Finn Harps’ centre-half, Keith Cowan, is delighted to be back in the first team after an ankle injury wrecked his 2012 campaign.
Cowan picked up a double fracture of his ankle on the first day of the season against Limerick, and it kept him out of the team for four months. He says last year was soul destroying, but he is glad to be back in a blue shirt once again.
“I missed up to three or four months with a double fracture in the first game of the league. It was horrible after doing all the pre-season, and then to only last twenty minutes of the opening game down in limerick, it was a bit soul-destroying,” said the Ramelton man.
“It’s great to be back, and get a pre-season under my belt. Even though I did come back for the last 12 or 13 games last season, I never actually felt I was a 100% fit. I feel great now, there have been no after-effects of the injury and I’m hoping to have an injury free season, “ he added.
Harps have had an impressive start to the season, winning two games and drawing two, and they currently sit in third position in the Airtricity First Division table. Cowan has put their good start down to a solid pre-season.
“I think that’s down to the pre-season and the preparation that has been put in by all the players and the coaching staff. It is a good start, but we’re not getting carried away yet. There’s still a long way to go, but we know we’ve put ourselves in a good position.”
Peter Hutton’s side showed tremendous character to come back last week and salvage a draw against Mervue United when they found themselves two goals down after 32 minutes at Fahy’s Field.
“That’s the different mentality that we have this year that maybe we didn’t have that before. I think that goes back to the manager, instilling the belief that we are never out of games. We know the work that we have done in pre-season will carry us through. We feel fitter and stronger than every other team in the league, and hopefully that will get us the results to go places this year.”
Cowan, a teacher at Colaiste Ailigh in Letterkenny, has formed a strong partnership with Thomas McMonagle and feels that the defensive unit are starting to gel together.
“Thomas is in beside me, Damien McNulty is on the right with Matthew Crossan at left back. You have four big strong lads there and opposing teams have to try and cut out the high ball, because they know we have such height at the back. Tommy has been a great addition, He’s excellent in the air, and we communicate well together. When you have a good partnership it makes things a lot easier.”
Cowan signed for Harps from Swilly Rovers in 2005, but he failed to establish himself and rejoined the Ramelton side. He moved back to senior football in 2010, and has been a regular in the Harps side ever since. He says that playing under the guidance of one of the best centre-halves in League of Ireland history has been a great help in improving his game.
“Peter’s record speaks for itself. If you were looking for someone to mentor you on how to play centre-half for League of Ireland football, you wouldn’t look any further than Peter Hutton. He’s done it all in his career, and he has the medals and the trophies to prove it. He has helped my own game personally. He’s trying to make me look for the pass and improved all areas of my game.”
Finn Harps welcome Wexford Youths to Finn Park this week, and they will be looking to make it three wins from three in Ballybofey this season.
“We’ll be approaching the game like any other. Wexford, Longford Town, Waterford, Cobh, whoever it is, there are no easy games in the league. You have to grind out results and put in the work. We’ll be approaching it the exact same as any other game and hopefully, we will get the three points. We are going to the game thinking, we have what it takes to go on and win it.”