Finn Harps 0 Galway FC 0
By Chris McNulty at Finn Park
IT was Finn Harps’s season in a nutshell at Finn Park on Friday night.
A scoreless draw with Galway FC made Ollie Horgan’s words of last month ring true once more. The Harps manager had said that his team would be ‘hard to beat, but will find it hard to beat teams as well’.
Well-organised and solid at the back, Harps don’t gift too many chances to the opposition, but they’ve found goalscoring to be a lost art these days.
Harps have now five clean sheets in their last six outings, but in that same period just three goals have been scored.
Harps have lost just once in their last ten outings and Sean McCarron was a whisker away from what would have been a glorious winner on Friday, striking the crossbar from distance in the 78th winner.
It was a game of few clear-cut chances, although Harps did have more in the way of creativity than they’d shown the previous week in a scoreless stalemate against Cobh Ramblers.
Play-off chasing Galway, against whom Harps have already played out two drawn games this season, were without Ryan Manning for this one and they missed his talents, even if they did have some of thee better openings of the night.
Vinny Faherty had the best chance of the first half, but his finish let him down as he stroked weakly wide of Conor Winn’s far post after he intercepted a wayward pass from Sean McCarron that was intended for Packie Mailey.
Gary Shanahan and Faherty again had chances, but neither could find the accuracy from similar positions.
Harps were most threatening from set pieces in the opening half with the deliveries from Gareth Harkin causing Galway some problems. From one such set piece, Harkin found Mailey, who rose well under pressure only to head wide.
Harkin himself had two attempts at breaking the deadlock, but was off target with both.
Galway were the more creative and always looked threatening on the break. Marc Ludden picked out Faherty, whose brilliant header looped up and just cleared the crossbar.
Jason Molloy beat Winn – who has played for Galway United, Salthill Devon and Mervue United – in the 55th minute after being put through by Ryan Connolly.
Without the services of the suspended Michael Funston and Josh Mailey, Horgan handed a rare start to Carel Tiofack, while Paul McVeigh made way to allow a recall for Sean McCarron, although there was no place in the matchday squad for Thomas McMonagle.
Tiofack was the architect of a good chance for McCarron after the hour mark, but the striker was denied by a good save from Ger Hanley, with what as his side’s first shot on target.
Hanley and Winn made saves from Jake Keeegan and McCarron as both sides went in search of a winner.
Twelve minutes from the end, McCarron smacked the crossbar from 20 yards. Steadying himself to shoot, McCarron had enough to beat Hanley, but a cracking effort flew back off the goalframe.
The shot lifted the volume and sub Paul McVeigh teed up McCarron, who did well to get a head in ahead of Hanley, but Harps couldn’t take advantage with the Galway goalkeeper off his line and the chance was gone.
Enda Curran, who has signed for Galway from Derry City, could have won it for the Tribesmen in injury time, but a chipped effort dipped a fraction too late, leaving Harps with their eighth draw of the campaign.
Finn Harps: Conor Winn; Caoimhin Bonner, Packie Mailey, Keith Cowan, Ciaran Coll; Damien McNulty; Carel Tiofack, Pat McCann, Gareth Harkin, Sean McCarron; Kevin McHugh.
Subs: Thomas Bonnar for McNulty (72 mins), Paul McVeigh for Tiofack (83 mins).
Galway FC: Ger Hanley; Colm Horgan, Alex Byrne, Stephen Walsh, Marc Ludden; Gary Shanahan, Paul Sinnott, Ryan Connolly, Jason Molloy; Jake Keegan, Vinny Faherty.
Subs: Enda Curran for Faherty (66 mins), Robbie Egan for Molloy (82 mins).
Referee: Darren Coombes (Dublin).