Shels too strong for Finn Harps

Finn Harps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

Shelbourne . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

FINN Harps hope to have two new onloan players signed during the Transfer Window, with the pair understood to be travelling from Reading, it has emerged.

And while the prospect of attracing the new signings had been organised before last Saturday’s home defeat by Shelbourne, it would appear that Harps really need to strengthen if the club is to finish the current campaign strongly having lost three matches on the spin.

Shelbourne, maintained their flawless away record in the First Division to move 10 points clear of the chasing pack following what was a comprehensive victory on Saturday night.

Five minutes before half-time, Alan Mathews’ charges hit the front. A well-practised diagonal ball from Gareth Matthews set Philip Hughes free down the right and his centre was steered home by the advancing Conan Byrne.

Then, 12 minutes from time, Hughes found enough space on the edge of the penalty area to curl a second goal into the top corner and ensure the points would be making the journey back to Dumcondra.

A third goal duly arrived on 84 minutes from David Cassidy when he tucked home a rebound from inside the six-yard box following Ciaran Gallagher’s save from Hughes.

With John-Paul Gallagher and player-manager, Peter Hutton, making their debuts for the Donegal side, the complexion of the back four was altered as the new regime continues to shape.

But whatever about the defensive side of things, with only 14 goals from 17 outings in the league, Harps’ prospects were always going to be decreased with nine-goal Kevin McHugh suspended.

Stephen O’Donnell spearheaded the hosts’ attack but when he was forced off following a knock just after the half-hour, Blaine Curtis was forced to plough a lonesome furrow in the front line. And while the home team played attractive football in patches, the league leaders were more incisive with Byrne and Hughes providing a cutting edge, backed up by excellent showings from Cassidy and Brendan McGill.

Shelbourne had been thwarted by goalkeeper Gallagher during the early stages of the first half while Hughes again tested Gallagher following a free-kick and although a lot of the play was contested in the middle third, it was Shelbourne who were more dangerous on the break.

Finn Harps - C. Gallagher; Redmond, Hutton, Cowan, J. P. Gallagher; Forker, Bonner, McElwee, Coll; O’Donnell (Merritt 17), Curtis.

Shelbourne - Delany; Mathews, Boyle, Ryan, Fitzgerald; B. McGill (Byrne, 74), James (Dawson, 82), D. McGill, Cassidy (Sullivan, 85); C. Byrne, Hughes.

Referee - Mr. Derek Tomney (Dublin).