A good crowd packed into Finn Park for the first game of the season on what John Caulfield described as a “borderline pitch” in rather stormy conditions.
Harps started fairly brightly with several chances but none getting near Mark McNulty.
An empty box was the sight for both Bonner and McAleer with good crosses being delivered however no one there to head home, this turned out to be a reoccurring problem for the Blue and White army.
Cork played a high line and this was effective catching Harps offside 3 times in 25 minutes.
John Caulfield praised Dunleavy who “was great to have back and he organised the back four superbly”.
As a good first half of football drew to a close the home side thought they had got into halftime level with the current fai league and presidents’ cup holders however a failed clearance fell to one man Sean Maguire who slotted home from close range.
It was more of what the doctor ordered for John Caulfield and his City team in the second half with Harps being kept at bay well and only one shot on target from McAleer testing an idle Mark McNulty.
Greg Bolger’s dismissal on the 75th minute “evened things up and give us[harps] more possession” according to Ollie Horgan however Cork were still going for another and hit the post twice in one play 5 minutes from time.
John Caulfield was delighted with his teams performance tonight stating how “our lads dug in to win the three points” and club captain Dunleavy echoed his managers thoughts with “Ballybofey not being an easy place to come to and you’ve to scrap but with the pitch in it’s condition it made it doubly difficult.” Describing it as the softest he’s ever played on.
Ollie was adamant though that he wasn’t prepared to “drift away at the bottom and stay in the pack.”
Harps who are highly fancied for the drop put in a performance that many fans were proud of.
McCourt made his debut and with 20 minutes to go set up the 2 best chances of the game for a team with 4 debutants starting in the lineup.
Ollie’s main focus however was making sure that all his players were fully fit who have to “keep going away to bray and it’s not getting any easier.”
Harps now must face a strong Bray team who this round beat St.Pat’s 2-1 in Inchicore.
As for Cork they host Galway at Turner’s Cross.