Harps hoping to pass Students test

Photo - Stephen Doherty

Having not won any of their first fifteen league games Finn Harps have to be looking at the visit of UCD on Friday night to Ballybofey (kick-off 8.00) as an opportunity to bag a first three points of the season.

UCD are second from bottom and six points ahead of Ollie Horgan’s outfit with a game in hand as well. Cork City and Sligo Rovers are nine and twelve points respectively ahead of Harps.

Ollie Horgan says his side has to be ready for a UCD side who won’t be settling for a draw at Finn Park. The Students handed Harps a harsh lesson earlier in the campaign at Belfield with the 3-0 defeat, probably the worst Harps performance of the season.

“We really need to be up for this one. UCD have some fantastic players who will punish us if we are not at the top of our game. Gary O’Neill, Neil Farrugia and Yoyo Mahdy are excellent footballers and there’s more than them, so we’ll have our work cut out to get three points tomorrow night. You seen what they done to us in Belfield so we’ll need to be a hell of a lot better to get a win here at Finn Park. They lost to Sligo last Friday night at Belfield and that’s another reason Collie O’Neill will want to get his team back to winning ways quickly.”

Harps have just one point from the last four games against UCD. When the two sides were preparing to meet at the Belfield Bowl earlier in the season, UCD was the basement side with just a point from five games. Harps were only a point better off them with six Premier Division matches played.

Horgan is hoping that his squad can recover sufficiently from the game at Turners Cross and the long trip back to Donegal on Tuesday morning.

"Physically and mentally the lads are feeling it this week. They put in a big shift at Turners Cross and then sat on a bus for a very long trip back from Cork. It was around 6 a.m. on Tuesday morning when we got back home to bed. Most of the lads were then getting up for a day’s work. They have recovered as best they can, bearing in mind that it is a part-time setup here. We just have to get the balance right tomorrow night in trying to get the three points and at the same time make sure we are as tight as we can be defensively.”

Ciaran Gallagher, Gareth Harkin and Mark Timlin are injured but on the plus side Colm Deasy and Daniel O’Reilly are available again following respective suspensions while John Kavanagh returns to the squad after not featuring on Monday night at Turner Cross as he is on loan Cork City.