Maguire in right place to ruin McCourt's Harps debut
Finn Harps 0 Cork City 1
Sean Maguire spoiled Paddy McCourt's League of Ireland return last night.
Maguire netted right on the blow of the half-time whistle for a barely-deserved win from the 2016 FAI Cup winners.
McCourt played the final 20 minutes, but couldn't inspire a comeback for his new side.
Maguire pounced to steer home from close range after getting on the end of a Jimmy Keohane flick on.
Cork were inches from a second in the early moments of the second half. After Maguire got a flick on to a Steven Dooley corner, Ryan Delaney's effort rebounded off a post and Barry Molloy, just, managed to clear.
After three pitch inspections, Finn Park was given the go-ahead by referee Rob Rogers three hours before kick-off and the constant drizzle hardly aided the night's participants.
Chances were few and far between with a Kevin O'Connor effort that was saved by Harps 'keeper Gallagher.
Tough Cork, captained by Ballybofey-born Johnny Dunleavey, lining at Finn Park for the first time, found Harps a tough nut to crack.
Caolan McAleer - one of four debutants in the Harps XI - forced Mark McNulty into action with a powerful shot in the 58th minute, but his effort was kept out.
Harps brought McCourt on to a big welcome with 20 minutes to go as they sought to salvage something from the tie.
The former Celtic winger and Northern Ireland international was signed by Harps this week to end a week of speculation in the north-west.
Conor McCormick was denied by Gallagher and his follow-up flew dangerously across the goalmouth. Cork were reduced to ten men on 75 minutes when Garry Buckley was sent off for a second booking.
Harps will have been content with how they had performed until Maguire show his killer instincts with what proved the match-winner. Last season, Maguire bagged a winner late in the game from a penalty. It was earlier, here, but every bit as vital.
FINN HARPS - C Gallagher; E Boyle, D McNulty, K Cantwell, C Coll; C McAleer, B Molloy (G Harkin 78), J Bonner, S Houston (P McCourt 70); D Morrissey (E Dsane 78), C O'Connor.
CORK CITY - M McNulty; C McCormack, J Dunleavy, R Delaney, K O'Connor; J Keohane, G Morrissey, G Bolger (K Sheppard 70), S Dooley (A Bennett 90); G Buckley; S Maguire.
REF - R Rogers (Dublin)