Cian Leonard’s 22nd minute goal handed Finn Harps their first home League defeat of the season tonight.
Finn Harps 0 Cobh Ramblers 1
Leonard struck to give Cobh Ramblers the win in Ballybofey that ended a run of five games without defeat for Harps, who fall to fourth in the standings as a result.
It was a Harps side that, without the class of Paddy McCourt, lacked adventure and creativity in the final third, particularly in the closing stages when one might have expected a little more urgency from the hosts.
Cobh stole a march midway through the first half on a breakaway. BJ Banda’s swept pass out towards Michael O’Connor was intercepted and Cobh hit on the counter.
The move ended with David Hurley and Leonard combining with the latter applying the finish past the advancing Ciaran Gallagher. It was a goal that would give the southerners a win that was their first in 21 attempts against Harps.
Cobh might’ve doubled the lead on 34 minutes when a left-footed attempt by Hurley that beat Gallagher careered off the inside of the post.
In between times, Harps had a great chance to draw level, but Michael O’Connor nodded inches over after connecting with a Jesse Deevers cross.
Harps made two changes from the side that drew 0-0 with Shelbourne last week. There were returns for Aidan Friel and Banda with Keith Cowan injured – although the Ramelton man was named among the replacements – and Paddy McCourt unavailable as he attended a friend’s wedding.
Harps were dealt a big blow in first-half stoppage time as Lee Toland was carted off on a stretcher. Toland fell awkwardly and appeared to hurt his right ankle with Niall McGinley coming on.
Harps had won each of their last five games against the Ramblers and had lost just twice in the previous 20 before this one.
Michael O’Connor glanced a header at Paul Hunt six minutes into the second half as Harps went in search of an equaliser, while a Banda daisy-cutter warmed the keeper’s palms from distance.
Harps had a decent chance after the hour when Michael O’Connor’s shot was blocked down and McGinley’s follow-up flew over the top.
In added time at the end, Michael O’Connor, when the ball broke from a Cowan header, was denied by Hunt, who did well to gather with sub Adam Duffy ready to pounce.
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; Aidan Friel, Sam Todd, Ciaran Coll, Lee Toland (Niall McGinley 45+7); Jesse Devers, Mark Coyle, Tommy McBride, Michael O’Connor; Ciaran O’Connor (Adam Duffy 76), BJ Banda (Keith Cowan 79).
Cobh Ramblers: Paul Hunt; Kevin Taylor, Ben O’Riordan, James MacSweeney, Adam O’Sullivan; Jaze Kabia (Stephen Christopher 68), Darren Murphy, Pierce Phillips, Anthony McAlavey (Denzel Fernandes 90+3); Cian Leonard (Andrew Wall 77), David Hurley.
Referee: Alan Carey.