Harps squad to be stretched ahead of Pats visit

Keith Cowan
Keith Cowan

There are no easy games in the Premier Division. So after a very spirited display against title contenders Cork City at the beginning of the week Finn Harps host newly crowned EA Sports League Cup champions St. Patrick’s Athletic on this Friday night in Ballybofey (kick-off 8.00).

It’s yet another opportunity for Ollie Horgan men to try end a run of eight defeats over the past two months. Finding the back of the net has become a chronic problem now with the last goal coming from Sean Houston against Galway United in early July. After the loss to Cork City on Monday night the management team and the players still remain focused on the primary objective of keeping their place in the Premier Division for next season.

Not surprisingly Horgan has great respect for Pat’s as an attractive footballing outfit and who come into the Harps game on the back of winning EA Sports Cup last Saturday. “It’s another difficult game, as they all are, and tomorrow night will be no different. Congratulations to St. Pat’s on winning the EA Sports Cup last weekend in Limerick. They are full of exciting, talented footballers who play a great brand of attacking football” Horgan said.

While Liam Buckley’s side is out of contention for the league title or European football next season they will go into Friday night’s game as favourites to win. And their record against Harps season is good with two wins. It was a 2-0 victory at Finn Park in April and the following month it was a 4-0 win at Richmond Park. Horgan and his assistant Paul Hegarty will have been working hard since Tuesday to try and get at least a draw against Pat’s. But not surprisingly after a bruising battle on against Cork on Monday there are a number of players receiving treatment.

Sean Houston sustained wrist damage while Keith Cowan was hobbling after the game and Adam Hanlon had to be carried off following that dangerous Stephen Beattie tackle.

The manager also rates Barry Molloy as doubtful and Josh Mailey is unavailable having moved to the UK to start a college course. Damian McNulty (knee) is still not fit to return to the panel.

So Horgan’s panel could be stretched to the limit for the Pat’s game. He will be hoping that Tommy McMonagle is available again after missing Monday night’s match while Packie Mailey and Tony McNamee are on standby to return to the starting 11. U19 player Mark Coyle who was a sub on Monday night will probably be in the match day squad again while B.J. Banda might also get a call-up.