Shamrock Rovers crowned champions after Finn Harps beat Bohemians

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Bohemians' Danny Grant and Mark Russell of Finn Harps. Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho
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Dave Donnelly

Bohemians 0 - 2 Finn Harps

Shamrock Rovers are League of Ireland champions after Mark Russell scored twice as Finn Harps beat Bohemians 2-0 at Dalymount Park, a result that proved decisive at both ends of the Premier Division table.

The Harps midfielder’s strikes either side of half-time meant that Bohemians couldn’t make arch-rivals Rovers wait a little longer to claim their record-extending 18th league title.

Second-bottom Harps’ unlikely victory keeps their hopes of avoiding the play-off alive while also confirming that bottom of the table Cork City are relegated.

A goal in either half from left wing-back Mark Russell earned the Donegal side an unlikely win and confirmed Shamrock Rovers as champions without the Hoops needing to step on the field.

Bohs full-back Anto Breslin and Harps midfielder Leo Donnellan were both shown straight red cards for separate incidents late on as Harps ensured they’ll face a relegation play-off at worst.

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Finn Harps Mark Russell celebrates scoring a goal with team mates. Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Ollie Horgan’s side hadn’t played in three weeks owing to Covid-19 postponements but have been in decent form with just one defeat in their last seven games.

Bohs had the better of the early play and Keith Ward drew a save from Mark McGinley on 19 minutes but gradually Harps got on top and turned it into an opening goal on the stroke of half time.

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A long Tony McNamee throw was flicked on by Stephen Folan and Russell, tussling with a defender with his back to goal, hooked the ball with the outside of his left boot into the top corner.

It was a moment of real quality in a game that had lacked it, and within six minutes of the resumption Harps were two goals to the good thanks to a sweeping attacking move.

Tony McNamee released Adam Foley on the right and, with right-back Andy Lyons, pulled in by Barry McNamee’s near post run, Foley picked out Russell arriving in space.

The wing back still had plenty to do as he bent a low shot away from goalkeeper James Talbot and into a postage stamp-sized gap in the bottom corner.

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