Finn Harps claim derby bragging rights with long-awaited victory over Derry City
Finn Harps 2 Derry City 1
FINN HARPS broke a 15-and-a-half-year derby hoodoo for only their second ever League win over Derry City tonight.
New signings Dave Scully and Ryan Curran netted the goals in a famous win for Ollie Horgan’s newly-promoted side.
It was their first League win their bitter rivals since February 1998 when Donal O’Brien – now Derry’s assistant manager – scored in a 1-0 win.
There were echoes of O’Brien in the air when Harps stole a march in first-half stoppage time.
Adam Hanlon curled in a free kick and Scully rose at the far post to fire a downward header beyond Gerard Doherty.
The goal came not long after Harps survived a real scare at the other end as Ciaran Coll hooked off the goal-line from Ryan McBride’s header, with City claiming the ball had crossed the line.
Jordan Allen, somehow, couldn’t direct a follow-up header to the net.
The introduction of Tony McNamee for the injured Sean Houston in the 19th minute breathed life into the Harps engine room.
The change helped spice up the encounter, too, putting McNamee into direct combat with his older brother, Barry, with whom he traveled to the game.
Close-on 5,000 supporters wedged into Finn Park for the venue’s first Premier Division game since 2008.
The visitors had early chances for Allen and Gareth McGlynn, but Harps survived and Finn Park erupted when Scully nodded.
Chances were at a premium in the second half, but 15 minutes from the end Harps bagged their second. Keith Cowan headed through a static Derry defence and Curran, who beat a poor offside trap, was coolness personified as he sent Ballybofey into a state of delerium.
Hanlon fed Curran for another Harps chance in the dying moments, but a poweful drive was beaten away by Doherty.
By then, Derry supporters were trickling off into the night as the home support turned up the volume, even if they were left to endure a late scare when Rory Patterson prodded home in the 92nd minute.
Finn Harps - C Gallagher; D McNulty, P Mailey, K Cowan, C Coll; D Scully, B Molloy (R Foy ’78), G Harkin, A Hanlon (K McHugh ’88); S Houston (T McNamee ’19), R Curran.
Derry City - G Doherty; N Vemmelund, R McBride, A Barry, D Jarvis; C McCormack (H Monaghan ’76), A McEneff, B McNamee, G McGlynn (R Curtis ’70); J Allan (N Boyle ’60), R Patterson.
Ref - T Connolly.