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Harps second from bottom with two games left

Finn Harps manager, Peter Hutton.

Finn Harps manager, Peter Hutton.

Wexford Youths 3 Finn Harps 1

FINN Harps enter 2013’s penultimate series of games with only Salthill Devon beneath them in the First Division table after Cobh Ramblers leapfrogged Peter  Hutton’s side.

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Rober Waters netted the only goal of the game to give Cobh a 1-0 win over Salthill – a win that moves them above Harps, who suffered another defeat at Ferrycarrig Park on Friday. Harps have taken only eight points out of a possible 45 in their last 15 League games and the season is in danger of now being one of the club’s worst ever.

With First Division champions Athlone in Ballybofey this Friday for Harps’ final home game, the ordeal will not want to become much worse before Hutton and the class of 2013 suffer the ignominy of having only the amateurs of Salthill worse off at the conclusion.

On Friday night, Darragh Walshe netted twice in the opening six minutes to give Wexford Youth’s a win over the Donegal side. Walshe’s early double gave Wexford a platform and while Thomas McMonagle pulled a goal back, Graham Delaney’s third put the beyond Harps, who lost Keith Cowan to a controversial red card early in the second half.

It was Walshe’s brace that got the evening off to a horrid start for Harps. Walshe prodded home in the second minute and then, four minutes later, the same player was allowed waltz in to score his side’s second.

“We gave ourselves a mountain to climb,” reflected Hutton.

“They broke away and scored with their first attack. It was really sloppy defending for the first two goals – we had a number of chances to clear our lines. We dwelt on it too much and a couple of boys came in with half-hearted tackles.”

Johnny Bonner and Paul McVeigh both spurned chances as Harps grew into the game. Two minutes before half-time, Harps pulled a goal back when McMonagle shot home from close range after Cowan rattled the crossbar.

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However, Delaney got in for a third Wexford goal just after the re-start.

Hutton said: “The start to the second half was the same as the first, sloppy defending and we paid the price for that.  It’s very disappointing when you lose goals like that.”

If his team’s defending angered him, Hutton was incensed at the decision to red card Cowan ten minutes into the second half. Cowan was deemed to have been the last defender when he fouled Walshe, but Harps claimed that Damien McNulty had been covering. However, Tommy Mazur, the referee, showed red to the Harps man on the advice of his linesman, Shane Dunphy.

Hutton said: “It was a shocking decision again.

“Keith and Damien McNulty were defending a through ball and he saw it as a red even though Damien was a few yards closer to goal. The linesman was further away from the play and he passes on information that it’s a red card. He’s been involved in four or five of our players getting sent off so we weren’t really too surprised.”

The best Harps could muster then was a Jordan Duffy effort that cracked against the crossbar, but it was to be another long journey home to the north-west.

Hutton said: “Overall, the scoreline flattered Wexford and their people were of the same opinion. Everything that could go against us went against us. It’s hard to stomach.”

Wexford Youths: Graham Doyle; Brian Nolan, Craig McCabe, Robert Maloney, Gary Delaney; Shane Nolan, Eric Molloy, Donal Shanley, Daragh Walshe; Danny Fitzpatrick, Graham Delaney. Sub: Paul Maloney for Maloney (half-time).

Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; Marty Owens, Damien McNulty, Keith Cowan, Thomas McMonagle; Jonny Bonner, Pat McCann, Josh Mailey; Mark Forker, Paul McVeigh, Lee Toland. Subs: Jordan Duffy for McVeigh (70 mins), Shaun McGowan for McNulty (73 mins).

Referee: Tommy Mazur

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