Finn Harps 2 Shamrock Rovers 1
Tunde Owolabi bagged an 85th-minute winner as Finn Harps made it six wins in a row as they beat Shamrock Rovers for the first time since 2008 following an absorbing encounter at Finn Park.
The Belgian striker made it five goals in three games as he got onto the end of a Karl O’Sullivan cross to head home at the far post.
Earlier, Jordan Mustoe had fired home his first goal for Harps but the champions were back on level terms after Finn Harps striker Adam Foley scored a 71st-minute own goal, heading into the net.
This result means St Pat’s are now level on points with Rovers at the summit while Harps are seventh.
Rovers were hoping to bounce back from three defeats in a row, and having won on their last eight visits to the Ballybofey venue, it certainly has been a happy hunting ground in recent times.
But the Hoops knew that Harps – who have enjoyed a purple patch of late – would provide stern opposition, and so it proved to be.
Owolabi was soon involved in an interesting tussle with Rovers’ new signing Barry Cotter.
The first real opening fell to the home team a few minutes earlier when a wayward Alan Mannus clearance fell into the path of Adam Foley, but the latter was unable to divert the ball past the advancing goalkeeper.
Gary O’Neill had a thumping shot blocked by Kosovar Sadiki following a decent build-up while at the other end Will Seymore let fly with a cracking effort not far off target.
Harps endured a scare on 35 minutes when, following a patient build-up, Dylan Watts wormed his way into the box, but his shot from a tight angle flashed across the face of goal and wide.
Just after the break Harps lost possession and Rory Gaffney hit the post, but the Donegal side broke the deadlock in the 56th minute.
Will Seymore weaved his way into the box and linked up with Barry McNamee and Ryan Rainey before the ball fell for Jordan Mustoe who drove it home with aplomb past the diving Alan Mannus.
But Rovers made it 1-1 courtesy of Foley’s blunder after he got his timing all wrong when a Dylan Watts cross came in and Rory Gaffney was lurking.
However, Owolabi had the last say with the winners as Harps recorded a memorable win.
FINN HARPS: McGinley; Webster, McEleney, Sadiki, Mustoe; Foley (O'Sullivan, 72 mins), Coyle, Seymore, Rainey (Connolly, 88 mins); McNamee; Owolabi (Boyd 90). Subs: Doherty, Connolly, O'Sullivan, Boyd, Rudden, Hawkins, Boyle, Black, Logue.
SHAMROCK ROVERS: Mannus; Gannon, Cotter, O'Brien; Murphy (Emakhu, 68 mins), O'Neill, Watts, Greene; Towell, Burke, Gaffney. Subs: Pohis, McCann, McMenamy, Duffy, Noonan.
Referee: D. McGraith (Mayo)