Spot kick joy for Harps

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IT was Foyle Harps who came out on top of this derby against Maiden City Academy, in the National League U16 Cup.

In a tightly contested match at Templemore both sides were eager to win this local derby, but it was Harps who came out on top following a penalty shoot-out, after the tie finished 2-2 after extra-time.

From the outset it appeared an even billing with both sides having a fair share of possession. Maiden City were shading the opening battles but were caught out with a long ball over the top.

The Harps striker latched onto the ball and rounded the City keeper Shea Nicell to slot it home well. Harps continued to press after this but Maiden City’s possession game was beginning to bear fruit.

Captain Ethan Sweeney was playing a pivotal role in the middle with Mark Coyle and Lee Sharkey working hard up front. The City equaliser came from a well worked move down the right.

Liam Hampsey controlled the ball well and played in Sharkey who fired a hard drive into the roof of the net. Both teams continued to battle hard and the first half finished 1-1.

The second half began with a bang, Harps came roaring out and pressed well, moved the ball down the City right and crossed in for a well taken finish to give them the lead.

Harps were using the ball over the top and intricate through balls but the City centre backs, McKelvey and Connolly, were dealing with trouble well.

City continued to apply pressure to the Harps goal and it paid off when a lovely corner was played into Sweeney in midfield who fired the ball through a sea of bodies into the left hand corner to make it 2-2.

Credit to Harps who came out fighting again and a long ball again caused problems, the Harps striker latched onto a through ball only to be met by the City keeper who was adjudged to have brought him down and a penalty was given. Lucky for City the penalty was fired well over the bar.

As the game went into extra time and both sides continued to battle hard and cause problems for the other team but it became more apparent that this well balanced derby would be settled by penalty kicks.

Both teams selected their five kickers and City began with Kealan McDermott stepping up to power it past the Harps keeper. Harps made it 1-1 before Cahir McGlinchey stepped up and again used power to fire it in, the Harps keeper again unlucky not to get a stronger hand to it.

It was made 2-2 by Harps before City captain Ethan Sweeney and centre half Cathal Connolly both saw their penalties saved by the Harps keeper.

With Harps scoring their third and fourth penalties this game was put to bed. A well fought contest played in the right spirit saw Foyle Harps advance to the next round.