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Gaffney goal sinks Harps hopes

Finn Harps 0

Shamrock Rovers 1

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Finn Harps manager Ollie Horgan following his side's 1-0 defeat to Shamrock Rovers. Photo: Sportsfile

Finn Harps manager Ollie Horgan following his side's 1-0 defeat to Shamrock Rovers. Photo: Sportsfile

Finn Harps manager Ollie Horgan following his side's 1-0 defeat to Shamrock Rovers. Photo: Sportsfile

Rory Gaffney’s superb strike late in the first half ensured that Shamrock Rovers maintained a ten-point lead at the top of the Premier Division.

Finn Harps’ massed defence stood off and allowed Gaffney have a pop from almost 30 yards. Gaffney’s low shot found the net – and it proved to be the only goal of the game.

Rovers made much of the early play, but Gavin Mulreany, the Harps goalkeeper, saved after Dylan Watts capitalised on a slip by Rob Slevin.

Watts broke clear too after and got into the penalty box, but Mulreany was again on hand to make the save.

Harps did fashion a chance on 35 minutes, by Alan Mannus who was able to hold onto Barry McNamee’s half-volley from 20 yards. Just when it seemed as if Harps would hold on until the break, Gaffney broke the stalemate.

The champions might have doubled their lead in the second half, but Mulreany wonderfully turned over his crossbar when Watts tried his luck with a swerving effort from outside the area.

Rovers continued to probe, but Conor Tourish did enough to put Aaron Greene off as the Rovers attacker connected with Ronan Finn’s cross at the near post. 

Finn Harps - Mulreany; Carrillo (Mahdy 87), Tourish, N’Zeyi, Slevin, Donelon (Duncan 77); Mihaljević, Héry, Connolly, McNamee (Timlin 87); McWoods (Rudden 66).

Shamrock Rovers - Mannus; Gannon (Hoare 85), Lopes, Grace; Finn (Cotter 77), McCann (Towell 72), O’Neill, Kavanagh; Greene (Emakhu 77) Gaffney, Watts.

Ref - O Moran

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