MUFP 19s travelled to Finn Harps on Saturday for a difficult league encounter with their Donegal counterparts, Finn Harps had already taken 3 points in the first game between the two sides in March so it was never going to be easy for the partners away from home.
It has been a tough season for the 19s so far having gone through the first half of the season without picking up a point, recent restructuring and the introduction of some new faces has bolstered the squad with plenty of young talent now on board, with the majority of the squad able to play 19s football again next season.
The lads started brightly and dominated the early exchanges of the game with some neat passing football from Cianan Kelly, Tristan Knowles and Ify Nzewi in midfield linking well with Nonso Nzewi and Tyler O Hanlon up front. All was going well until the 9th minute when Harps took the lead against the run of play with a well worked move down the left flank followed by a sublime strike from Gareth Doherty giving the partners keeper no chance.
Soon after Harps could have doubled their lead but for a couple of fine saves from newly signed Thomas Marron in the MUCFP goals making his debut.
The partners created a number of chances before half time which they failed to convert and on balance of play should have been in the lead, however the team were disappointed to go in at the break trailing by a goal.
The second half began as a balanced affair with both teams creating chances and testing both keepers, however as the half progressed the away side came more into the game putting the home team on the back foot and began to pressurise the Harps defence in search of an equaliser.
On 65 mins, the break though came when a well-placed free kick from Shane Kierans was headed across the goal to Cianan Kelly who slotted the ball past the Harps keeper to grab a deserved equaliser.
Tautvydas Semelevicius making a welcome return from a lengthy injury replaced O Hanlon on 65 mins and made an instant impact on the game with some clever play deep in the opposition half, this created a number of clear chances for the partners who were well on top at this point and could have gone into the lead but for some outstanding goalkeeping.
Harps also had their moments as the game went on but the partners backline stood firm, the final 6 mins of added time brought some nervous moments as the home side piled on the pressure and almost snatched the win when a well struck shot smashed off the crossbar and soon after they brought out the best in keeper Marron again as he denied Doherty his second goal of the day with a stunning double save.
The partners held on for a well deserved point as they look forward to hosting league leaders Bohemians next Saturday in Gortakeegan.
Thomas Marron, Lorcan Murnaghan (Jordan Corrway 90) Dillon Kelly(Michael Mc Cann 80) Shane Kierans, Adam Quirke, Alpha Ike, Cianan Kelly, Ify Nzewi, Tristan Knowles(Ciaran Mc Cann 85) Tyler O Hanlon (Tautvydas Semelvicius 65), Nonso Nzewi (Lewis Gibson 80)
Subs unused Abraham Dixon, Trevor Matthews.