Top two meet as Harps host Athlone in Ballybofey

Finn Harps

The top two in the First Division go head to head at Finn Park on Friday evening, when top of the table Finn Harps host second place Athlone Town (kick-off 8.00pm).

The match is also significant in that it will be the 100th competitive meeting between the two clubs.

Harps sit just one point ahead of Athlone at the top of the First Division thanks in the main to their draw away to UCD last weekend coupled with Athlone’s first defeat of the season to Wexford Youths at the same time.

Athlone are many people’s favourites for the First Division title this season. Harps boss Ollie Horgan is expecting a tight encounter on Friday night, even more so after Eddie Wallace’s side lost their unbeaten start to the season last Friday.

“Athlone obviously will be a very tough game,” said Horgan. “The fact that they were turned over last Friday makes it even tougher. Eddie Wallace has put together a serious side that will be there in the top positions at the end of the season.

“They have a good mixture of youth and experience with the likes of Garbhan Coughlan and Marco Chindea added to the likes of Aiden Collins and Eric Molloy,” he said of Friday’s opponents.

Harps for their part are still unbeaten and conceded their first goals of the campaign in last Friday’s 2-2 draw with UCD.

In team news, Packie Mailey and Ruairi Keating remain out while Brian McGrory and Gareth Harkin are both doubtful and will face late fitness tests.