Healy: ‘My intention was to remain at Harps for one year only’

Alan Foley


Alan Foley

Felix Healy has claimed it was always his intention to stay at Finn Harps for a year having resigned from his position of director of football on Friday night.

Felix Healy has claimed it was always his intention to stay at Finn Harps for a year having resigned from his position of director of football on Friday night.

The former Derry City manager notified club chairman Joey O’Leary, team manager Peter Hutton and assistant Sean McGowan and the club’s playing staff of his intentions to quit following Harps’ 3-0 loss at the hands of Wexford Youths.

Healy had been tight-lipped on the departure since the news seeped out on Saturday but had insisted he would release a statement to explain his reasons for leaving the position he took in tandem with Hutton just over 12 months ago.

“I wish to confirm my resignation from Finn Harps FC as director of football as my intention was always to remain at Harps for one year only, due to other commitments,” Healy’s statement read. “I believed that a steady hand was required at the club which, with no disrespect to anyone else, wasn’t in great shape when I arrived.

“Someone once told me that you should always try to leave a club in better condition than you found it and I believe that is certainly the case at Finn Park at the moment. Payment to players is greatly reduced from this time last season and there is most certainly a much better group of players at the club now, despite recent results suggesting otherwise.

“The squad is young and inexperienced, which allied with the injuries to Stephen O’Donnell and Keith Cowan have caused the side several points in games where the team was much superior to the opposition. However, as we all are aware, football is a very funny game.

“The club is in very good hands with Peter Hutton. He is a very honourable and honest guy, who will have the club’s best interests at heart, which isn’t always the case at soccer clubs nowadays. Finally, can I just say thank you to everyone who has helped me in any way during the last year.”

Hutton and McGowan will continue in their respective roles with Waterford United the visitors to the Twin Towns this Friday night. The inexperienced Harps squad have picked up 12 points from 11 matches this term and have lost four games in succession.

Following defeats at the hands of Limerick FC, Mervue United Athlone Town, nine-man Harps went down against Wexford with Kevin McHugh and Adam Clarke both receiving straight red cards for off-the-ball incidents. They are third from bottom of the Airtricity League First Division.

“Felix brought me to Harps just over a year ago now and we have always had a good relationship in football, playing and coaching, since our time in Derry,” Hutton said at the weekend. “We felt as though we were making progress slowly but surely, although the results of late haven’t been good. It’s disappointing to see him go.

“It was a bit of a shock to myself and the players and Felix told our chairman Joey O’Leary over the phone. In terms of the football club, the management structure has lost its director of football but myself and Sean will continue.

Club chairman O’Leary expressed his gratitude to Healy over the weekend and confirmed there are no plans to appoint a new director of football at the Ballybofey club.

“We feel we have enough experience at the club with Peter and Sean to continue,” O’Leary said of the club’s plans without Healy. “It was a bit of a bolt from the blue to hear Felix’s decision on Friday night but he explained his reasons and it’s fully understandable. He came back from an extended break from football to take over here and fully understood the financial constraints we have to work within. He was good for the club.”