Harps go down to Sligo Rovers in pre-season friendly

Alan Foley

Reporter:

Alan Foley

Harps go down to Sligo Rovers in pre-season friendly
The Sligo Rovers twitter read: “For all you romantics - Rovers are red, Finn Harps are blue, the weather is bad, so Astro must do.”

The Sligo Rovers twitter read: “For all you romantics - Rovers are red, Finn Harps are blue, the weather is bad, so Astro must do.”

Sligo Rovers 3

Finn Harps 0

Harps boss Ollie Horgan said last week that, despite the inclement weather, he hoped to face the FAI Cup winners anywhere on Valentine’s weekend.

So, with Finn Park in Ballybofey deemed unplayable, the Showgrounds in Sligo not being able to host Rovers’ Tuesday friendly with Longford Town and the Lakeside in Ballyshannon not permitted by the FAI, it was off to the Sligo Sports Centre.

Harps got a decent run-out but also got a bit of a run-around against the Premier Division outfit.

But at this stage of the year, performance nor result are the most important thing.

Sligo went in front on 24 minutes when they won the ball and fed Aaron Greene on the left and his pull-back was met by the incoming Paul O’Connor to steer past Conor Winn.

Ian Baraclough’s team posted a second right on the stroke of half-time and it was a perfectly constructed break.

Galloping right-back Seamus Connelly played a inch-perfect cross along with six-yard box and Danny North tucked home.

Harps’ best chances came from two slide-rule passes, both from Pat McCann.

However, Richard Brush saved respectively from Kevin McHugh and Ruairi Keating, who after the match committed to join Harps on loan from Sligo.

The second half saw a raft of changes from both managers.

On 90 minutes, Rovers substitute Danny Ledwith scored a belter from 30 yards, which barely lifted a foot from the ground, past Harps’ replacement goalkeeper Shaun Patton.

“It was a good run-out,” Horgan said afterwards.

“We knew all about it in the first half-an-hour. It was difficult to get to our feet and we found it difficult to get to the pace of the game.

“Funnily enough, when we did, at one-nil down, we conceded the second goal, which killed the game.

“It was very worthwhile coming down here. We got 19 people on the field and we had a good look at a lot of people at a good standard.

““There was a gulf in class, without a shadow of doubt, but we are quite happy with what we found out about our own players.

“They’re full-time here and they’re a class act. At the same time, Galway thumped them 5-2 recently. We watched that one down in Galway. Where does that leave Galway?

“You can use the excuse that they’re full-time but when Galway put five past that outfit we have got to wake up and realise the standard that is in the First Division. We already knew that to be fair.

“We’re not where we should be fitness-wise. We’re still a bit off it. We have three weeks to get that sorted. We’re getting there, but we’re getting there slower than what I’d have hoped. So be it. We will get back at it.”

Sligo Rovers: Richard Brush (Gary Rodgers half-time); Seamus Conneely (Alan Keane 63), Kalen Spillane, Evan McMillan (Jake Dykes 63), Ross Gaynor (Jeff Henderson 63); John Russell (Rafael Cretaro half-time), David Cawley, Paul O’Connor, Eric Odhiambo, Aaron Greene (Danny Ledwith 63); Danny North.

Finn Harps: Conor Winn (Shaun Patton 80); Damian McNulty (James Doherty 61), Packie Mailey, Keith Cowan, Gareth Harkin (Johnny Bonner half-time); Michael Funston (David Shovlin half-time), Pat McCann (Mark Forker 72), Carel Tiofack (Tommy Bonnar 72), Sean McCarron; Ruairi Keating (Dean Gaynor 61), Kevin McHugh (Paul McVeigh 80).

Referee: Ray Flynn

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The Finn Harps team that went down against Sligo Rovers at the Sligo Sports Complex on Saturday

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Ollie Horgan

“There was a gulf in class - no doubt about it”

Finn Harps lose out to Sligo in pre-season outing

The Sligo Rovers twitter read: “For all you romantics - Rovers are red, Finn Harps are blue, the weather is bad, so Astro must do.”

Sligo Rovers 3

Finn Harps 0

Harps boss Ollie Horgan said last week that, despite the inclement weather, he hoped to face the FAI Cup winners anywhere on Valentine’s weekend.

So, with Finn Park in Ballybofey deemed unplayable, the Showgrounds in Sligo not being able to host Rovers’ Tuesday friendly with Longford Town and the Lakeside in Ballyshannon not permitted by the FAI, it was off to the Sligo Sports Centre.

Harps got a decent run-out but also got a bit of a run-around against the Premier Division outfit.

But at this stage of the year, performance nor result are the most important thing.

Sligo went in front on 24 minutes when they won the ball and fed Aaron Greene on the left and his pull-back was met by the incoming Paul O’Connor to steer past Conor Winn.

Ian Baraclough’s team posted a second right on the stroke of half-time and it was a perfectly constructed break.

Galloping right-back Seamus Connelly played a inch-perfect cross along with six-yard box and Danny North tucked home.

Harps’ best chances came from two slide-rule passes, both from Pat McCann.

However, Richard Brush saved respectively from Kevin McHugh and Ruairi Keating, who after the match committed to join Harps on loan from Sligo.

The second half saw a raft of changes from both managers.

On 90 minutes, Rovers substitute Danny Ledwith scored a belter from 30 yards, which barely lifted a foot from the ground, past Harps’ replacement goalkeeper Shaun Patton.

“It was a good run-out,” Horgan said afterwards.

“We knew all about it in the first half-an-hour. It was difficult to get to our feet and we found it difficult to get to the pace of the game.

“Funnily enough, when we did, at one-nil down, we conceded the second goal, which killed the game.

“It was very worthwhile coming down here. We got 19 people on the field and we had a good look at a lot of people at a good standard.

““There was a gulf in class, without a shadow of doubt, but we are quite happy with what we found out about our own players.

“They’re full-time here and they’re a class act. At the same time, Galway thumped them 5-2 recently. We watched that one down in Galway. Where does that leave Galway?

“You can use the excuse that they’re full-time but when Galway put five past that outfit we have got to wake up and realise the standard that is in the First Division. We already knew that to be fair.

“We’re not where we should be fitness-wise. We’re still a bit off it. We have three weeks to get that sorted. We’re getting there, but we’re getting there slower than what I’d have hoped. So be it. We will get back at it.”

Sligo Rovers: Richard Brush (Gary Rodgers half-time); Seamus Conneely (Alan Keane 63), Kalen Spillane, Evan McMillan (Jake Dykes 63), Ross Gaynor (Jeff Henderson 63); John Russell (Rafael Cretaro half-time), David Cawley, Paul O’Connor, Eric Odhiambo, Aaron Greene (Danny Ledwith 63); Danny North.

Finn Harps: Conor Winn (Shaun Patton 80); Damian McNulty (James Doherty 61), Packie Mailey, Keith Cowan, Gareth Harkin (Johnny Bonner half-time); Michael Funston (David Shovlin half-time), Pat McCann (Mark Forker 72), Carel Tiofack (Tommy Bonnar 72), Sean McCarron; Ruairi Keating (Dean Gaynor 61), Kevin McHugh (Paul McVeigh 80).

Referee: Ray Flynn.