Partners Finish League Campaign with a disappointing loss to Finn Harps.
The Monaghan United / Cavan FP Under 17’s SSE Airtricity side finished their League campaign on Saturday afternoon when they made the trip to Donegal to play Finn Harps FC in Killygordon.
The match had originally been fixed for Finn Park in Ballybofey but had been switched late on and the change of pitch didn’t suit either side as the slick surface and nature of the pitch made it hard for either side to put any real fluid passing together. It was the visiting team who started the brighter and could have opened the scoring in the 1st minute when Dean Connolly gained possession before picking out Lewis Gibson deep in “Harps” territory and he quickly released Ify Nzewi in behind the static defence but the tall Cavan player could only scuff his effort across the goalmouth and behind. This spurred the “Partners” on and they opened the scoring 5 minutes later when “Harps” centre-half Shane Blayney seemed to be in control of the situation some 30 yards from his own goal but his attempted pass out of defence was easily intercepted by Seosamh Sheerin with a lot of work to do. Sheerin took control and strode towards the Finn Harps goal with still the “Harps” Keeper to beat but after drawing him forward the stand-in “Partners” striker coolly rolled the ball into the bottom corner with his cultured left foot. Gibson was at the heart of things again in the 13th minute when he played a clever give and go with Sheerin inside the Finn Harps area before delivering a dangerous ball across the 6 yard area but there was nobody there to apply the finishing touch. The “Partners” looked the more likely to extend their lead at this point and Luke Donohoe saw his rasping 30 yard drive just clear the “Harps” crossbar after a clever corner involving Sheerin and Karl Cosgrove. The visitors came even closer in the 23rd minute when Sheerin was put clear 1-v-1 with the Keeper from a defence splitting pass from Cianan Kelly but this time the ball struck the inside of the upright and roll along the line before being cleared from danger by Blayney. This scare seemed to spur the home team on as Blayney was inches over from a long range shot in the 26th minute. Adam O’Connor had an opportunity to extend the “Partners” lead 3 minutes later with one of his trademark free-kicks but his effort never trouble the goals. Finn Harps had their best spell of the half from that on and Daniel Murdock was called into action twice in seconds, firstly from a James Carolan shot and again from the follow-up from Mark McAteer but he was equal to both efforts. Murdock seemed to have the situation covered in the 34th minute when he was quickly out to gather a cross inside a crowded area but his weak throw out was intercepted and the ball was quickly played out to McAteer on the edge of the area. The slight winger looked up and tried an outrageous chip over Murdock from an acute angle. Murdock seemed to have it covered but stumbled on the surface and could only parry the ball into Carolan’s path who had an easy tap in. Murdock made up for his mistake just before half time when he got down low to save from Carolan’s low drive.
Half Time Finn Harps 1 Monaghan United / Cavan FP 1.
Lewis Gibson had to be replaced by Shane Duffy during the interval after sustaining an injury in the 1st period. Blayney gave the visitors a scare from a close range header within 2 minutes of the restart before he was also replaced due to injury. The game became very scrappy and patchy from that with neither team being able to mount a sustained period of pressure and both goals under threat. It wasn’t until the 65th minute that either team created a clear cut opening and then was only after a loose ball by Cosgrove that was seized on by Peader Mogan who picked out Carolan but Murdock came out of his area quickly to smother the danger and clear. The “Partners” first real effort of the half came in the 70th minute when Connolly picked out Nzewi’s well timed run but the Finn Harps Keeper was smartly down to his left to push the ball around the post. Cosgrove’s delivery caused problems for the home defence and when the ball fell to Nzewi on the edge of the area a “Harps” player committed a foul on him. O’Connor strode forward but this time his shot ended in the Keeper’s hands. The “Partners” were let of the hook shortly after when Carolan played in substitute Ryan Cunningham with only Murdock to beat but his lofted shot cleared the crossbar. O’Connor saw his header do the same 3 minutes later from another Cosgrove corner. The game seemed to be heading for a draw with both sides emptying their benches but another mistake gave Finn Harps an opportunity to win the game. Again there seemed to be no danger as Murdock gather comfortably from a “Harps” cross but his quickly released throw was again intercepted and as the Finn Harps player took control, O’Connor rashly fouled him some 10 yards outside the “Partners” area in a central position. Cunningham stood over the dead ball before floating his shot over the wall and beyond Murdock’s reach to give Finn Harps the lead. The “Partners” had a similar situation within 3 minutes when after a sustained fightback, Kelly was fouled with shooting distance for O’Connor to have a shot. Unfortunately for the “Partners” his effort beat the wall and the Keeper but struck the base of the post and behind for a kick out. That was the last real chance for the visitors who must have felt that they had done enough to get something out of the game.
Team Daniel Murdock, Cameron Dowd, Adam O’Connor, Luke Donohoe, Jordan Corraway, Dean Connolly, Cianan Kelly, Lewis Gibson, Karl Cosgrove, Ify Nzewi and Seosamh Sheerin.
Substitutes Used: Shane Duffy for Gibson (45), Lorcan Murnaghan for Corraway (69) and Dylan McMullan for Sheerin (86)
Unused Substitute: Luke Perkins.
This ends the Monaghan United / Cavan Football Partnerships league season but they can still look forward to the newly established SSE Airtricity Under 17’s League Cup which the draw is taking place for this Tuesday in F.A.I Headquarters in Abbotstown. Updates to follow.