Finn Harps 1 - 1 Limerick FCSat, Aug 18 2012
Limerick FC are in the driving seat for top honours in the Airtricity League First Division and their point against Finn Harps guarantees them a play-off spot at the very worst
Shane Tracy scored the opening goal in fortuitous fashion two minutes shy of the interval when his free-kick took a huge deflection off the unfortunate Aaron O’Hagan in the wall to wrong-foot Ciaran Gallagher in the Harps goal
It was an undeserved slice of bad luck for the hosts. The Ballybofey side went into the match on the back of a six-game unbeaten run that stretched back to June and their first half performance was arguably as good as anything they’ve produced all season, especially when considering the lofty status of the opposition.
Rather peculiarly, at a stage in part two when Limerick appeared to be as comfortable as one can be with a one-goal lead, Paul McVeigh stabbed past Barry Ryan from six yards 0ut following James Doherty’s inviting centre on 73 minutes.
The hosts opened much the brighter in a reasonably entertaining first 45 minutes. Limerick had Robert Kluciar to thank for a last ditch challenge to deny McVeigh moments after the lively Harps frontman was narrowly off the mark with a volley.
Limerick were slow to start but as they felt their way into the match, they shrieked for a penalty when Gallagher in the Harps goal went to ground as Sean Brosnan snuck in late and was felled. However, match referee Ray Matthews merely shook his head and signalled for play to continue.
Just kettles were coming to the boil as the first half drew to a close with stalemate expected to continue, Tracy’s goal edged Limerick in front for the first time. Pat Scully’s team had beaten Harps in all three earlier meetings this term.
Brosnan went close twice at the start of the second half. First, Gallagher did well to turn his drive around the post in a crowded penalty area and from the resultant corner, which was devilishly delivered by Tracy, the visiting midfielder headed just wide. Moments later, though, Brosnan was lucky to remain on the pitch when he went in with two feet up on Doherty.
Limerick appeared to look that little bit more in control of the situation after the break but McVeigh’s equaliser breathed life into the home support. It was just reward for the frontman who had been the liveliest player on the pitch.
Both teams maintained their shape and neither party had any clear-cut chance to win the game and a point apiece was perhaps a fair reflection of proceedings.
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; James Doherty, Thomas McMonagle, Keith Cowan, Ciaran Coll (Mark Scoltock 66); Gary Merritt (Adam Clarke 66), Aaron O’Hagan, Shaun McGowan, Paul McVeigh; Matthew Harkin, Kevin McHugh.
Subs not used: Michael Funston, Shaun Patton, Thomas Bonner, Jordan Duffy, Christopher McBride.
Bookings: O’Hagan (31), McVeigh (53).
Limerick FC: Barry Ryan; Shaun Kelly, Robert Kluciar, Pat Purcell, Shane Tracy; Jeffrey Judge (Stephen Bradley 83), Joe Gamble, Sean Brosnan, Corie Treacy; Dom Foley (Denis Behan 85), Rory Gaffney.
Subs not used: Shane Cusack, Cian Collins, Shane Guthrie, James McGrath, Derek O’Brien.
Bookings: Brosnan (49).
Referee: Ray Matthews.
Extratime.ie man of the match: Paul McVeigh (Finn Harps).