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Harkin hat-trick makes it so sweet for Candystripes

Derry City 4 Finn Harps 0

Treble chance: Ciaron Harkin bagged hat-trick for Derry City
Treble chance: Ciaron Harkin bagged hat-trick for Derry City

By Eoin Wilson

Derry City got back to winning ways as Ciaron Harkin hit a hat- trick against north west rivals Finn Harps at the Brandywell.

This was City's first win in six league games and it was thoroughly deserved, with the final scoreline flattering Harps who could have lost by more.

Just as Finn Harps were getting on top for the first time, Derry City struck the opening goal just past the half hour mark.

Fabulous play by Junior saw him take the ball to the byline and dink a superb cross into the area which took goalkeeper Peter Burke out completely.

The ball was headed towards David Parkhouse who went down under a challenge from Daniel O'Reilly, prompting referee Tomas Connolly to point to the penalty spot.

Junior took the ball and while his spot kick was poor, giving Burke an easy save, the Harps keeper could not hold onto the ball and Junior was able to sweep in the rebound to put City 1-0 up.

The Brandywell rose to its feet in awe on 42 minutes to celebrate arguably the best goal seen at the Brandywell this century, only for referee Connolly to disallow it.

Jamie McDonagh's corner could not beat the first man but the clearance was poor, allowing Gerardo Bruna to nudge it back into the six yard box where it was met by Junior with a sensational overhead kick.

The ball flew past Burke and into the top corner, only for referee Connolly to disallow it for high feet.

But there was no denying Derry and they doubled their lead just before half time with an exquisite strike.

Junior was again in the thick of things, winning City a free kick on the edge of the area and there was nothing Burke could do as Harkin lashed the ball past him and into the top corner from 20 yards to send the Candystripes into the break with a comfortable lead.

Derry had a great shout for another penalty on 58 minutes when Junior went down in the area under a challenge from Mark Coyle.

Shouts for a second spot kick were refused, but play continued and Junior regained his feet and got a shot away, only for Sam Todd to clear the ball off the line as Harps somehow survived.

The game was ended as a contest on 67 minutes however as Greg Sloggett robbed Keith Cowan and set Derry away on the counter attack.

Harps were short in numbers at the back and Barry McNamee was able to pick out Harkin just inside the area who, at the second attempt, swept the ball past Burke for his second goal.

Harkin then completed his hat-trick in added time, firing home after Aidy Delap's cross.

City will host Harps again on Monday in the EA Sports League Cup quarter-finals.

Derry City: Cherrie, McDonagh, Toal, Kerr, Coll, Harkin, McNamee (Malone 76'), Sloggett, Bruna (McNamee 81'), Ogedi-Uzokwe, Parkhouse (Delap 74').

Finn Harps: Burke, Deasy (Borg 56'), Todd, O'Reilly, Cowan, Russell, Coyle, McNamee (Boyle 56'), Cretaro (Place 76'), Boyd, McAleer.

Referee: Tomas Connolly.

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