Lilywhites Held By Harps
Dundalk were held to a 1-1 draw by Finn Harps on Friday evening in Ballybofey.
Keith Cowan had given the hosts the lead against the run of play just before half-time however captain Brian Gartland got the equaliser with 20 minutes remaining.
Daniel O’Reilly had the first effort of the game when he headed just wide from the first Finn Harps corner of the evening while at the other end, Sean Murray responded with a first time volley after a breaking ball bounced in his favour however it was straight at Peter Burke.
Michael Duffy was set away by Dane Massey at a throw-in and he volleyed superbly on the turn however it was brilliantly tipped around the post by Burke.
Massey was provider once more but this time via cross and he found the head of Patrick Hoban but his header was glanced just over the bar.
Dean Jarvis, operating in the centre of midfield, was next but his shot after being teed up by Sean Gannon was saved by the goalkeeper.
Dundalk continued to press and should have taken the lead when Murray brilliantly set up Hoban however his acrobatic kick went inches wide of the right hand post.
Duffy’s corner on the left was nodded on by Sean Hoare in search of Brian Gartland however it he couldn’t get a touch to send it goalwards.
Massey came closest for the champions when he stood up to take a free-kick 25 yards from goals after Hoban was fouled however his superb strike came back off the crossbar.
Despite the dominance, Dundalk fell 1-0 behind just before the break.
Raff Cretaro’s corner found Keith Cowan and he headed into the bottom left corner.
Hoare almost responded for the Lilywhites with a header from Duffy’s corner however it was just wide on the stroke of half-time.
Just after the break, Harps almost doubled the advantage when Nathan Boyle pulled back for Cretaro but his shot was scrambled away after Rogers saved.
Dundalk continued the possession game after that though and a superb through ball from Duffy found Mountney who got it around the goalkeeper however he lost his footing at the key moment and the chance went.
Dundalk got the equaliser that they deserved with 20 minutes left on the watch.
Duffy took a superb corner on the right and it was met powerfully by captain Gartland who found the net leaving Burke with no chance.
It looked like the Lilywhites had gone in front when Duffy again was the creator and Hoare knocked the ball back across goal but somehow Gartland and Murray had chances cleared from the line.
Niall McGinley found himself through on goal however Hoare did superbly to recover with his pace and make a last ditch block.
Duffy then retrieved what looked like an impossible ball on the left and found his way through on goal however his excellent chip was clawed away by the goalkeeper.
That proved to be the final action of note as referee Rob Rogers blew the full-time whistle in Donegal.
FINN HARPS: Peter Burke; John Kavanagh, Keith Cowan,Jacob Borg, Sam Todd; Mark Coyle, Gareth Harkin, Daniel O’Reilly, Nathan Boyle (Caolan McAleer 85); Sean Boyd (Mikey Place 67), Raff Cretaro (Niall McGinley 75).
Substitutes not used: Colm Deasy, Liam Walsh, Tony McNamee, Ciaran Gallagher (GK)
Booked: Coyle (59)
DUNDALK: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Brian Gartland, Sean Hoare, Dane Massey; Chris Shields, Dean Jarvis (Jordan Flores 76); John Mountney (Daniel Kelly 64), Sean Murray (Cameron Dummigan 85), Michael Duffy; Patrick Hoban.
Substitutes not used: Georgie Kelly, Stephen Folan, Daniel Cleary, Aaron McCarey (GK)
Booked: Massey (45)
Sent off: None.
Referee: Rob Rogers