Finn Harps got their pre-season up and running on Tuesday night with a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Limavady United,
The game was Harps’ first outing of the New Year and they gave a debut to Adam Clarke who had left the Roesiders only two weeks previously, while new signings Hugh Carlin and Ciaran Greene played their part.
Aside that, Harps, who opened pre-season training a fortnight ago in Raphoe and were in Rathmullan on Saturday past, also are monitoring potential signings.
There were a number of other new faces on display, such as Killea defender Ryan McGarvey; midfield trialist Daragh Healy from Sligo; a Derry native and wide player also being monitored in the form of Eamon Gallagher; former Harps youth defender Conor McNulty, who is on the books of Curragh Athletic and Derry goalkeeeper Emmet Deeney, currently training with Harps.
Manager Peter Hutton and director of football Felix Healy opted to play a 4-5-1 formation and as to be expected the Ballybofey were sluggish to get going after their lay-off.
United started brightly and the opening goal arrived when Cathair Friel’s cross was met by Lee Patrick lurking on the edge of the box and he had the simple task of side footing the ball home from close range.
Harps were naturally rusty and took their time to settle, with their first chance not coming until 21 minutes when Tommy Bonnar shot wide. There was no shortage of effort on show but defences were on top and there were no more openings in the first half. United’s only real chances were a couple of trademark long range free licks, neither of which was on target.
The second half was disrupted by multiple substitutions Harps came into the game more and created several good scoring opportunities but the final shot was always wildly off target.
Harps have three further friendlies arranged, all away from home. This Friday they will take on Donegal League Division One outfit Curragh Athletic (7.30pm), before visiting the Brandywell for a fixture against Derry City on Tuesday, February 7 (7.45pm) and Dundalk’s Oriel Park on Sunday, February 19 (2pm).
Limavady: McCormick, Harkin, Rodden, McConachie, Roddy, Patrick, Friel, McClean, Parkhill, P. McLaughlin, McIvor. Subs: Lynch for Patrick; Morrisson for McIvor; Logue for McClean; Close for Roddy (all half-time); Walsh for McConachie (52 ); J.McLaughlin for P.McLaughlin (62 ); Blackburn for Friel (65 ); Hutchinson for Parkhill (65 ).
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; Conor McNulty, Aaron O’Hagan, Keith Cowan, Ciaran Coll; Blaine Curtis, Barry O’Mahony, Hugh Carlin, Thomas Bonner, Adam Clarke; Kevin McHugh. SUBS: Ciaran Greene for Coll (53); Ryan McGarvey for O’Hagan (53); Daragh Healy for Bonner (62); Eamon Gallagher for Clarke (64); Emmet Deeney for C Gallagher (64); Aaron O’Hagan for McGarvey (76 ).
Referee: Paddy McFadden.