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Emotional goal for Josh Daniels following Buncrana pier family tragedy

Derry City 2-2 Finn Harps

By Eoin Wilson

Josh Daniels' first goal for Derry City made it a night of raw emotion at the Brandywell.

A thrilling derby ended in a 2-2 draw but this game will be remembered for the brave 20-year-old's goal less than two months after losing his mum, sister, brother-in-law and two nephews in the Buncrana pier tragedy.

Ruth Daniels, her sister Jodie Lee Daniels plus Ruth daughter's partner Sean McGrotty and his sons Mark and Evan died when their Audi Q7 slid from a slipway at Buncrana pier into Lough Swilly.

Daniels is regarded as one of City's rising stars and equalised on 84 minutes just six minutes after coming off the bench, cancelling out Ryan Curran's 20th minute opener.

 

Northern Ireland international Rory Patterson looked to have won it when he made it 2-1 to Kenny Shiels' side on 88 minutes following an assist from the on-form Daniels.

But former Derry City midfielder Sean Houston popped up with a brilliant last-minute header to clinch a draw.

There were five former Derry stars in the Harps starting line-up and two of them were involved as the visitors deservedly took the lead on 20 minutes.

More: Buncrana tragedy mum Louise James does memory of Evan proud at Belfast City Marathon

Houston began the move before drawing Patrick McClean and picking out Dave Scully on the right. Scully sent a thunderous shot at goal which crashed off Gerard Doherty's upright and the rebound fell for Curran, who headed the ball into the net.

With time running out, Nathan Boyle drilled a low cross across the penalty area and substitute Daniels levelled.

More: Buncrana tragedy: Heroism of a father who wouldn't abandon his family, and stranger who risked it all to rescue a baby, restores your faith in humanity

Then Daniels played in Patterson and the striker made no mistake, but Houston saved a point for the visitors in the 90th minute.

Derry City slip to fourth while Harps stay eighth.

DERRY CITY: G Doherty, Vemmelund, McEneff, McBride, McCormack, B McNamee, Ward (N Boyle 78 mins), Patterson, McClean (Jarvis 45 mins), Curtis (Daniels 78 mins), Barry. Subs not used: Patton, Allan, McDermott, R Doherty.

FINN HARPS: Gallagher, McNulty, Coll, Cowan, Mailey, Curran, T McNamee (E Boyle 74 mins), Houston, Hanlon (Funston 86 mins), Scully, Molloy (McHugh 90 mins). Subs not used: Brush, McHugh, McMonagle, McConnell, E Boyle, Flatley.

Referee: Neil Doyle.

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