their ten men rallied to leave UCD frustrated as the sides drew for the third time this season in Ballybofey.

Down to ten men after Sean O’Donnell’s red card midway through the first half, Harps almost made it to half-time intact.

But a clever turn and finish from Jake Doyle had UCD in front. Roared on at home, though, Harps levelled through Edogun’s excellent finish to restore parity.

Bolstered by Shane McMonagle and Kevin Jordan’s availability as substitutes, the latter for the first time this season, Harps began the brighter.

Captain, Tony McNamee was, as ever, typically productive on the ball, crafting half-openings for O’Donnell and a rampaging Jamie Watson down the right, both of which came to nought.

UCD suffered a blow when Ronan Finn limped off early. Yet, they survived more home pressure as O’Donnell almost released McNamee before Edogun’s close-range attempt was superbly blocked by Eanna Clancy, wearing the armband since Finn’s departure.

Then came the flashpoint.

O’Donnell hared after a forward ball but instead saw the decision go against him as referee, Alan Patchell, awarded UCD a defensive free-kick for O’Donnell’s perceived simulation.

Furious, the Harps number twenty instigated a series of handbags, Adam Verdon and Hugh Parker, Finn’s replacement, prominent amongst the shoving.

Patchell wasted no time in showing O’Donnell a straight red with the Harps youngster left with a long, lonely walk to the changing rooms, past a visibly irate, Head Coach, Darren Murphy in the dugout.

Under the cosh, Harps held out for a while, Matty Makinson and Noe Baba expertly ushering the backline into shape.

Then, they were undone.

Clancy strode forward from halfway, beyond a tired press. The defender’s cute pass found Doyle’s run into the box. Having spun a dozing Ryan Rainey out of the equation, Doyle drilled a precise finish past Tim Heimer.

After Murphy doubtless provided some much-needed words of wisdom to his players over the interval, Harps came out rejuvenated.

Within seven minutes, they were rewarded. Aaron McLaughlin, who had toiled away all evening, slid a super ball down the left channel. Edogun’s pace breezed him beyond Alex Dunne before the striker, Harps top scorer this season, slid an inch-perfect finish into the bottom left corner to register his third goal in as many matches against The Students.

Geed up, McNamee’s thunderous hit forced UCD stopper, Kian Moore into a fine sprawling save.

Heroes were everywhere in the Finn Harps side as UCD turned the screw, the Dublin side seeing all of the ball. Yet, Rainey and Luke O’Brien, on sperate occasions, flung themselves in the way to preserve Harps’ goal.

In the end, whilst Mikey McCullagh patrolled menacingly, forcing Heimer to paw a late cross away, UCD were unable to breach a Finn Harps brick wall of defence.

That the visitor’s best opening fell to defender, Dunne spoke volumes as he saw a looping header first saved by Heimer then alertly cleared by the outstanding Baba.

And so, a point apiece as both go into the midseason break in promising league positions. Harps return to action with a trip to Bishopsgate to face Longford Town. UCD are also on the road, at St Colman’s Park to play Cobh Ramblers next time out.


Finn Harps: Tim Heimer; Jamie Watson, Matty Makinson, Noe Baba, Stephen Doherty (Max Johnston 82), Ryan Rainey, Tony McNamee ©, Luke O’Brien, Sean O’Donnell, Success Edogun (David Cawley 90+1), Aaron McLaughlin (Patrick Ferry 62).

Subs not used: Conor Walsh (gk), Kevin Jordan, Mark Mbuli, Darragh Coyle, Shane McMonagle, Gavin McAteer.

Booked: Ryan Rainey (26), Tim Heimer (71).

Sent Off: Sean O’Donnell (25).


UCD: Kian Moore; Alex Dunne, Eanna Clancy, Mikey McCullagh, Ronan Finn © (Hugh Parker 14), Michael Raggett (Stephen Mohan 82), Niall Holohan, Danu Kinsella-Bishop (Colin Bolton 82), Adam Verdon, Luke O’Regan, Jake Doyle.

Subs not used: Dara Kavanagh (gk), Sam Norval, Adam Brennan, Kyle Donoghue, Sean Mackey.

Booked: Hugh Parker (68).


Referee: Alan Patchell.

Attendance: 668.

Extratime.com Player of the Match: Noe Baba (Finn Harps).