THREE FIRST half goals condemned Finn Harps to defeat in tonight’s north-west derby against Sligo Rovers at The Showgrounds.
Sligo Rovers 3 Finn Harps 1
Harps were three in arrears by half-time and a late Harry Ascroft goal did little to lift their spirits.
The defeat – coupled with UCD’s draw at St Patrick’s Athletic – means that Harps are five points ahead of UCD in the battle for survival.
Niall Watson, Ronan Murray and Sam Warde bagged the goals in an eight-minute scoring spree as Sligo eased to victory.
Sligo hit the front 21 minutes into the tie when Watson headed home from a Murray cross.
With Harps still stunned, Sligo hit a second only three minutes later as Murray fired past Mark Anthony McGinley in style.
Just before the half-hour mark, Warde’s corner evaded everyone in the area, including McGinley, as the home side moved three ahead.
Mark Timlin and Nathan Boyle had chances for Harps, whose manager Ollie Horgan was given his marching orders in the early stages of part two.
Ascoft did beat Ed McGinty late in the night, but it wasn’t to be for Harps, who had chances for Ascroft and ex-Sligo star Raffaele Cretaro in the closing chapter.
Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty; Niall Morahan, Danny Kane, John Mahon, Regan Donelon (James McGrath 82); Kris Twardek, Sam Warde, Daryl Fordyce (Scott Lynch 77), Niall Watson; Ronan Coughlan (Brian Morley 64), Ronan Murray.
Finn Harps: Mark McGinley; Keith Cowan, Sam Todd, Daniel O’Reilly (Mark Coyle half-time); Jacob Borg, Mark Russell; Ruairi Harkin (Tony McNamee 72), Gareth Harkin (Harry Ascroft half-time), Raffaele Cretaro, Mark Timlin; Nathan Boyle.
Referee: Ben Connolly.