Finn Harps boss Ollie Horgan
Finn Harps might have been on the wrong end of another heavy defeat at Shamrock Rovers, but it was a night that will live long in the memory for two of the younger members of the Harps squad.
Letterkenny teenager Shane Blaney made his first senior start when he was named in the centre of defence alongside Damien McNulty.
And Liam Walsh, a Leaving Certificate student at Loreto Milford, came off the bench for what was his first senior appearance.
Walsh, from Kerrykeel, is a younger brother of former Harps striker and current Fanad United captain, Davitt Walsh.
The duo’s involvement in the game was in many ways down to the number of first team regulars who were unavailable to manager Ollie Horgan.
Killian Cantwell was suspended but injuries sustained in training during the week by both Ethan Boyle and Sean Houston left Horgan short of options. Ciaran Coll was also missing due to illness.
It meant that a patched-up Harps side took to the field against an in-form Rovers team who always looked in control of this fixture.
Still, Horgan praised his team for their effort and singled out Blaney and Walsh for special mention.
“I thought Shane was excellent,” Horgan said.
“Fair play to him. He came in for his first senior start at Tallaght Stadium against Shamrock Rovers and the best thing I can say is that he didn’t look a bit out of place.
“He came out of defence and pinged a couple of lovely passes which was great. Okay he tired a bit towards the end, but the whole team tired. He did really well.”
Walsh came on as a late substitute for Danny Morrissey and Horgan said the young player deserved his chance.
“Liam has been really well in training and he’s been part of the first team set-up for a good while now. He got his chance last night and hopefully he can kick on from here because he’s a player with bags of ability.”
Harps have no game next weekend and then face Dundalk in Ballybofey on Saturday, October 7th.
Galway’s win over Sligo and Limerick’s victory over Cork City saw significant change yet again at the bottom end of the table.
“Limerick might just be pulling away now,” Horgan said. “But anything can happen still. We got beat by St. Pat’s back in August and I’d have said then that they’d be okay. But look, it looks like we might have to finish above St. Pat’s now if we want to survive.”