REPORT | Finn Harps secure Saturday final day double with U-15 Cup

15th November 2023

Finn Harps completed the dream Saturday cup final day with victory in the EA SPORTS U-15 National League of Ireland Cup final.  After Harps lifted the EA SPORTS U-14 National League of Ireland Cup with victory over Wexford, the U-15 final Harps secu

Finn Harps completed the dream Saturday cup final day with victory in the EA SPORTS U-15 National League of Ireland Cup final. 

After Harps lifted the EA SPORTS U-14 National League of Ireland Cup with victory over Wexford, the U-15 final Harps secure another dramatic victory, this time, over Cork City. 

Originally scheduled for a 4pm KO, the final was delayed by 20 minutes due to the previous cup final's penalty shoot-out but despite the delay, Harps started the better.

Finn Harps very nearly scored just moments after kick-off. Sean Patton had a half chance in the box following a good ball through, but it was a good save from Rory Maloney in the end.

The Donegal side had another chance around the ten-minute mark, McAteer heading over the bar after an accurate free-kick into the box.

Cillian Mulvehill tried his luck for Cork just moments later. However, his effort was from range as well as being a tight angle, it sailed wide of the post in the end.

Sean Patton was looking dangerous and attempted another effort around the 15-minute mark. After a couple of touches, he decided to take the shot on the volley from an awkward angle from outside the box. While it was only inches away from goal, there wasn’t enough power on the shot to realistically trouble the ‘keeper.

After this, there was a period where both teams enjoyed periods of success on the ball but failed to create chances of real note.

That changed in the 25th minute though as Finn Harps scored following a corner kick. There was a bit of a scramble in the box following the set piece before the ball fell to Shaunie Bradley, he made no mistake with his effort which found the back of the net.

Bradley was nearly in again towards the end of the half. A brilliant cross was played into him and he was inches away from the ball, if there was any contact at all it surely would have been a goal.

Finn Harps were going for the kill now and Brendan McLaughlin was the latest to have an effort. He turned sharply outside the box to create some space between himself and his man before letting go, but his shot was tame and easily saved in the end.

The half-time whistle sounded and it was Finn Harps who were ahead at the break. They were good value for their lead as well, having created the majority of the chances.

The second half commenced and Finn Harps could very easily have increased their lead after a fantastic run from Brendan McLaughlin past his man and into the box before whipping a low cross into a dangerous area. Unfortunately for Harps though, there was nobody to meet it.

After a period where there was little to talk about, Tiarnan McGinty attempted to make the headlines by himself in the 57th minute. He attempted an overhead kick after a ball into the box only to be blocked by a Cork defender, but it was fantastic technique by the young Harps man.

Cork City were trying their best to find an equaliser, but it just wouldn’t happen for them. Harps defended resilient and broke down Cork attacks with ease at times. They were struggling to create any sort of chance in the second half.

However, they did have a penalty shout around the 70th minute. The Cork left-back went on a marauding run, skinning his opponents and finding himself in the box. He continued his run but was

stopped in his tracks by a Harps defender. There were a few complaints that felt he was being blocked off but the referee didn’t award a penalty in the end.

Cork were starting to gain a bit of momentum at this stage. Cillian Mulville went close moments later with an effort of his own, but it was wide of the post to the relief of the Harps’ defence.

Cork switched up their style of play in the last ten minutes of the match, opting for a more direct approach than the slick, short passing play they’re used to. Harps were content with this though as they regularly came out on top in the aerial duels.

Cillian Spillane was very nearly gifted an opportunity with just five minutes remaining on the clock. Their long ball approach almost paid off as James McAteer failed to control one in the box which led to a battle between Bennett-Adair and Spillane for the ball. The ‘keeper came out on top in the end though and Harps were spared their blushes.

Finn Harps all but wrapped up the game in the 77th minute. Shane Bennett-Adair launched a ball over the top of the Cork defence which Brendan McLaughlin latched on to before applying a great finish to claim the trophy.

They very nearly extended their lead just moments later after a fantastic run from the wide area, but the shot hammered off the crossbar as it remained 2-0.

Not to worry though, that was enough for Finn Harps to seal the under-15 National League of Ireland Cup as the final whistle sounded. That’s two cup wins in just one day for the Donegal side, brilliant achievement.

Cork City Starting XI: Rory Maloney, Sam Bailey, Sean O’Callaghan, Patrick Andrejak, James O’Leary, Cian Carmody, Noah Swinskiy, Darragh McCormack, Cillian Mulville, Evan Lynch, Cillian Spillane.

Finn Harps Starting XI: Shane Bennett-Adair, Darragh Coyle, Liam Carlin, James McAteer, Shane Ellison, Adam McDaid, Tiarnan McGinty, Sean Patton, Shaunie Bradley, Brendan McLaughlin, Luca Barrett.

Referee: Keith Reynolds

Assistant referees: Robbie Stokes, Ayo Bolarwinma

Fourth Official: Damien Jordan