Dane Massey struck a dramatic winning free-kick with the last play of the match at Finn Park - and it was no more than Drogheda United deserved.

In the last minute, Luke Heeney saw red for a challenge on Finn Harps substitute Babatunde Owolabi, who was leading a breakaway and in injury time Dave Webster was also dismissed, in his case for a second yellow having fouled Chris Lyons.

The decision was debatable, but Massey deserves huge credit for his superb 95th-minute effort which went in off the underside of the crossbar.


For Drogheda it looked like it was going the be one of those nights. Mark Anthony McGinley in the Harps goal was in inspired form.

Both teams had made commendable starts to the campaign, with Tim Clancy's visitors unbeaten now in five and, before tonight, Harps having only lost to the top three of Shamrock Rovers, Sligo Rovers and St Patrick's Athletic in their first 11 fixtures.

Both haven’t got to where they’ve got from shirking physicality and that was a facet of the contest at a blustery Ballybofey, where newly-promoted Drogheda more than held their own against Ollie Horgan’s team, whose top cement in the top flight is that little bit harder.

Drogheda shaded the first quarter with David Odumosu not tested until the 20th minute when making a routine save from Adam Foley, whose manager Ollie Horgan was serving the second of his three-match touchline ban following his dismissal against Shamrock Rovers last month.

Conor Kane’s free-kick on 38 minutes was barely half-cleared by the shoulder of Ethan Boyle and Mark Doyle’s stab at goal was brilliantly saved by McGinley – the Harps goalkeeper continuing the excellent form that helped his side to a point in the 1-1 draw with Dundalk last week.

The tea queues hadn’t dispersed by the start of the second half when McGinley had to made two more outstanding stops.

Firstly, Murray gave him the eyes and the impression of centering a free-kick only to swing it at goal and McGinley scrambled away and then, in the 49th minute, the former Donegal Gaelic fooball netminder was at full stretch to tip over Doyle’s header.

Harps substitute Conor Barry was barely on a field two minutes before he improved to twist a nice effort with the outside of the boot just wide of the River End goal, with Foley giving and going. Harps, though, didn’t really test Odumosu but looked to have scraped a draw. Massey had other ideas.

Finn Harps: Mark Anthony McGinley; Ethan Boyle, Shane McEleney, Kosovar Sadiki, David Webster; Mark Coyle (Johnny Dunleavy 68), Will Seymore; Karl O’Sullivan (Conor Barry 68), Barry McNamee, Stephen Doherty (Mark Russell half-time); Adam Foley (Babatunde Owolabi 76).

Drogheda United: David Odumosu; James Brown, Killian Phillips, Daniel O'Reilly, Dane Massey; Luke Heeney, Darragh Markey, Ronan Murray (James Clarke 78), Mark Doyle, Conor Kane; Chris Lyons.

Referee: Derek Tomney