Wednesday 17 January 2018

Boyle settle Harps' nerves to keep promotion hopes alive

Finn Harps 2 UCD 1

UCD's Jamie Doyle celebrates after scoring his side's first goal
UCD's Jamie Doyle celebrates after scoring his side's first goal Newsdesk Newsdesk

Late goals from Nathan Boyle and Josh Mailey fired Finn Harps into the SSE Airtricity League promotion-relegation play-off against Limerick.

Leading 1-0 from the first leg, Harps fell behind on the night when Jamie Doyle headed home in the 59th minute, but Ollie Horgan's men shook their heads clear to take the win.

Boyle polished off a fine move involving Kevin McHugh and Mailey in the 76th minute, as the striker - just back from injury - coolly slid beneath Conor O'Donnell.

Mailey added the most majestic of cherries to the cake when he sweetly picked his spot after taking a crossfield ball from Tony McNamee a minute from the end.

The early exchanges were every bit as cagey as had been anticipated in the home ground - which housed an attendance of 2,013 last night.

UCD, behind from last week's opening leg, drew level in the tie when Doyle headed in from Robbie Benson's cross.

They had chances beforehand, but Ryan Swan was denied by Ciaran Gallagher and Conor Cannon drilled over.

Gareth Harkin forced a brilliant save from O'Donnell and McNamee saw a dipping effort float just wide.

The nerves whistled over Ballybofey. When Doyle struck, it set the tie up - but it was Harps who finished the better and will travel to the Markets Field on Monday for the first leg of their next play-off assignment.

Finn Harps - C Gallagher; McNulty, K Cowan, P Mailey; J Mailey (M Funston '90), R Foy, G Harkin, T McNamee, C Coll; N Boyle (W Tagbo '87), K McHugh (M Crossan '90).

UCD - C O'Donnell; D Tobin, M Leahy, T Boyle, M Langrty; R Swan, G O'Neill, R Benson, J Doyle (E Kirwan '63); D O'Connor; C Cannon (S Coyne '79).

Ref - R Matthews (Mullingar).

Irish Independent

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