Finn Harps director of football Felix Healy wasn’t overly concerned about the result following his side’s 3-0 pre-season loss at the hands of Derry City on Tuesday night at the Brandywell.
Goals from Ramlelton native Barry McNamee, a penalty from Rory Patterson and a tap-in from Mark Farren gave Declan Devine and Paul Hegarty’s side a comfortable win over the team managed by Peter Hutton.
Healy, though, was more concerned with the positives of the night’s work as he shared his thoughts in the relative warmth of the Derry City board room.
“I thought we did quite well actually and a 3-0 scoreline wasn’t a reflection of the match,” he said. “The only thing from our point of view that was disappointing was we didn’t test their goalkeeper as we should have done and in the final third we didn’t take the one or two chances we had.
“But overall it was a perfect game for us and you could see at this point in time Derry are probably ahead of us. They’ve worked a little more than us, while ours for the first three weeks has been all about the lungs and the legs and getting the fitness right.
“Once we get tonight out of the way it’s all about working on patterns of play and working on things. The best players on our team tonight were the fittest players.”
Harps fielded an inexperienced team, with Derry City loanee Thomas McMonagle lining out at the back and Paul McVeigh, who was signed from Fanad United, a second half substitute.
“Tommy did well and he just trained and then came into a new club,” Healy continued. “For the likes of young (Gary) Merritt that came on, it was the first time he has met some of the other lads. For Paul McVeigh and Shane McGinty it’s the same. There’s a lot of new people coming in and you could see that with a lot of free-kicks and throw-ins. We were a little all at sea but it’s something we can concentrate on.
“It’s good for players to get into a match situation. There’s quite a few young fellows on both sides that are trying to stake a claim on the team. For Declan and Paul and Peter and I it’s about seeing what work needs to be done. It was also a chance for us to see a couple of players in different positions.”
One disappointment for Healy was the forced withdrawl, inside of 21 minutes, of Tommy Bonner and Stephen O’Donnell. Letterkenny native Bonner picked up a nasty head gash and then former Kildrum Tigers frontman O’Donnell hobbled from the field.
“Tommy got a really bad cut that will probably need four or five stitches,” Healy added. “Because of where it is (right in the middle of his forehead) it’s a gaping wound. Stephen was given an important role tonight and it was something we wanted a look at. We decided to play him as the spearhead and have Kevin McHugh in behind him. But to lose Stephen was a blow in terms of presence.”
Harps will train this weekend in Rathmullan. Then, on Tuesday, they will travel to Belfast to take on Crusaders at Seaview. The following Sunday, they visit Dundalk and three days later, will host Dergview at Finn Park. The club are trying to arrange a further friendly, against Inishowen opposition, before the Airtricity League season gets underway away to Limerick FC on March 2.