Three red cards for Harps as they lose out in north-west derby

Horgan among those sent off as Harps stay bottom and Sligo rise to third spot

Three red cards for Harps as they lose out in north-west derby

The Showgrounds

Finn Harps made the short trip to Sligo for the north-west derby - but left with nothing. 

Sligo Rovers 3

Finn Harps 1

Finn Harps saw red in their battle to stay in the top flight of the League of Ireland as they lost 3-1 to north-west rivals Sligo Rovers in an incident-filled game at the Showgrounds on Monday evening.

Mark Coyle and Kosovar Sadiki were sent off for Harps as was manager Ollie Horgan.

Sligo had the tonic of an early goal from Ryan De Vries but Harps were level just before the hour thanks to a Mark Russell (pictured) goal.

Mark Russell scored for Harps. Picture: Stephen Doherty

But the dismissal of Coyle on 61 minutes was a turning point and Sligo struck twice more through Ronan Murray and Ronan Coughlan.

Harps, fresh from back-to-back wins over Waterford in the league and Bray in the cup - both away from home - began positively and had the majority of play early on.

But they were stung after just seven minutes when former Harps player Jesse Devers whipped in a cross which Coughlan touched on for De Vries to latch onto with a low drive into the net.

Sligo looked good after this early boost but Harps came back into the game with Barry McNamee producing a decent effort on 20 minutes not far past the outside of the Sligo goal.

Indeed, Harps really came into the game and Mark Russell went close on 34 minutes after more good play from McNamee.

The home side could have added to their tally before the break when Devers swept in towards goal but Mark Anthony McGinley was quickly off his line to intervene, with his intervention being deemed legal as Sligo’s penalty appeal was dismissed by referee Rob Harvey.

Harps brought on Shane McEleney at the start of the second half for Adrian Delap and the Donegal side really took the game to their hosts.

Ryan Connolly probed a couple of times, and Alexander Kogler fired just over after getting onto a pass from the busy Mark Russell.

And it was the aforementioned Russell who bagged the Harps equaliser with the hour mark approaching.

McEleney launched a long throw into the Sligo box that the home defence struggled to deal with and it eventually fell to Russell who pinged it into the net past Ed McGinty.

But the joy was short-lived as within two minutes Harps were down to ten men after Mark Coyle was given his marching orders for a second yellow card, as he fouled former Derry city player Junior, with 61 minutes played.

And seconds later Harps’ colourful boss Ollie Horgan saw red as some touchline actions were deemed to merit a banishing to the stands.

With the numerical advantage, Sligo brought on striker Murray for midfielder Devers and began to put Harps under increasing spells of pressure.

Murray put Sligo 2-1 up on 73 minutes after good approach play by De Vries and Sadiki then got his second yellow before Sligo sealed it with an 85th minute penalty.

Coughlan was fouled inside the box and then duly converted the spot-kick.

Both sides had chances in the closing minutes but Sligo collected the three points on offer and the defeat leaves Harps bottom of the table with eight games to go. Sligo move up to third.

Next up for Harps is Derry City at home.

Sligo Rovers: Ed McGinty, Lewis Banks, Regan Donelon, Kyle Callan-McFadden, Teemu Penninkangas, David Cawley, Ryan De Vries, Jesse Devers, Niall Morahan, Ronan Coughlan, Junior. Subs: Ronan Murray for Devers (66 mins), Darragh Noone for De Vries (75 mins).

Finn Harps: Mark McGinley, David Webster, Sam Todd, Kosovar Sadiki, Mark Russell, Stephen Folan, Barry McNamee, Adrian Delap, Mark Coyle, Ryan Connolly, Alexander Kogler. Subs: Shane McEleney for Delap (46 mins), Raffaele Cretaro for Kogler, and Karl O'Sullivan for Webster (both 75 mins), Gareth Harkin for Folan, and Adam Foley for Connolly (both 81 mins).

Referee: Rob Harvey.

Photo of Mark Russell by Stephen Doherty.

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