Having dropped out of the top two for the first time this season, Finn Harps will be hoping to keep the pressure on Wexford Youths and UCD when they make the trip to Cabinteely on Friday evening.
With just six games of the season remaining, Harps sit in third spot just two points behind top of the table Wexford and one point behind the students from UCD. However, the two teams above them have both played a game less and have to face each other twice in their last seven games.
And with both of those sides having to visit Finn Park before the end of the season, there is still plenty of room for twists and turns yet.
“All the games up to now and from now till end are as important as each other,” said Harps boss Ollie Horgan. “It doesn't matter when you pick up the points along the way, it is the number of points at end of season that matters.”
However, Horgan isn’t looking beyond Friday’s game with Cabinteely and knows that another difficult task awaits his side.
“Cabinteely are always excellently organised and have added seriously to their squad in Peter Durrard, Richie Purdy and Evan Moran among others,” he said.
“This will be a very difficult game as the last game there was, and they were even short a number of players that night.”
Like most of the rest of the First Division teams, Harps had a week off last season due to the FAI Cup games taking centre stage. While it gave those carrying knocks more time to recover, Horgan said that he would rather have been playing for a cup quarter-final place.
“The break at weekend might have come at a good time for us as a lot of lads are recovering from knocks etc but we would much rather to be still in the cup and playing,” he said.
Josh Mailey is available for selection again on Friday after missing the last two games through suspension. Matthew Crossan though will sit this one out as he serves a one game ban, while Kieran McDaid and Thomas McMonagle have injuries that could prevent them from travelling.
Harps have picked up seven of the nine points on offer against Cabinteely this season. Only a late equaliser from John McKeown in the sixth minute of stoppage time in the last meeting between these two sides at Stradbrook prevented Harps from claiming the full complement of points against the Dublin side in their debut season. McKeown won’t be able to repeat the trick this weekend as he is suspended.