Declan Boyle’s U17s lifted the Mark Farren Cup after a well-deserved win over Cork City at Finn Park – Darragh Ellison’s 87th-minute penalty ending their long wait for a national title.
Finn Harps 1 Cork City 0
By Stuart Connolly at Finn Park, Ballybofey
While Declan Boyle’s side have a playoff spot assured in the league, they took a break from that for a chance to lift some silverware.
Having dispatched of Derry, Sligo, Drogheda and Bray in the previous rounds, they prepare to face Cork City who themselves still have a chance of a playoff place in their league, sitting 7th.
They got the better of Cobh, Kerry, Galway and Cabinteely to reach the showpiece final.
Heavy rain before kick-off created the possibility for slips and trips throughout the game and there was a few during the first half – but none that caused any damage to either side.
The opening 10 minutes was very open but Harps showed early signs of high-pressure play.
Corrie McBride was vital to most of Harps chances as they controlled the game in many ways except the one way that mattered, the scoreline.
Cork were giving away a number of free kicks close to their own penalty and McBride stood over all of them.
The closest Harps came to a goal from these opportunities was through Joel Bradley Walsh, McBride’s free-kick was lofted in from the right side and Bradley Walsh was at the back post, but he saw his shot saved by Adam Cantwell. D
Darragh Ellison also had a chance from a right-sided free kick from McBride but his header was straight into the gloves of Cantwell as the first half ended scoreless.
The second half saw Harps continue their control but they couldn’t get that much-needed opening goal.
Ronan Gallagher tested his luck from range with little over 20 minutes to go but it sailed just over the bar.
Cork defended well for periods but failed to create anything concrete to test Eoin McGing as the game looked certain to be heading to extra time.
That changed though as the game approached added time.
When Gabriel Aduaka was upended in the area, Garvan Taggart pointed to the spot.
Captain Darragh Ellison stepped up and went for the top right corner, Cantwell got a strong hand on it but not enough to keep it out as Harps took the lead.
Harps ran down the clock in added time, regularly running to the corner flag and celebrations followed as the referee blew his whistle for full time.