By Macdara Ferris
Shamrock Rovers 1-1 Finn Harps
Finn Harps earned a point at Tallaght Stadium as 10-man Shamrock Rovers drew a league game for the first time this season.
An early second-half header from Dave Scully secured the point for Harps after Gary Shaw had headed the home team into an interval lead.
Coming into the game having lost three in a row, and conceding 12 goals in the process, Ollie Horgan lined out his Harps team with five at the back.
He was looking to contain Shamrock Rovers but his side were 1-0 down after just eight minutes.
It was an error from 'keeper Ciaran Gallagher that handed the Hoops the early advantage. Under no pressure from a defensive header back, he spilled it to concede a corner. Brandon Miele whipped it in from the left and Gary Shaw rose highest to head home – his third goal in four games.
Harps' full-backs Ethan Boyle and captain Ciaran Collgot forward to support Dave Scully and Sean Houston when they could but they couldn’t trouble the hosts' young centre-half partnership Sean Heaney (20) and Rob Cornwell (21) in the first half.
Midway through the half, Rovers went close twice in two minutes. A Gary McCabe effort was saved by Gallagher and Miele missed when he should have scored.
Gallagher pulled off a wonderful save three minutes from the break, diving low to his right to tip a Shaw shot around the post after the Rovers striker had run onto a Stephen McPhail ball over the top.
The half ended with Scully going in the book for kicking out at Rob Cornwall and squaring up to Killian Brennan as the teams went off at the break.
Scully had the adrenaline still going after the break as his glancing header found the back of the net – the first time Rovers had conceded this season in a league game when they had found the net themselves.
Another good save by Gallagher two minutes later kept the game level as he batted behind a McCabe shot for a Rovers corner and moments later smothered a Shaw shot after Cornwall had played a pass around the corner of the Rovers defence.
Rovers' patient passing brought rewards and Clarke shaved the edge of the post with a shot two minutes before the hour mark.
Horgan brought off Scully for Kevin McHugh, possibly fearing a second yellow for the forward, but it was Rovers who went a man down on 66 minutes.
McCabe was unhappy with Gallagher coming through him to punch the ball and moments later he lashed out in an off-the-ball incident.
After consulting with his fourth official Rob Rogers, Anthony Buttimer produced a straight red for McCabe - his second straight red of the league campaign.
Brennan went close with a free-kick in the last ten minutes after Tommy McMonagle bundled over Shaw and Michael Funsten almost exploited a loose touch by Brennan but the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
Shamrock Rovers: Craig Hyland; Simon Madden, Rob Cornwall, Sean Heaney, David O’Connor; Killian Brennan, Stephen McPhail (Pat Cregg 80); Dean Clarke (Danny North 70), Gary McCabe, Brandon Miele (James Doona 86); Gary Shaw.
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; Ethan Boyle (Josh Mailey 90+3), Damien McNulty, Packie Mailey, Tommy McMonagle, Ciaran Coll; Michael Funston, Gareth Harkin, Adam Hanlon (Tony McNamee 71); Dave Scully (Kevin McHugh 62), Sean Houston.
Referee: Anthony Buttimer (Cork)