Waterford United 1 Finn Harps 1
By Aidan O’Donnell in Waterford
SEAN McCarron climbed off the bench to salvage a deserved point for Finn Harps in their opening First Division encounter of 2013 against pre-season favourites Waterford United at the RSC.
McCarron, who only received his international clearance 24 hours earlier, was energetic and lively after replacing Aaron O’Hagan at the start of the second half and the striker nipped in behind the Waterford defence in the 89th minute to slam home an unstoppable effort under the body of former Longford ‘keeper Craig Hyland.
It was the least Harps deserved following a much-improved second period, however, a straight red card for Thomas McBride deep into stoppage time somewhat marred the result for the visitors, who extended their unbeaten run at the RSC to four with Friday’s result.
The midfielder was the victim of a poor call from referee Sean Grant following a tackle on Francis Rockett, which left players and management alike confused and incensed.
Nevertheless, it failed to take the gloss off an encouraging second-half performance from Harps, who went in 1-0 down at the break courtesy of Ben Ryan’s 19th minute opener.
Having gone the first 18 minutes without seeing any goal-mouth action, Harps manufactured two excellent openings in quick succession.
After Kavanagh was penalised for climbing all over McHugh, Matthew Crossan’s free-kick fell the way of centre-half Thomas McMonagle, whose half-volley flew inches over the crossbar.
Crossan was again the provider moments later as Michael Funston climbed highest at the back post, only to see his looping header fly agonisingly wide.
However, within a minute the hosts edged ahead when John Frost’s cross from the left-hand side was flicked on by Sullivan and Ryan converted unchallenged at the back post.
Waterford United: Craig Hyland; Dylan Mernagh, Gavin Kavanagh, David Breen, John Frost; Michael Coady, Francis Rockett, Peter Higgins, Ben Ryan; Vinny Sullivan, Paudie Quinn. Subs: Paul Quilty (Quinn, 69 mins), Kevin O’Connor (Higgins, 82 mins), Jack Doherty (Coady, 86 mins).
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; Damien McNulty, Keith Cowan, Thomas McMonagle, Matthew Crossan; Michael Funston, Aaron O’Hagan, Shaun McGowan, Thomas McBride, Marc Brolly; Kevin McHugh. Subs: Sean McCarron (O’Hagan, h.t), Paul McVeigh (Funston, 84 mins).
Referee: Sean Grant (Wexford).
SEE MONDAY’S DONEGAL NEWS FOR ALL THE ACTION AND REACTION FROM AIDAN O’DONNELL AND CHRIS MCNULTY IN WATERFORD
Posted: 12:02 am March 9, 2013