PETER HUTTON’S new-look Finn Harps secured their second win on the bounce when defeating Mervue United in Ballybofey on Saturday night.
July acquisitions Kevin Devaney, Gary Curran and Mark McGoldrick all made their debuts for the Twin Towns outfit, the former scoring the opening goal before Blaine Curtis continued his personal hot streak with a neatly-taken second.
The two goals came within six second half minutes. Firstly, Devaney, who came in from Sligo Rovers, after being set-up by Stephen O’Donnell, scored with a fine strike to Ger Hanley’s top corner a minute shy of the hour-mark.
Then, six minutes later, Curtis rounded the goalkeeper to tap home a second goal when Martin Conneely sold his netminder short with an under-hit header.
In an evenly contested first half, neither side dominated. All three debutants looked lively but it was the visitors, who had defeated Harps twice already this term, that came the closest to opening the night’s fare.
Ciaran Gallagher in the hosts’ goal had to be alert to save from Pat Hoban and Peter Dravins, while Kevin McHugh, on his 300th appearance for the club, had a pot at goal right before half-time, only to see Conneely get in a block.
As always, the Harps skipper was dangerous and beforehand a break from a Marc Brolly pass almost let him mark his landmark occasion.
However, Marc Ludden did enough to get in an important challenge. In the second half, Harps pushed on more and got their reward with goals in the 59th and 65th minutes.
As a result, Mervue lost their shape and Harps were better on the ball. Brolly, Curtis and McHugh all combined to give the latter another chance but he was just off the mark.
Without a two-goal lead established, Harps took the sting out of the game and were value for their three points, which would represent another step in the right direction for Hutton and his director of football, Felix Healy.
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; Martin Redmond, Paddy McLaughlin, Keith Cowan, John Paul Gallagher; Kevin Devaney (Mark Forker 90), Aaron McElwee, Gary Curran (Stephen O’Donnell 56), Marc Brolly; Mark McGoldrick (Blaine Curtis 56), Kevin McHugh.
Mervue United: Ger Hanley; James Casserley (Etanda Nkololo 65), Martin Conneely, Mark Ludden, David O’Brien; Kevin Crehan, Alex Lee (Dave Goldbey 67), Barry McEntee, John Mountney; Peter Dravins, Pat Hoban (Jason Molloy 72).
Referee: Darren Coombes.