Dave Rogers’ first game in charge of Finn Harps ended in defeat at the hands of visiting Galway United.
Finn Harps 1 Galway United 2
The Harps saw themselves a goal down after just five minutes when Ronan Manning’s free was tapped in by Vincent Borden.
Ryan Rainey equalised just before half-time with a penalty but Borden scored again on the hour mark with the help of a deflection.
A crowded Finn Park gathered on a typically terrible night of conditions at Finn Park but the Donegal faithful supported their side all night.
Harps began with nine debutants in the starting side, with more familiar faces from 2022 in the Galway side than the Finn Harps team.
Keith Cowan was returning as captain, while Ryan Rainey was the only returning starter from last year.
Meanwhile, Rob Slevin and Regan Donelon made their return to Finn Park in the Galway starting line-up, with Ollie Horgan the Assistant Manager for The Tribesmen.
Galway started well on top with Ronan Manning letting one fly from the edge of the box inside two minutes but Tim Oliver Hiemer got down well to save.
But the visitors wouldn’t waste any time in opening the score, with a Manning free being controlled by Killian Brouder back across the face of goal, with Vincent Borden opening the scoring on his debut inside five minutes.
Keith Cowan then had to clear off the line after a quarter of an hour when Manning went on the attack down the left.
Another couple of Galway chances came twice in a minute when Hiemer was closed down by Stephen Walsh but when he turned to shoot the German goalkeeper was equal to it and a minute later he got down well to stop Rob Manley’s shot from the right hand side of the box.
Hiemer had another couple of saves to make from Manning and Walsh from distance but he saved well again while Harps only got up the other end with a Rainey shot blocked and a dangerous Flood cross.
Harps would get their equaliser however on the stroke of half-time through a Caoimhin Porter cross which was directed towards Michael Harris. The Convoy man was taken down in the box by Slevin and referee David Dunne pointed to the spot.
Ryan Rainey stepped up for the penalty and fired down the middle with Brendan Clarke diving to his right to level before the break.
Galway began the second half in the same vein as the first and were well on top, with a Manning strike from the edge of the box having the away fans celebrating, only to find out seconds later it had hit the side netting.
Seamas Keogh then had a strike well saved by Clarke just before the winner came on the hour mark.
A cross from Manning down the left fell to Borden on the edge of the box and his shot took a massive deflection leaving Hiemer no chance in the Finn Harps goal.
Cian Lynch made his debut off the bench and caused problems for the Galway United defence, nicking the ball off Slevin and racing through down the right but the angle was closed down and Clarke made the save.
Lynch then had a second chance with a front post header from a corner but he headed over from the edge of the six yard box.
Eddie McCarthy then should have made it 3-1 as the ball deflected to him on the halfway line and he raced clear of the Harps defence but his 1-0n-1 with Hiemer saw the German come out on top again.
Harps failed to create much in the latter stages of the game however as Galway held on comfortably to win by a goal at a packed Finn Park.
Finn Harps: Tim Hiemer; Caoimhin Porter, Ryan Flood, Daithi McCallion, Keith Cowan, Katlego Mashigo, Michael Harris, Seamas Keogh, Daniel Okutwe, Ellis Farrar, Ryan Rainey.
Subs: Cian Lynch for Okwute (52 mins), Filip Da Silva for Keogh (70 mins), Sean O’Donnell for Harris (88 mins)
Galway United: Brendan Clarke; Regan Donelon, Rob Slevin, Killian Brouder, Stephen Walsh, Rob Manley, Ronan Manning, Vincent Borden, Colm Horgan, Conor McCormack, Edward McCarthy.
Subs: David Hurley for Manley (59 mins), Maurice Nugent for McCarthy (82 mins), Michael Walsh Rowe for Manning and Francely Lomboto for Walsh (89 mins)
Referee: David Dunne.