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Match Report - Finn Harps v Kerry FC

Match Report – Finn Harps v Kerry FC

Match Report: SSE Airtricity Men’s First Division

Finn Harps 1-0 Kerry FC

By: Ivan Hurley

Kerry FC made the 820km round trip to Ballybofey on Thursday night to face 5th-placed Finn Harps. A long journey on the best of days, but made all the tougher being on a Thursday night compared to the regular Friday night slot. Due to work commitments for players, a somewhat depleted squad made the journey to the North West but none the less, put up a stiff fight against the hosts.

It was a very evening open quarter in the summer sunshine in Donegal. Sean McGrath had an outside-of-the-box effort saved by Oliver-Hiemer in the Harps goal before Ryan Kelliher’s overhead effort went wide of the mark. Kerry will be thankful to goalkeeper Aaron O’Sullivan who made some super saves throughout the game. The first on 17 minutes when Harps played a lovely through ball into Ferry, but Aaron was down well to his right after rushing off his line. A brave save by the Killarney man.

Kerry had the first real effort that the crowd thought was in. Ronan Teahan lined up a shot from about 30 yards and with the keeper beaten, the ball rattled the right-hand post and away. Agonisingly close to the visitors taking the lead after 21 minutes. O’Sullivan was once again called into play and saved another big shot from Ferry on the half-hour mark. But in the 36th minute, Harps took the lead through Patton. The goal came from a Kerry FC ball into the box which was defended well. The hosts counter-attacked through 4 or 5 different players before Patton slotted the ball home to give the hosts a 1-0 lead at the break.

Then majority of the second half was played out in a similar vein to the first. Aaron O’Sullivan pulling off some brilliant saves to keep Kerry in with a fighting chance of getting back into it with big saves to deny Patton and Edogun’s efforts. The hosts really should have been 2-0 after 80 minutes. McAteer with the goal at his mercy managed to drag the ball to the wrong side of the far post to the agony of the home support. But in an end-to-end encounter Daniel Okwute had a chance to level up the scoring with just minutes on the clock, but he dragged his effort to the right of the post and wide.

Some unsavoury scenes ensued after the full-time whistle which saw the referee flash 3 red cards. Conor McCarthy and Kennedy Amechi being shown straight reds along with a Finn Harps coach McHugh.

So it was to be a defeat for Kerry on the road by the smallest of margins. Next up, Kerry entertain Bray Wanderers in Mounthawk Park next Friday night.

Finn Harps: Tim Hiemer, Jamie Watson, Noe Baba, Matt Makinson, Kevin Jordan, Gavin McAteer, Ryan Rainey, Sean Patton, Tony McNamee, Patrick Ferry, Success Edogun.

Stephen Doherty for Jordan (73), Conor Tourish for McAteer (90), Max Hutchison for McNamee (90), Max Johnston for Ferry (90)

Kerry FC: Aaron O’Sullivan, Samuel Aladesanusi, Andy Spain, Ethan Kos, Sean O’Connell, Ronan Teahan, Daire McCarthy, Sean McGrath, Kennedy Amechi, Ryan Kelliher, Nathan Gleeson.

Daniel Okwute for Amechi (ht), Cian Brosnan for Gleeson (71), Graham O’Reilly for Teahan (77)