Niall McGinley’s goal in the 31st minute lifted Finn Harps Under-17s above Dundalk in the League after a useful, but hard-earned win for Declan Boyle’s boys in blue at Finn Park.
Finn Harps 1 Dundalk 0
Harps were deserving winners, but some poor finishing could have proved fatal with the home side living dangerously at times.
But they took an impressive three points thanks to McGinley’s delicate header just past the half-hour.
Corrie Lee Bogan bent in a free-kick from wide on the left-hand side and, when it appeared as if the Castlefin man’s swerving effort was flying straight in, McGinley glanced home.
Harps were stung from a narrow 1-0 loss to Derry City in the Mark Farren Cup on Wednesday night in a game they dominated for long spells and Declan Boyle’s men were a side on a mission from the off here.
Towering centre-back Keenan Diver twice went close in the opening exchanges, heading wide from a Bogan corner before a second powerful header by the Killea man struck the crossbar, via the fingertips of Uli Keller, the Dundalk ‘keeper.
James Carolan hung in the air to meet a probing cross from Keelin McGill’s ball in, but couldn’t keep his effort down.
Harps had the ball in the net on 24 minutes as Carolan and Marc Walsh combined to good effect down the right, but Ryan Cunningham had strayed offside as he converted the cross from Walsh.
After Bogan’s opener, Harps weren’t far off a second when Carolan turned well on the edge of the area, but shot into the ‘keeper’s hands while Bogan riffled over from 20 yards.
Harps enjoyed plenty of the ball but, as has been a downfall of theirs in spells this season, they couldn’t put the issue to rest.
Walsh managed to get in, but was denied by Keeler and the Dundalk goalkeeper just about got his paws to another shot from Carolan.
Harps almost paid the price, but their own netminder Joe Boyle brilliantly saved from Luke Dorley, superbly arching up to his right to make the save, with Luke Byrne’s follow-up cannoning off the outside of the post.
Niall McGinley was closer than anyone to a second for Harps, but he flicked a Bogan free off the crossbar and substitute Jamie Brown was thwarted late in the day after he broke free in the area.
Harps held on to keep another clean sheet – their fourth of the season – and a fourth win sets them up nicely for a trip to leaders St Patrick’s Athletic next Sunday.
Finn Harps: Joe Boyle; Keelin McGill, Lee McLaughlin, Keenan Diver, Daragh Ellison; Corrie Lee Bogan, Conor O’Reilly, Marc Walsh (Jamie Brown 81), Ryan Cunningham; James Carolan, Niall McGinley (Stephen Doherty 78).
Dundalk FC: Uli Keller; Neil Kerr, Christian Jones, Mark Traynor, Ciaran Daly; Luke Gorham (Luke Byrne 63), Mark Duggan (Peter Shields (75)), Luke Doherty, Chris McFadden( Jamie Wynn 40); Daniel Bogdanous, Kevin Kelly (Mark Kilgallen 87).
Referee: Benny McBrideTags: