Irish and Harps are on a good run of form


AT THE end of last month Glasgow Irish took on Unity in a must win game. Three points would help both teams climb the table, so the Irish were very up for the game despite the freezing wet and windy conditions.

The game started off rough with both teams trying to get a hold of the game, but within the first 10 minutes, Unity got the break they needed when they converted a penalty to go one up. The Irish (above) then lost Darren Young and Mark Paterson to injury and they were replaced by Cammy McIntyre and Kieran Reilly.

A few adjustments to the shape and the Irish were back in the game after an equaliser from Captain Tony Garth. Not long after this, a great goal from in-form winger Tony Deveney, gave the Irish a deserved 2-1 lead at half-time.

From there, the team kicked on, playing some brilliant football—especially through midfield duo of Steven Craven and Kev Barr—which saw Kieran Reilly getting his head to the ball to make it 3-1. Unity battled back, however on pulled it back to 3-2, but the Irish kicked on again and Jay Mathieson made sure of the three points with a neat finish.

Next up was Sarry Red Starr. The previous meeting between the two sides just before Christmas was an entertaining game, finishing 6-2. The scoreline would have been much higher, however, had Sarry not walked off the park in protest due to refereeing decisions.

This meeting was similarly entertaining, with the Irish looking the better team, but still off the pace somewhat. Sarry opened the scoring after 15 minutes and the Irish could feel a bit hard done by, but they used it as motivation to get back into the game. Kieran Reilly went off injured and was replaced by Paul Ruby and shortly afterwards the equaliser came through captain Garth and then not long after that, Mathieson made it 2-1 to the men in green at half-time.

In the second half, Glasgow Irish were dominant and looking for goals, but it was Sarry who rattled the crossbar with a great volley. However, a great run from winger Deveney saw him get into the box and get a well-deserved goal for his performance to make it 3-1. Barr’s powerful back post header gave the Irish a 4-1 lead, before a deflated Sarry conceded another two goals from that man Garth again who completed his hat-trick and has now scored 25 goals in all competitions this season.

The Irish were hoping to continue this great run of form going into the cup game against Thornliebank Thistle, which would give them the chance to receive a well-deserved confidence boost ahead of a tricky game against Clydebank in the league.

With a few changes to the usual playing squad, the Irish started the game a bit out of sorts, but they got into the match at the 10-minute mark, started to get a feel for the ball, caused problems down the wings and had a few chances to score.

The deadlock was finally broken after half an hour when Barr headed home from a Paul Cairns cross to make it 1-0 to Glasgow Irish at the break. In the second half, Thornliebank did their best to get back on terms, but it was the Irish who went further ahead after a left-foot strike from Young and that was how the match finished up.

Next up came a visit to top of the league Clydebank at Holme Park. The league leaders side had only lost one game in the league, but the Irish were confident of inflicting their second loss.

However, it was Clydebank who opened the scoring after a defensive mix-up from Glasgow Irish to make it 1-0. The Irish didn’t let their heads go down, however, and eventually evened the scoring after Mathieson set up Ruby to equalise.

The Irish kept up this momentum up with some great play down the flanks. The game was very evenly matched at this stage but some excellent high-pressing saw midfielder Juan Carlos able to lay the ball off to Tony Garth to give Irish a 2-1 lead. 2-1 Irish. However, Clydebank managed to get the equaliser just before half-time.

In the second-half, Glasgow Irish kept up their workrate and some relentless pressure on Clydebank with Garth smashing the crossbar to give the league leaders a scare. However, an absolute wonder strike saw Clydebank take the lead, sending their sidelines into raptures. Aware of the pressure being put on them by the Irish, Clydebank sought to run the clock down and when the visitors lost Steven Craven to a dislocated shoulder and Young to a hamstring pull, it looked like the Irish were going to suffer an agonising loss.

Glasgow Irish, however, didn’t give up and got their just rewards when Declan Ryan crashed a shot off the underside of the crossbar to level the score and, this time, it was the Irish bench who celebrated wildly.

A draw would have been a good result for Glasgow Irish, but they kept pushing and pushing for a winner and they finally got it through Ryan whose right-footed shot deflected goalward sealed an amazing three points for the Irish.
Glasgow Irish now have a free week on March 20 and are using this time to enjoy a very well-deserved night out for St Patrick’s Day on March 19 at club sponsor Malones Irish Bar.

The Irish will return to cup action on Sunday March 27 against Clydebank SFC at Holm Park.

In the capital city, meanwhile, Edinburgh Harps have also been in decent form, defeating Calvary Park FC 2-1 in match which was described as having ‘some cracking performances all over the pitch’ and the winner being ‘worthy of winning any football match.

Harps then lost a hard-fought Logan Cup quarter-final match to Meadowbank AFC 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw, before losing an incredible match with Edinburgh Uni 7-5.

The Edinburgh side bounced back in Rex Gallagher Cup quarter final, however, with a 3-2 win over Blackridge V of C.