Two penalties from former Finn Harps star Michael Funston secured an exciting Four Lanterns USL win for Bonagee United over the Harps Reserves last night.
Bonagee United 6 Finn Harps Reserves 3
By Chris McNulty at Dry Arch Park
Funston, who played 335 times for Harps in the League of Ireland, netted from the spot in each half to get Jason Gibson’s team back to winning ways.
Bonagee had to come from 3-1 down after Corey McBride, Zach Gorman and Niall McGinley responded to an early Jordan Armstrong goal for the home side.
Deano Larkin, Garbhan Grant and substitute Mark McLaughlin also netted for the Dry Arch men as they took the spoils from an exciting tussle.
It was only when Funston blasted high to the Harps net in the 75thminute, after Larkin was fouled, that Bonagee could breathe.
Soon after, McLaughlin added the sixth from close range to put it beyond the reach of Harps.
Bonagee were looking for a quick reaction following a heavy 4-1 loss to Midleton from Cork in the FAI Intermediate Cup on Sunday – and they got it with the lead goal after just five minutes.
Armstrong latched onto a dropping ball from a Bonagee corner and his deflected effort from 20 yards wrong-footed the Harps ‘keeper, Jamie Bell.
Bonagee boss Gibson has lamented his team’s frailties at the back over the course of the opening four months of his tenure – and they came home to roost again just five minutes later.
The home rear guard was all at sea as Gorman was allowed to square across goal for McBride to tuck into the unguarded net.
With Shaun Patton injured and John Roulstone unavailable, it was the turn of David Tyrell to don the number 1 shirt for Bonagee – the Letterkenny man making his return to the position for the first time since he was a youth player at Harps.
Tyrell was beaten in the 23rdminute by another incisive Harps attack that, again, cut right through Bonagee’s arteries. This time, Pat Loughrey was the provider from the left-hand side and Gorman was on hand to tuck home.
Harps extended the advantage less than a minute later when an audacious strike by McGinley – who graduated to the Harps senior squad in 2018 – from the edge of the centre circle, flew into the roof of Tyrell’s net.
Bonagee hit back on 34 minutes when Larkin finished after good work by Michael Doherty, whose zipped cross from the left was steered in by the in-rushing midfielder.
Doherty screwed wide as Bonagee set about getting themselves back on an even keel.
The hosts did equalise in added time at the end of the half when Funston stroked home a penalty, flagged by assistant referee Alistair Gourley when Grant was upended.
Three minutes into the second half, Grant beat the Harps offside trap and slotted home.
Bell clawed away a dangerous Doherty cross on the hour and, down the other end, it took a goal-line intervention by Sean Hume to prevent Ronan Gallagher from converting at the far post.
Bonagee United:David Tyrell; Sean Hume, Gareth Breslin, Thomas McMonagle; Mark Harkin, Michael Funston, Ryan Rainey, Deano Larkin, Michael Doherty; Jordan Armstrong; Garbhan Grant.
Finn Harps Reserves: Jamie Bell; Ryan Finn, Keenan Diver, Keelin McGill, Daragh Ellison; Corey McBride, Steven Doherty, Niall McGinley, Pat Loughrey; Ronan Gallagher, Zach Gorman.