Finn Harps have added to their attacking options for the season ahead with the capture of Darragh Healy from Sligo Rovers.
The 20-year-old has been training with the Ballybofey club in pre-season and the winger-cum-striker has done enough to convince manager Peter Hutton and director of football Felix Healy to offer him a contract.
“Darragh has proved in the last few weeks with us that he’s very eager and has impressed us,” Hutton said yesterday. “We’ve had a good look at him and feel he can do a job for us, whether it be up front or in the wide positions.”
The capture of the former Sligo player means Hutton and Healy are content with their attacking options ahead of the Airtricity League Division One campaign, which begins with a tough trip to favourites Limerick FC on Friday, March 2.
With Kevin McHugh, Stephen O’Donnell, Chris Breen and Blain Curtis already commited to the year ahead, the Harps management team will try and strengthen the less advanced positions.
“We’re quite happy with the attacking talent we have at out disposal so we’re now looking to strengthen the defence and midfield,” Hutton added. “So far we have had a few knockbacks but we just have to get on with it and have plenty of irons in the fire. We are in talks with a player now and hope to have him on board in the next day or two.”
Healy also added a contractor in the Finn Valley area will assist with the erection of the floodlight pylons that were damaged in the winter storms and as a consequence the club can plan pre-season fixtures on home turf.
Harps have already played away to Limavady United, losing 1-0 last week, and have planned trips to Derry City on Tuesday, Crusadrers on Tuesday week, February 14 and Dundalk on Sunday, February 19. Dergview, the Co Tyrone outfit playing in the IFA Championship One, will come to Ballybofey on Wednesday, February 24.
“We’re training in Glengad this weekend and will meet again on Monday before the game in the Brandywell on Tuesday,” Hutton added. “ At this point in time the priority is building fitness but we will implement game situations the closer we get to the start of the season.
“We hope to have the floodlights fixed at Ballybofey next week and a local engineer has offered to sort it out, which will keep costs to a minimum. It’s a very nice gesture and one we are certainly thankful for. To be honest, it’s a relief to the club.”
Hutton insists stable progress is his ambition for the season ahead. In years gone by Harps have been culpable of overspending to achieve their short-term goals but the current set-up will be happy to build a solid foundation.
“Our plan right now is to assemble a good playing squad, within our limits,” Hutton added. “We have a smaller budget than last season but we have to cut our cloth accordingly and safeguard the long-term future of the club, which is the most important thing.”
Meanwhile, Harps have launched their Shirt Sponsor Draw, which will see the winning company have their name or logo on the back of the Finn Harps senior squad’s shirts for the 2012 season. Cost of entering the draw is €E50. The draw takes place on the weekend of March 4.
Finn Harps Chairman, Joey O’Leary, said: “In the past, this draw has been very successful for the club. We are hoping that we can get a similar response again in 2012.”