Shamrock Rovers strike late to extend lead at the top

Greg Bolger scores 85th minute winner away to Finn Harps as Rovers go seven clear

Greg Bolger celebrates his winner for Shamrock Rovers against Finn Harps. Photograph: Evan Logan/Inpho

Greg Bolger celebrates his winner for Shamrock Rovers against Finn Harps. Photograph: Evan Logan/Inpho

 

Finn Harps 0 Shamrock Rovers 1

Table toppers Shamrock Rovers grabbed a dramatic win over Finn Harps at Finn Park with Greg Bolger’s 85th minute scorcher from the edge of the box proving decisive.

This result puts Rovers seven points clear at the summit while Harps are still seeking their first win.

But it was rough justice on the battling Donegal side who will feel that they merited a share of the spoils.

The Hoops had three players away on international duty - Jack Byrne, Trevor Clarke and Brandon Kavanagh - but declined to avail of the option of getting the game postponed.

Indeed, Harps had the first chance of note on 13 minutes when Caolan McAleer sent in a free deep into the box but Daniel O’Reilly was unable to make the telling connection at the other end.

It took Rovers 18 minutes before they first tested Ciaran Gallagher who got down well to save a Dylan Watts strike after a neat exchange of passes.

Both sides had shots blocked at either end in a competitive first half.

Certainly, Harps boss Ollie Horgan - who had to watch this one from the stands as he is serving a three-game ban - would have been the happier manager at the break.

Harps had a scare right after the re-start when goalkeeper Gallagher spilled a Joey O’Brien cross but Keith Cowan was on hand to clear.

Arran Greene had the ball in the net shortly afterwards for Rovers but he was clearly off-side.

In a tense final ten minutes both teams pushed for a winner and Bolger obliged after a short spell of pressure as the ball fell to him 20 yards out.

A minute’s silence was observed before the game in memory of the late Brian Wright who scored Finn Harps’ first ever senior goal when they were beaten 10-2 by Shamrock Rovers at Finn Park in August 1969.

Finn Harps: Gallagher; Todd, Cowan, Logue; Deasy, Kavanagh, Coyle, Borg (Cretaro, 69 mins), O’Reilly; Boyle (Place, 82) , McAleer.

Shamrock Rovers: Mannus; O’Brien, Lopes, Grace, Kavanagh; Watts, Finn, Bolger, McEneff (Coustrain, 66); Greene (Bone, 86), Carr (Vojic, 75)

Referee: Mr D Tomney (Dublin).

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