It’s going to be a very busy 2017 for the Finn Harps underage setup, with three teams preparing to take part in the FAI National League. The existing U17s and U19s will be joined next season by a Harps U15s side, which has entered in the inaugural national competition at this age group.
Earlier this month the club confirmed that the recently retired senior player Kevin McHugh will manage the U15s whose season doesn’t start until August. The U17 and U19 leagues will kick-off at the end of February around the same time that Ollie Horgan’s senior team will start their second season in the Premier Division.
The Harps U19 manager Joe Boyle is currently looking at bringing in a few new faces along with the boys that played with the club’s U17s but are now no longer eligible at that overage. “Alex Carolan and Jeaic McKelvey were actually eligible for U17 last year but played with the U19s. We’ll have them again but we’re losing the likes of Simon McGlynn, Daire O’Baoill, Liam Doherty, Paul Ferry and Nathan Clifford because of age” Joe Boyle said.
The U19 manager also has to be mindful of the possibility that Ollie Horgan may promote at least a couple of Boyle’s players to the first team squad. “I’ve been talking to Ollie about that and we’ll know more about that over the next month. Most of the 19s have been playing with us in the Ulster Senior League and are also on Strength and Conditioning programmes and that will continue ahead of next season” said the Deele College Principal, who is taking charge of the team for a second year.
Similarly Declan Boyle will be in charge of the U17s for a second campaign. While there is no official confirmation yet, the Killybegs man is working on new signings as due to age eligibility he is losing players, most of whom, will now move up to the Finn Harps U19s. “It’s not confirmed yet by the league just how many players will be in a squad but it’s looking like we will be able to sign 22 players and it looks like 20 for the U19s. The two sets of players train together which is useful in terms of what we are trying to do” Declan Boyle.
New U15 manager Kevin McHugh has more time on his side in terms of assembling his squad for the inaugural season at this age group, which doesn’t start until August. The Finn Harps legend is looking forward to the challenge and has already earmarked potential signings through his involvement with Donegal Schoolboys sides over the past couple of years. “The new Donegal Schoolboys Leagues start in February so I’ll be looking at players there through the season. I know a lot of the players from the Donegal Schoolboys sides so we will be working on the building the squad even though the U15 league doesn’t start till August” McHugh said.
Finn Harps will be looking to at least repeat the performances last season of the U17s and U19s who both reached the semi-finals of their respective FAI National Leagues.