Date: 8 p.m. Nov. 2, 2009
Venue: Finn Park
Att: 419

Gary Whoriskey 19' -
Scored: 19'

Scored: 30'
- Tony Griffiths 30'

Scored: 33'
- Derek Doyle 33'

Scored: 79'
- Anthony Flood 79'

Finn Harps 1 - 3 Shelbourne

Mon, Nov 02 2009
“We’re only here to see your gravel,” was one of the Shelbourne supporters’ jovial chants from the Finn Park terrace as their side ground out the win that puts them within touching distance of avoiding a road trip in the promotion play-off.

By the end of 90 minutes, those who tipped up from the capital had even more reason to have their voices heard, as a 3-1 win, courtesy of Tony Griffiths, Derek Doyle and Anthony Flood goals after Gary Whoriskey’s opener for Harps, lifted them back to second place in the standings.

With their last fixture of the campaign at table croppers Kildare County on Saturday night, all the team managed by Dermot Keely need to do is match Sporting Fingal’s points haul from their game against a reeling Athlone Town at the Morton Stadium, to be home against Liam Buckley’s team in the one-legged play-off.

The reference to the gravel from the Drumcondra delegation was a throwback to their visit to the same ground in Ballybofey in early May. Then, the game had to be postponed an hour before kick-off when thousands of small stony pieces were found on the pitch after an attempt to dry the wet surface with sand spectacularly backfired.

Two weeks ago, another Shelbourne trip to Donegal got stuck in the traps when the pitch was deemed to be waterlogged, and with so much rainfall in the north-west on Monday, it was feared the contest might again fall foul of the weather.

The needs and wants of Harps and Shelbourne were certainly some distance apart into tonight’s meeting, but an edge has developed in this fixture since both have fallen from grace. Shelbourne had only beaten Harps once in six First Division meetings in the last three seasons, but they tipped a more favourable slant on that statistic with a competent showing tonight.

James Gallagher’s young Harps side knew that for all intents and purposes, a win either tonight and again on Saturday night when Monaghan United visit will not lift them above eighth place in the standings, but they started brightly.

Whoriskey’s perfectly flighted free-kick on 19 minutes from almost 30 yards on the right channel caught Shelbourne goalkeeper Dean Delaney unaware. The Gweedore native’s swerving shot was excellently placed, after Damien Brennan had fouled Fintan Bonner, in by the near post when Delaney had taken a step of two in the other direction, presumably expecting a cross.

That goal spurred the contest into action and it was the visitors that seized the initiative. Within 11 minutes they were level when Griffiths stabbed home from close range after Harps netminder Ciaran Gallagher blocked a fizzling centre from Derek Doyle after Robbie Hedderman and David McAllister were also involved.

Then, on 33 minutes, Shelbourne went ahead with a goal of genuine quality. After Stephen McLaughlin was dispossessed in the centre of the field, three one-touch passes, from David Cassidy, Mark O’Brien and Griffiths set Doyle away. With the Harps defence as square as they would have been had Pythagoras drawn the line, Doyle’s run was perfectly timed and he finished coolly past Gallagher in the one-on-one.

Both parties had only half chances in the second period. Delaney wasn’t tested as much as the home support might have liked, and at the other end Griffiths improvised to hook an effort wide of the post. However, the contest was put beyond all reasonable doubt when a ball over the top was latched onto by substitute Flood, who strode in to make it 3-1 on 79 minutes.

Shelbourne hope the way back to Premier is still on track, and whether there’s gravel or no gravel on the surface, they feel as though they’re on the doorstep of where they belong. Time will tell.

Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; Ian Rossiter, Packie Mailey, Seamus Sharkey, Gary Whoriskey; Christy Conaghan (Conor Gethins 71); Michael Funston, Shaun McGowan, Marc Brolly (Oisin McMenamin 71); Fintan Bonner, Stephen McLoughlin.

Shelbourne: Dean Delaney; Stephen Quigley, Alan Keely (Michael Synnott 57), Damien Brennan, Robbie Hedderman; Richie Baker (Colin O’Brien 48), Mark O’Brien, David McAllister, David Cassidy; Tony Griffiths (Anthony Doyle 72), Derek Doyle.

Referee: Phil Cascera.

Finn Harps
Ciaran Gallagher
Ian Rossiter
Packie Mailey
Seamus Sharkey
Gary Whoriskey
19Scored: 19'
Shaun McGowan
Michael Funston
Christy Conaghan
Marc Brolly
Stephen McLaughlin
Fintan Bonner

Oisin McMenamin
Conor Gethins
Dean Delany
Alan Keely
Robbie Hedderman
Damien Brennan
Stephen Quigley
Mark O'Brien
David McAllister
David Cassidy
Richie Baker
Tony Griffiths
30Scored: 30'
Derek Doyle
33Scored: 33'

Anthony Flood
79Scored: 79'
Colin O'Brien
Michael Synnott

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