Finn Harps 1 – 2 Galway United
Referee: David Dunne
By Steven Fox
Galway United got their SSE Airtricity First Division campaign off to a flying start yesterday evening, with a win over Finn Harps in Ballybofey.
With a wealth of signings in the new year, Galway are hoping that they can finally gain promotion into the Premier Division, after disappointing playoff performances in previous seasons.
Finn Harps, meanwhile, are fresh off the backs of relegation following a fairly dismal 2021-22 season, and hoping for a quick return to top flight football.
Galway dominant, Harps lacklustre
Galway got the action started in the wind and rain at Finn Park, and immediately started as they meant to go on.
Vincent Borden, recently signed from Slovenian side Rudar Velenje, capitalised on a cross into the Harps box to bury home his first competitive goal in Ireland.
Following this early bout of action, the first half settled into a cagey affair, albeit with Galway in the driver’s seat. However, despite playing most of the half in Harps’ half, the Tribesmen were unable to convert, due mainly to the impressive goalkeeping skills of Tim Heimer.
The home side were able to pull the sides level before half-time though. A foul in the Galway box gave Ryan Rainey a chance from the spot, which he didn’t waste.
Coming out for the second half, United maintained their dominant position from the start, refusing to let Harps control play.
The second half proceeded much the same as the first, with a lack of creativity from either side.
The exception came on the hour mark, as Borden hammered home what would end up being Galway’s winner with a brilliant volley.
While both teams probed each other’s defences for the remainder of the 90 minutes, no more real chances were forthcoming.
While starting with a win is obviously a good sign, Galway will need to maintain this momentum and overcome the late-season slump that has hampered their promotion chances in previous years.
Galway United play host to Limerick’s Treaty United at Eamonn Deacy Park next Friday, 24 February.
Finn Harps: 1. Tim-Oliver Hiemer 4. Daithi McCallion 5. Keith Cowan (C) 7. Ryan Flood 8. Katlego Mashigo 10. Michael Harris 11. Seamas Keogh 14. Caoimhin Porter 18. Ellis Farrar 19. Okwuy Okwute 22. Ryan Reidy Substitutes: 40. Oisin Farrell 9. Filip Silva da Fjeldheim 12. Cian Lynch 15. Kevin Jordan 16. Brendan McLaughlin 17. Shane McMonagle 20. Sean O’Donnell 21. Damian Duffy 44. Shaunie Bradley
Galway United: 1. Brendan Clarke 3. Regan Donelon 4. Robert Slevin 5. Kevin Brouder 7. Stephen Walsh 9. Robert Manley 14. Ronan Manning 17. Vincent Borden 21. Colm Horgan 22. Conor McCormack (C) 24. Edward McCarthy Substitutes: 16. Alex Rutter 2. Conor Keefe 6. Maurice Nugent 8. Michael Rowe Walsh 10. David Hurley 11. Ibrahim Keita 19. Francely Lomboto 20. Evan O’Connor 23. Darren Clarke