Tolka test for Healy’s Harps

FINN Harps Director of Football Felix Healy reckons his team are more than capable of causing high-flying Shelbourne a few problems in tonight’s rearranged Airtricity First Division clash at Tolka Park (8pm).

FINN Harps Director of Football Felix Healy reckons his team are more than capable of causing high-flying Shelbourne a few problems in tonight’s rearranged Airtricity First Division clash at Tolka Park (8pm).

The Donegal side will have goalkeeper Ciaran Gallagher and Stephen O’Donnell back from suspension and after Saturday night’s decent showing against Wexford Youths, they travel to Dublin with plenty of confidence.

Healy says Shelbourne have done exceptionally well in recent weeks to qualify for the FAI Cup final by beating St Patrick’s Athletic after a semi-final replay. But he insists his team can get a result tonight.

“It’s a massive game for them and they will be under an awful lot of pressure,” Healy said. “But they’ve had a number of big pressure games over the last three or four weeks and they’ve come out of the Pat’s one really well.

“It will be a test for us but if we can play like we are capable of playing, we’ll cause them problems.”

The return of Gallagher and O’Donnell will be a welcome boost to Harps and both are expected to start tonight, with Gallagher replacing stand-in goalkeeper Chris Patton.

“Both of those two guys (Gallagher and O’Donnell) will be involved,” Healy said. “I think it’s one of the few occasions this year where we will have a full compliment of players to pick from.

“Since Peter (Hutton) and I came to the club, there’s probably been one game where we’ve picked the team which we wanted to pick. The rest of the time, whether it was college, whether it was exams, work, injuries, suspension – it’s just been one thing after another all year.”

Meanwhile Healy also confirmed that JP Gallagher, Ciaran Gallagher and Stephen O’Donnell are among a number of players who have agreed new contracts which will keep them at Finn Park next season. Confirming his delight at that development, he said: “ I don’t think we’ll find ourselves in the position this year like we did last year when we got to February and we didn’t know who was going to play here and who wasn’t.

“It’s important we build on who we have. Obviously the financial constraints are a problem that have to be dealt with but we are doing our best to get round that.”

Tonight’s match in Dublin will have a major bearing on where the First Division title ends up this season. Shels moved to within a point of leaders Cork City following their 4-1 victory over Salthill Devon on Saturday night.

A win against Harps would set up a winner takes all meeting with Cork City at Tolka Park in their final game this Saturday night.

The top two teams in the First Division are promoted to the Premier Division automatically while the third-placed side will face Galway United iin a play-off over two legs.

Harps will complete their season this Saturday night with a trip to play Mervue United.