Finn Harps finally notched up their first win of the 2019 Airtricity League Premier Division campaign as they deservedly beat the side immediately above them, UCD, 3-0 in a proverbial six-pointer at Finn Park.
This morale-boosting win for the Ollie Horgan managed side cuts the deficit between them and the students to four points – with more than half the season still to play.
Two goals from the superb Caolan McAleer, plus one from Nathan Boyle, earned Harps this crucial win.
Harps failed to beat UCD in any of their three meetings last year in Division One – UCD emerged as champions and the Donegal side were promoted through the play-offs – while earlier this season the students were good value for a 3-0 win at the Belfield Bowl.
Harps took the lead on 18 minutes with Keith Cowan finding the lively McAleer with a fine pass and he raced towards goal before curling his shot just inside the post to make it 1-0.
Five minutes later it could have been two as Daniel O’Reilly was denied by Conor Kearns.
Tyrone native McAleer was a constant threat for Harps with his silky advances while at the other end Ferrguia was at the heart of most of the UCD moves.
Indeed, just before the break McAleer went close again as he struck the cross bar.
The second half had barely started when Harps doubled their lead.
Substitute Raffaele Cretaro and John Kavanagh to set up Nathan Boyle who fired past the diving Kearns.
And Harps put the issue beyond doubt on 66 minutes with McAleer showing great pace on a counter-attack as he surged into the UCD box before firing home the third.
Harps now have two home games in succession, against Waterford and Shamrock Rovers.
That will bring them past the half-way mark in the league.
Horgan has always said that it is a marathon. At least they are still in a race to survive, even if the odds remain stacked against them.
Finn Harps: Burke; Kavanagh, Cowan, Todd, O’Reilly; McAleer, McNamee, Coyle, Russell; Boyd, Boyle. Subs: Cretaro for Boyle (45 mins), Logue for Russell (60 mins), Place for McAteer (77 mins)
UCD: Kearns; O’Farrell, Collins, Scales, Tobin; Dignam, Farrugia, O’Neill, Doyle,; Mahady, Davis.
Subs: Coffee for Dignam (67 mins) McDonald for Davis (76 mins), McClelland for O’Farrell (84 mins).
Referee: T. Connolly (Dublin).
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