Last season, Liam Flatley was one of a host of players coming through the ranks at Sligo Rovers with an extremely bright future ahead of him.
He was an important part of the club’s U-19 side that could, and should, have done so much better than reaching the quarter-final stages of the U-19 league last year.
The 19-year-old got rewarded for his progress by making four appearances for the first team.
But come the end of the campaign, he’d reached a crossroads and when Ollie Horgan came calling, Flatley was happy to take his chance with Harps.
“I wanted to progress in my career,” he said.
“I think I’ll get more football here. You can see how it helped Ruairí (Keating) and Regan (Donnellon). There are plenty of good players at Harps and I wanted to come and give it a go.”
Keating and Donnellon were both on loan from Sligo with Harps last season. And while both returned to Sligo in July, Keating has since signed for Galway United for the new season.
Liam Flatley said he had a chat with both players before deciding to make the move to Harps. Now after completing a long pre-season schedule, he’s itching to get going. He feels his involvement with the Sligo Rovers first team last season will have done his hopes of breaking into the first team at Finn Park no harm.
“It’s definitely helped me for this season,” he said.
“I played a few times last season in big games, and hopefully I will get more game-time here now with Harps.
“Our U-19s got to the All Ireland quarter final last year but we lost to Limerick on penalties. We should have won it, we had a strong team. We had a lot of U19s that got on the first team and it was good to play along with them.”
Flatley was part of the Sligo team that had little trouble defeating Harps U-19s when the sides met at Maginn Park in Buncrana last November.
But the Castlebar man has chosen to swap the Bit of Red for the blue of Harps and he’s hoping to hit the ground running.
“It’s definitely an opportunity for me,” he said. “All you want to do is play and hopefully I will get a chance to play here.
“We’ve a big game to start with.
“There’ll be a full crowd there and you can’t beat a big game against Derry.”