Limerick 0-2 Finn Harps (0-3 on aggregate)
Finn Harps will be playing their football in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division next season after overcoming Limerick FC in the promotion/relegation playoff on Friday night.
Mark Timlin’s goal on the stroke of half-time proved to be all decisive for Harps and Nathan Boyle’s powerful low strike late on sealed a deserved win for Ollie Horgan’s men.
It was a frenetic start to the game with both sides putting in tasty challenges and two players from Finn Harps (John Kavanagh and Mikey Place) were booked. Unfortunately, in his final game before retirement, former Celtic man Paddy McCourt limped off injured after 16 minutes to call time on a fantastic playing career.
Killian Brouder had the first real chance of the contest when he headed Shane Duggan’s corner towards goal but his effort was cleared off the line.
Timlin almost put Harps in front on 21 minutes with a neat bit of play inside the Limerick area but his low shot hit the post and Shaun Kelly cleared the rebound.
Harps went in at the break deservedly ahead though with Place’s through ball setting up Timlin and this time the former Derry man didn’t fluff his line. He beat Brady with a high finish into the roof of the net.
Limerick made a fast start to the second half when Barry Maguire crossed low to the far post but Connor Ellis was unable to get anything on it and a chance went begging for the home side.
Harps took control of the tie after that with Gareth Harkin and Timlin outstanding. The latter set up Place with a glorious chance on 65 minutes but he somehow put the ball over the bar from three yards.
It mattered little though for Harps as they sealed their spot in next season’s top flight thanks to Boyle’s firm finish late on.
Limerick: Jack Brady; Shaun Kelly, Kilian Cantwell, Killian Brouder, Shane Tracy; Cian Coleman (Karl O’Sullivan, 70), Shane Duggan, Connor Ellis (Will Fitzgerald, 58), Barry Maguire (Darren Murphy 58), Billy Dennehy; Danny Morrissey.
Finn Harps: Peter Burke; John Kavanagh, Jacob Borg, Keith Cowan, Sam Todd, Ciaran Coll; Paddy McCourt (Niall Logue, 17), Gareth Harkin, Mark Timlin (Devers, 84); Mikey Place; Nathan Boyle (John O’Flynn, 88).
Referee: Graham Kelly.