With the last kick of the game, on-loan Michael O’Connor earned Finn Harps a draw with Derry City in Carrowmena this afternoon.
Finn Harps 1 Derry City 1
By Chris McNulty at The Warren. Pictures by Joe Boland, North West News Pix
Shamrock Rovers striker O’Connor, linked to a €70,000 move to Rotherham last month having caught the eye of Burnley in 2017, has agreed a loan switch to Harps and will be at Finn Park at least until the end of June.
O’Connor netted from the spot after Eoin Toal fouled Mark Hannon. As O’Connor’s spot kick hit the back of Gerard Doherty’s net, to cancel out Ronan Hale’s first-half strike, referee Garvan Taggart called full-time.
The capture of 19-year-old frontman O’Connor, whose brother Ciaran is also at Harps, looks an astute piece of business by Harps manager Ollie Horgan.
“We need to get to the summer, when it will be reviewed,” Horgan said. “We need to get there first!
“We will need everyone on the same page and some lads have only just come in so are a little bit behind the rest.”
Sam Todd, a loan signing from Derry, partnered Eric Whelan, a former Dundalk player who has signed for Harps, and captain Ciaran Coll in a three-man rearguard with new recruits Aidan Friel, Mark Coyle, Ciaran O’Connor and John O’Flynn all included from the off.
It was certainly a useful run out for a competitive Harps side, who were well balanced and organised.
They fell behind when Ronan Hale’s left-footed strike from 25 yards flew beyond the reach of Harps net minder Peter Burke.
It took a block from Whelan, who looked assured throughout, to keep Rory Patterson at bay after good link-up by Hale and Nicky Low.
Early in the second half, Gareth Harkin forced Gerard Doherty, the Derry goalkeeper, into action and Michael O’Connor finished off a delicious ball by Paddy McCourt, only for a disputed offside flag to chalk it off.
A low, drilled attempt by Friel was wide while Coll took off the line from John Cofie before O’Connor secured a share of the spoils just as the adjacent waters were become rather choppy.
Finn Harps: Peter Burke; Eric Whelan, Sam Todd, Ciaran Coll; Aidan Friel, Gareth Harkin, Paddy McCourt, Mark Coyle, Mark Timlin; Ciaran O’Connor, John O’Flynn. Subs: Michael O’Connor for C.O’Connor, Lee Toland for Timlin, BJ Banda for Harkin, Jesse Devers for O’Flynn, Mark Hannon for McCourt, Darragh Ellison for Whelan, Dylan McCroary for Coyle.
Derry City: Gerard Doherty; Dapo Kayode, Eoin Toal, Armin Aganovic, Niall Loge; Nicky Low, Darren Cole, Aaron McEneff, Ronan Hale; Rory Hale, Rory Patterson. Subs: Adrian Delap for Cole, Chris Turner for for Rory Hale, John Cofie for Patterson, Nathan Boyle for Ronan Hale.
Referee: Garvan Taggart.