Harps squad stretched for trip to Turner Cross

Keith Cowan
Keith Cowan

Finn Harps will attempt to extend their recent unbeaten run to four games against Cork City on this Friday night at Turners Cross (kick-off 7.45).

If Harps better Wexford’s result (they play Galway at home) then survival in the premier will be mathematically guaranteed. That will be a tall order against the second best team in the country.

Cork did suffer a big blow on Tuesday night when losing to leaders Dundalk at Oriel Park and it now leaves John Caufield’s side four points behind Dundalk with five league games each remaining. They will be going all out for victory against Harps as there is still an outside chance that the title could go to the Leesiders.

Ollie Horgan, fresh from his contract extension, will have to travel minus central defender Keith Cowan, who sustained a serious knee injury during Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw with St. Pat’s in Ballybofey. Packie Mailey looks the most likely replacement for Cowan while the manager will have to make late assessments on other players carrying knocks. The manager rates Sean Houston and Barry Molloy as very doubtful while Adam Hanlon (hamstring) who didn’t feature against Pat’s might be fit enough to return for the Cork trip. Horgan has been working on trying to get Josh Mailey back from the UK for the game. Ruairi Keating (ankle ligaments) and Kevin McHugh (hand) will not be part of the squad.

“Squad wise we’re really struggling for tomorrow night. Keith Cowan has gone in for surgery on his knee so his season is over and Kevin McHugh won’t play in the three games we have left. We won’t have Ruairi Keating in Cork either. And I am very worried about Sean Houston and Barry Molloy in terms of being fit for tomorrow night. I am bit more hopeful on Adam Hanlon who didn’t play against Pat’s due to a tight hamstring. With the number of players doubtful I am trying to see if I can get Josh Mailey back from England but as of I now I don’t know whether that is possible. With our U19 semi-final against UCD being put back to Sunday we will have a couple of the U19 players in the squad” Horgan said.

Harps have lost twice to Cork already this season, 3-1 at Turner’s Cross and 1-0 in Ballybofey a couple of weeks ago in a game that was decided by a controversial second half Sean Maguire penalty. “We have a poor record against Cork this season with the two defeats. It’s a game they have to win tomorrow night to have any chance of taking the league title. So we are expecting that there will be a big response from their players after losing to Dundalk on Tuesday night.”