Disappointment for Harps as Martin opts for Setanta

Disappointment for Harps as Martin opts for Setanta
Ollie Horgan narrowly missed out on his first signing as Finn Harps manager this week when Liam Martin agreed to join Ballinamallard United.

Ollie Horgan narrowly missed out on his first signing as Finn Harps manager this week when Liam Martin agreed to join Ballinamallard United.

Horgan and the 19-year-old were within touching distance of closing a deal to take the Donegal Town native from Sligo Rovers to Finn Park this week.

However, with the Fermanagh side gaining a backdoor entrance to the Setanta Sports Cup this week, Martin opted to join the club he has previous spent time on loan at from the Showgrounds.

“It’s disappointing as talks we going well and Liam would’ve been a good addition,” Horgan said. “But we will move on and the window is open for someone else.”

Ballinamallard, who finished fifth in the Danske Bank Premiership last season, and Coleraine were drafted into this season’s Setanta Sports Cup after Cliftonville and Linfield pulled out of the tournament due to a possible fixture overload next March.

Martin played on loan at Ballinamallard last season, scoring goals against both Linfield and Donegal Celtic.

Horgan has to date secured the services of Kevin McHugh, Michael Funston, Thomas Bonnar, Damien McNulty and Sean McCarron for next season.

James Doherty and Ciaran Coll are halfway through two-year contracts.

Horgan is currently in talks with a number of last year’s squad ahead of pre-season training, which gets underway on January 13.

The former Fanad United will be at Cockhill Celtic’s FAI Intermediate Cup third round replay against Crumlin United on Sunday.

Horgan will spread his net wide in the pre-season friendlies but hopes to have a settled squad thereafter.

The club’s budget means that Harps’ squad will again be locally based in 2014.

“I will give a few lads the chance to impress in January and February and have different squads for different matches. I will also be looking at the Harps U-19 squad.”

Horgan is also in the process of appointing a backroom team in Ballybofey and this week will meet with two men, “one of whom is based locally and the other is from outside of the county.”

Meanwhile, Declan McIntyre this week joined Derry City as goalkeeping coach.

The Donegal Town native is a former Harps goalkeeper, Republic of Ireland underage manager and Regional Development Officer with the FAI.

Derry, who are under a new manager themselves in the form of Roddy Collins, who is assisted by former Harps boss Peter Hutton, are said to be interested in bringing the services of Harps goalkeeper Ciaran Gallagher and Leitirmacaward native Carl McHugh, who is currently on the books of Bradford City in League One, to the Brandywell.

Another Donegal football, Ballybofey native Johnny Dunleavy, has re-signed for Premier Division Cork City for a third season.