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Finn Harps beat Ipswich Town 2-1

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Sceala Irish Craic Forum Discussion:     Finn Harps beat Ipswich Town 2-1

New manager of Ipswich town FC, Mr Roy Keane will not be a happy man. His tractor boys got beat 2-1 last night, by Finn Harps.

Irish Times
Ipswich Town's new manager Roy Keane brought his side to Donegal last night for their first pre-season friendly on the ground where he made his league debut for Cobh Ramblers almost 20 years ago.

But once again Keane sampled that losing feeling at Finn Park, Finn Harps winning 2-1 last night. Back in September 1989, Keane was on a side that was defeated 3-1.

This time around he watched his English Championship side lose to the part-timers of the League of Ireland’s First Division.

For the Tractor Boys, this was a visit to the most geographically remote of the Irish senior clubs. And as they arrived by coach from Belfast, they may well have been impressed with their first sight of the floodlights in Ballybofey.

But the towering pylons and plush recently-renovated main stand at a ground that has a 20,000 capacity was not where they were playing. No, what the Ipswich party first saw was MacCumhaill Park, the home of Donegal GAA.

A stone’s throw away just behind the town’s main street lies the rather more sedate surroundings of Finn Park, one of the few League of Ireland grounds that remains a real throwback to the days of the Famous Fried Chicken sponsorship.

Harps’ most recent scalp against cross-channel opposition came in August 2007 when they defeated a Celtic XI 3-2.

On this occasion, around 2,000 people turned up. As Keane made his way to the dug-out there were chants of Keano – but he can hardly have been overly happy with the outcome.

While they may not be in the big-boys’ league, Ipswich are giants compared to Harps.

Keane’s first major signing since taking over at the East Anglian club was to lure former Republic of Ireland player Damien Delaney from Queen’s Park Rangers for a fee of around €810,000. That’s almost twice the entire budget for Harps this season.

Seven Irish players were in the Ipswich panel – Delaney, David Norris, Owen Garvan, Jon Walters, Shane Supple, Alex Bruce and Alan Quinn – with all featuring at some stage of the game.

Harps went ahead through a Shaun Houston header in the 22nd minute and although substitute Conor Wickham scored from the penalty spot after 56 minutes, Marc Brolly scored what proved to be the winner with a deflected shot in the 68th minute.

Keane’s happiest memory of Finn Park surely remains his second visit there, in 1990, when he scored his only League of Ireland goal as the Ramblers triumphed.

FINN HARPS : Gallagher, Rossiter, Coll, Sharkey, Mailey, Funston, Conaghan, McGowan, Bonner, Houston, Whoriskey. Subs: Moran for Conaghan (22 mins), Brolly for Houston (45 mins), Lafferty for Whoriskey (67 mins), P. Bonner for Rossiter (78 mins).

IPSWICH TOWN : R Wright, D. Wright. Delaney, McAuley, Smith, Trotter, Norris, Garvan, Stead, Walters, Haynes. Subs: Shumulikoski for D. Wright, Supple for R Wright, Balkestein for McAuley, Wickham for McAuley, Bruce for Stead, Quinn for Haynes (all 45 mins).

Referee : T Moyne (Donegal).

This article appears in the print edition of the Irish Times
irishtimes.com/newspaper/sport/2009/0708/1224250236412.html

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